Congress jolted as Sonia-aide Tom Vadakkan joins BJP
In a sensational development today, trusted Sonia Gandhi aide, Tom Vadakkan, switched loyalties to the BJP. Tom Vadakkan is a politician from Kerala and a long time trusted aide of Sonia Gandhi. His joining the BJP just before the Lok Sabha elections is a major setback to the Congress as he was privy to inner-party discussions and strategies. It will force the Congress party high command to make last minute changes to their poll strategy and communication.
Speaking to the media, Tom Vadakkan said the Congress position in the post-Pulwama attack upset him, and this made him change the party he served for a long time. BJP is likely to offer him a ticket from Kerala.
SP-BSP bond through common flag
In a symbolic gesture aimed at giving a strong message to voters of party unity, SP and BSP announced putting up a new flag with symbols of both parties on either side. The flag uses a combination of blue and red on both sides, representing the BSP and SP colors, respectively. The move signals both party leaders are serious about taking on the BJP and the Congress.
Furthermore, both parties have agreed to share office spaces and also hold joint rallies. The supporters of both parties are excited by the developments.
Andhra Pradesh to concurrently elect leaders to State Assembly and Lok Sabha
The people of Andhra Pradesh will be concurrently voting to elect their next government in the state and also vote for leaders to represent the state in the Lok Sabha.
N Chandrababu Naidu of Telugu Desam Party leads the race as favorite to retain his seat, but YS Jaganmohan Reddy of YSR Congress Party hopes to win back the political space his father’s party once controlled. And then, there is Pavan Kalyan of Jana Sena Party, a relatively newer outfit with ambition for a paradigm shift in state politics. A strong win for Chandrababu Naidu could position him as a kingmaker in case the Lok Sabha polls ends in a close contest between the NDA and others.
Eastern India leads in promoting women power
Thirty-three percent women’s reservation in political representation has been a longstanding demand which has received a lot of lip service support from political parties, but few have had the stomach to offer more than 10 percent tickets to women candidates.
Times of India has published data revealing Congress holds the best record in handing party tickets to female candidates since independence. But the numbers never exceeded 10 percent for any party.
Bengal and Odisha have taken the first big steps towards higher female representation to the fore by significantly offering more tickets to women candidates this year. Mamata Banerjee’s TMC has given 41 percent of tickets to women candidates, many of whom are first-time entrants to the political battle.
Naveen Patnaik’s Bhartiya Janata Dal is offering 33 percent tickets to female candidates. That’s a big step towards a more balanced gender representation, and one hopes this trend will percolate to other political parties.