General Elections 2014: Day 36
It was just a four kilometre drive but Bharatiya Janata Party Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi turned it into a huge road show. A sea of crowd holding party flags and Modi posters walked along, as his open jeep made way to the District Collector’s office in Vadodra district in Gujarat. Modi was on his way to file his nomination and was seen waving to everyone.
Apart from the flaming red jacket that Modi wore, what stood out today at the event was the stark contrast in the background of the people who proposed his candidature – a tea seller and an erstwhile royal… clearly demonstrating Modi’s ease at addressing the communities of both the strata. But why the red jacket? Oh! Modi has been wearing shades of red and orange…colours that signify pioneering spirit and leadership. Let’s leave it that and not dwell deeper.
Remember the auto driver who slapped Aam Aadmi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal yesterday. Well, Kejriwal met him, the driver apologised, Kejriwal forgave him. End of the story. He was indeed one of those disgruntled AAP supporters who was dismayed by Kejriwal’s 49-days stint as the Chief Minister of Delhi.
Along with the apology, Kejriwal has also received a notice from the Election Commission for gathering a crowd at Jantar Mantar in Delhi without any prior notice. Another person to receive EC notice was AAP’s Ashutosh. He had tweeted accusing his rival from Chandni Chowk Union Minister Kapil Sibal of distributing money to buy votes. Sibal, in turn, had filed a complaint against Ashutosh with the EC and had challenged him to come up with the proofs.
Tearing down BJP into shreds, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said that through huge expensive advertisements, the BJP is trying to cover their lies, to “cover one man’s real face with a mask.” Without naming anyone, she made reference to ‘Snoopgate,’ where a young woman was spied upon by the Gujarat police in 2009.
Somewhere else Modi also tore down Congress saying that the country does not trust the party that has failed to keep its promises to people. He demanded,”Tell me a reason why UPA government should be re-elected?”
While the leaders are butchering each other in public, is anyone giving a thought to the common man who is getting utterly confused? Imagine the dilemma of a person who is taking these campaigns seriously to know more about the party and the candidate he supports – no sooner than he hears about the corruption of one party that he is exposed to a scam by another, then another…this continues till he decides that all the parties are the same – not worth supporting. Well, hope that is not the case and people indeed exercise prudence when they vote. This specially goes to all the states who would be voting tomorrow.
We have heard of “the 40 plus are the new young” but now Telegu Desam Party Chief Chandrababu Naidu has declared 60-plus as the new young. He has described himself and Modi as the 60-plus energetic youngsters. Now, veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani should not come forward and declare 80 as the new young. That will leave even the Almighty confused.
The Election Commission has sought report on the statement made by Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan. He had said yesterday that Kargil was conquered by a Muslim, probably dragging the Army into politics for the first time. To add to this controversial statement was his defiant attitude, where he believed he had said nothing wrong.
If you see Modi smiling down at you from the billboard, remember that about INR 10,000 crores have been spent on putting it up. Well, that is if Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma is to be believed. He has alleged that the BJP has spent crores of black money in its campaigning exercise.
Fatehpur Sikri saw a turnout of huge crowd. The reason…everyone was rushing to get a glimpse of the gorgeous Bollywood actress Sridevi. No, no she was not promoting her movie. She and her husband were campaigning for Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate Amar Singh. Now, we understand why actors campaign for candidates…they are huge crowd pullers. In the excitement of watching their favourite stars, these fans end up listening to the candidate too, where he stresses on why they should vote for him…and for all you know, the fans may end up voting for the candidate. It works that way, you know.
Meanwhile, other stars who were busy campaigning in Uttar Pradesh were Hema Malini, Nagma and Jayaprada. UP suddenly has become a mini-glamour city.
Another actor who has also been dragged into this election frenzy is Jaaved Jaaferi . He filed his nomination today, but along with him a certain Adarsh Shastri also filed his nomination as a covering candidate…yes, the same as covering fire. For those who don’t know, Adarsh Sahstri is the grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Apparently, Jaaved Jaaferi had voted in 2008, after which his name got deleted from the voting list. As he was nominated as a candidate from Lucknow, he applied for the voter’s card and his name got included only on April 7. Hence, fearing anomalies, Adarsh Shastri was also asked to file his nomination. However, AAP has rubbished that there are anomalies and stressed that Shastri was taken as a back-up in case something went wrong.
For a person who has been involved in the multi-crore 2G scam and has spent 15 months in jail, former Union Minister and DMK candidate A. Raja has certainly decided to put the past behind. He is contesting from Nilgiri for a second term and has been vigorously campaigning, trying to convince people that he has been victimized.
If reports are to be believed, 30 percent of AAP candidates in Madhya Pradesh are billionaires while 40 percent have criminal records against them. This report was drafted by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and MP Election Watch (MPEW).
While the day was witnessing all these developments, marking the second phase of the elections were four northeastern states – Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh – that went to polls today for six Lok Sabha seats. The polling saw a decent turnout.
Hope the same for tomorrow where 11 states, including Delhi, go to polls and 11 crore voters cast their vote. This is a very crucial phase of the Elections 2014. About 1418 candidates will be in the fray tomorrow and this includes Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Union Ministers Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath, Shashi Tharoor from Congress, Ajit Singh of RLD and former Army Chief V. K. Singh and Harsh Vardhan from BJP.
Stay tuned with us as we cover the developments tomorrow.