The nation began the day with suspense and excitement triggered by a cryptic tweet from PM Modi to expect a national address on TV, radio and social media. The Cabinet Committee for Security (CCS) going into an emergency huddle in the morning further added to curiosity and speculation on the impending security-related announcement by the PM.
Electronic media went into a frenzy trying to guess what was coming. The Prime Minister set all speculation at rest announcing India’s technology demonstrator test of anti-Satellite missile capability thus becoming the 4th nation in the world to do so.
While congratulating DRDO and ISRO scientists for the successful test, the opposition led by Rahul Gandhi was quick to criticize the test timing and the national address by the PM. The Congress pointed out that the anti-satellite capability was developed by DRDO in 2012 and therefore the necessity of the test just fifteen days before the elections is questionable.
BJP to gain from Mahagathbandhan and Federal front’s failure to get act together
The Mahagathbandhan and the Federal front have failed to get their act together much to BJP’s glee. The ruling party has been questioning the lack of clear agenda, or unity of both fronts and its leadership has been taking pot shots at various opposition leaders at every opportunity. With two weeks to go before the nation votes, BJP seems to be holding its own against the two fragmented opposition coalitions.
Speaking to PTI, BJP national spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao dismissed KC Chandrasekhar Rao’s (TRS) initiatives as a “non-starter” in trying to cobble up a non-BJP, non-Congress federal front.
Farooq Abdullah helps out TDP in Andhra Pradesh
The Hindu reports ex-chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and MP Farooq Abdullah actively lending a helping hand to ‘friend’ Chandrababu Naidu, CM of Andhra Pradesh. Both leaders together hit the road covering districts of Kadapa and Kurnool in A.P, where Farooq Abdullah was at his colorful best in trying to woo Muslim voters in the state. He called the Balakot air strikes and Ram Mandir ‘pre-election stunts’ of the Prime Minister and asked voters not to be swayed by such issues.
Will BJP-Sena benefit from Dalit infighting in Maharashtra?
The Times of India reports on infighting among Dalit leaders in Maharashtra with community voters divided into camps at a time when they should be uniting on common grievances. The Bhima Koregaon agitation was an assertion of Dalit rights, and the community was expected to unite to fight collectively, but that’s not happening in Maharashtra. The Dalits represent 13.5 percent of the population in Maharashtra and are a significant vote bank.
Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi led by Prakash Ambedkar got a boost in the post-Bhim Koregaon agitation and has been trying to create a political space of itself by trying to widen its base within the community by going beyond the Mahars and reaching out to smaller sub-castes like Matangs and Mangs.
Dalit rights activist and ex-Judge Justice BG Kolse Patil has been critical of Prakash Ambedkar’s initiatives and accusing him of dividing the Dalit votes, the benefit of which will accrue to the BJP.