General Elections 2014 – Day 50
To use an IPL parlance, Congress has finally found their Glenn Maxwell in Priyanka Gandhi. The fear for a Congress supporter though is that the best player may have taken strike with very few balls to spare in the innings. Short and straight to the point, Priyanka who has striking resemblance to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is attacking BJP where it hurts most. Today the Gandhi scion in Rae Bareli attacked Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on the Snoopgate issue forcing embarrassed BJP to search for answers.
Priyanka without directly naming BJP said that some parties indulge in double standards when it comes to women empowerment. She said that some leaders listen to conversation of women in their homes. Priyanka urged voters to “throw out politicians who tap phones and hear your conversations”.
Gujarat police have been accused of snooping on the activities of a woman, whose family had close links with Modi. The state police though have countered the charges saying that they were only providing protection at the request of the family.
Referring to BJP, Sonia Gandhi’s daughter pointed out that they want to bestow all the powers with one man. Priyanka alleged that the opposition is running the campaign based on false accusations and personal attacks. Like Rahul Gandhi she asked the voters to choose between contrasting ideas of India. Priyanka’s assertive stance has certainly added a new zing to the entire Congress campaign.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman refused to give much importance to Priyanka’s charges saying that even Congress doesn’t take her seriously. Narendra Modi though replied to jibes made by Priyanka on Tuesday. She had said that personal attacks only strengthen their family. Modi retorted saying that only Gandhi parivaar has strengthened in the last 60 years. He said that personal charges are levelled against him by Congress to deflect attention from their dismal governance record. Gujarat C.M also accused the Gandhis of looting the nation.
Interestingly, the Delhi High Court today agreed to hear a PIL seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into various land deals done by Robert Vadra’s firms. This will probably only add fuel to Modi’s JijaG barbs against the Gandhis. The issue was first brought to public domain by controversial IAS officer Ashok Khemka.
A fresh controversy has broken out in one of the most elite colleges of the country. Principal of St.Xavier’s college Mumbai, Father Frazer Mascarenhas has written a letter to all his students. It is extremely critical of Gujarat model of development quoting various statistics hoping that the youth will take an “informed” decision.
Mascarenhas has urged the students not to support leaders who according to him pose threat to the secular fabric of the country. He said that “the prospect of an alliance of corporate capital and communal forces coming to power constitutes a real threat”. It also praises different welfare schemes started by Congress stating that eminent economist like Amartya Sen have endorsed them.
This has led to massive outrage by BJP. Mascarenhas claims that he has tried to write in an unbiased manner and has only sought to clear the issues for students before they go out to vote on Thursday. But the saffron brigade is unwilling to buy this explanation. Balbir Punj of BJP demanded resignation of Father Mascarenhas. The party believes that it is a matter of propriety and Father has abused his position by using the college forum to peddle his own political views.
Expectedly Congress has welcomed Father’s letter saying that everybody has a right to make their own point. BJP has now complained to the Election Commission against Xavier’s Mumbai principal.
One person who has continuously traded his gun against both Congress and BJP is AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal. He filed his nomination from Varanasi today. Modi is slated to file his nomination tomorrow, Thursday.
Kejriwal accused that both Modi and Rahul are using black money to campaign in this election. He said that Modi is spending 5,000 crores and Rahul nearly 10,000 crores. He warned the electorates that businessmen investing such huge amount will extract their pound of flesh after the elections are over. He alleged both Rahul and Modi of promoting “helicopter democracy”. Kejriwal was also critical of AAP leader Shazia Ilmi who advised Muslim clerics to shun secularism.
In his own characteristic style Kejriwal said that he only has 500 rupees in his wallet and a dilapidated jeep in disposal. AAP chief had a huge road show while going to file his nomination. Later he pointed out some of the salient problems citizens of Varanasi are facing to touch a chord with the locals.
The faceoff between Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal has some time still to go but supporters of both the individuals are busy drumming up public opinion. A closely-watched TIME magazine poll of the 100 most-influential people in the world was flooded by around 5 million and 3 million votes respectively for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, dwarfing the votes received by others in the poll.
At the end of poll voting by the public on Tuesday Mr. Modi had garnered 5,075,588 ‘reactions,’ of which 49.7 per cent voted ‘yes’ for including him in the top-100 list and 50.3 per cent voted ‘no.’
Mr. Kejriwal, contrarily, received the second highest number of reactions amongst all names on the poll, a total of 3,168,308, of which 71.5 per cent voted to include him in the list and 28.5 per cent voted against. Rahul Gandhi got less than a lakh votes, with mostly negative responses.
AAP leader Somnath Bharti best known for his midnight raids in Khidki Extension has been beaten up. In Varanasi, Bharti went to Assi Ghat to take part in a TV show organised by a private channel. There BJP workers were all ready to pounce on him. Somnath narrowly escaped any fatal injury after he was whisked away by some journalists. The former Delhi Minister later said that he is shaken thinking about the future.
Election Commission and SP leader Azam Khan are again at loggerheads. EC has sent a second notice to Khan asking him to answer by 25th April. EC wants an explanation about why Azam has levelled baseless charges against them and has also continued delivering hate speeches. Azam though is completely nonchalant. He has already alleged EC of imposing “undeclared Emergency”. He believes that he was targeted for speaking the truth.
Tomorrow is the 6th phase of polling in the general elections. All eyes will be on Mumbai particularly the constituency of South Mumbai, home to many of the Bollywood celebrities. Voting percentage in Mumbai will be keenly watched after rather abject show in Bangalore. In total 117 constituencies spreading across 11 states will go to polls on Thursday. 39 are in Tamil Nadu which is voting in a single phase. Remaining 19 seats in Maharashtra and the rest are 10 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 12 seats in Uttar Pradesh, seven seats each in Bihar and Chhattisgarh, six in Assam and West Bengal, five in Rajasthan, four in Jharkhand, one seat in Jammu and Kashmir and the lone seat in Puducherry.
This was all for today. Today is the 50th day of our General Election Diary. Hope you are all enjoying reading it. We will be back with more tomorrow….