Rahul Gandhi leads massive roadshow on the way to filing Amethi nomination papers
It was a show of strength in Gauriganj with Rahul Gandhi riding an open-top vehicle on a 3 km road stretch as he proceeded towards filing his nomination papers from Amethi Lok Sabha seat. On the truck with Rahul Gandhi was his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, her husband Robert Vadra and their son Raihan and daughter Miraya. Sonia Gandhi along with Priyanka and Robert Vadra joined Rahul Gandhi during the nomination filing process.
The crowds thronged the street as Rahul’s vehicle crawled forward with excited crowds danced to the loud beat of drums as they were showering flower petals on the vehicle from all sides.
BJP Union Minister for Textiles Smriti Irani is contesting the Amethi seat and hopes to defeat Rahul Gandhi in his family bastion. Smriti Irani lost to Rahul Gandhi in 2014 general elections by 1,07,923 votes.
Gujjar agitation leader Kiron Singh Bhainsla and son joining BJP in Rajasthan
After much debate and strong pressures from both the BJP and the Congress, Gujjar agitation leader Kiron Singh Bhainsla along with his son finally made up their minds and joined the BJP on the eve of the first phase of voting. It is a big gain for the BJP in Rajasthan as the Gujjar leader commands wide support among his community.
For Congress, it is a setback. The party will be hoping to reach out to certain sections of Gujjar voters who remain sympathetic to the Congress. Many in the community hadn’t forgotten or forgiven the BJP government’s hard response to their agitation in 2008 when they demanded a lower ST status for the community instead of the existing OBC status.
“Modi will never be PM again”; “Will help form next government” thunders Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee continues to maintain an aggressive stance against the BJP and PM Modi in particular. In another attack on the PM, CM Banerjee said Narendra Modi would never be elected as PM again and further stated her party TMC would help form the next coalition government at the centre.
TMC party cadres across the state have been working overtime to deny any political space to BJP, whom they consider the main opposition. The narrative has gained strength with unverified audio recording being released to the media of a TMC block president in West Bengal clearly instructing his party cadres to ensure booth capture and booth denial to BJP cadres. The EC has taken notice of the audio recording.
With 42 Lok Sabha seats, West Bengal is the third largest after U.P and Maharashtra.
Congress loses OBC leader Alpesh Thakor to BJP
In an interesting development, Times of India reports Davalsinh Zala, a close aide of OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, announced the Thakor Sena core committee had met and decided that Alpesh Thakor, Bharatji Thakor, and Zala would resign from the Congress party and join the BJP. The reason given was the Congress had ignored the demands of the Thakor community, and BJP was willing to be more sympathetic to their concerns.
Around a month earlier, Alpesh Thakor reaffirmed his commitment to the Congress and had stated he would not contest the 2019 elections. At the time of Zala’s announcement, Alpesh Thakor was not in Ahmedabad.