General Elections 2014 – Day 71

General Election 2014

Is it Big Boss? Is it Roadies? No, it is the greatest reality show of India, the process of formation of government formation. Even before the declaration of the results, the way political parties are hinting about changing stance is nothing short of remarkable. It can very well be termed as blatant opportunism or inevitable pragmatism for survival depending upon individual point of view.

In June, last year when first indications emerged of Narendra Modi leading the campaign for BJP, op-ed writers were busy denouncing the decision saying that NDA will not get any allies. Most of them will probably be eating humble pie today with parties falling head over heels to get into what TV channels are branding “Super NDA”.

Today former NDA ally BJD indirectly expressed their desire to “work with the centre”. Baijayant Panda said that there is a view within the party that they should extend conditional support to NDA after getting virtually nothing from UPA in the last 10 years. But he said final decision will be taken by Naveen Patnaik. Odisha CM though refused to show his cards saying it is too early to speculate about which party they will be supporting.

From east to down south, another former NDA ally seems to be also testing water. Senior AIADMK leader K Malaiswamy harped about the great friendship between his “madam” J Jayalalithaa and PM aspirant Narendra Modi. The leader said that if indeed Gujarat C.M becomes the next P.M, Jayalalithaa will like to have close ties. In her part, Tamil Nadu C.M declined to say anything just reiterating that she will comment after the election results get published. Interestingly, all through the campaign, the two leaders steadfastly avoided attacking each other only to break the pattern in the very end.

NCP though has ruled out joining hands with NDA after Praful Patel’s pitch for stability fuelled rumours. Union Minister Patel himself cleared the air saying that they are a part of UPA, and will continue to remain so in the future.

After Narendra Modi first hinted at welcoming all the parties to work together, today party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar reiterated that stand. He expressed confidence that NDA will get majority on its own, but said that they are open to welcome other parties in their fold. Many believe, BJP is looking for support from regional players to ensure smooth passage of bills in Rajya Sabha where it will be in minority.

BJP today continued hectic parleys regarding possible portfolio allocation and other modalities of government formation. Future roles of senior leaders and “dissidents” like Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were also discussed. Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley today met Lal Krishna Advani and Sushma Swaraj both of whom have expressed their displeasure with different party decisions in the past. Rajnath Singh later said that Advani’s role in the future regime will be decided after detailed consultation with him. There have been talks of him being selected for the post of Speaker. Sushma Swaraj today refuted the speculation that she is upset with the party. Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha said that she is not sulking and made light of her meeting with Rajnath Singh, deeming it a courtesy call.

Rajnath Singh also played down the significance of party leaders meeting Narendra Modi . Rajnath, along with Gadkari and Jaitley met the PM aspirant at Gandhi Nagar today. BJP Party president said that it was merely to share “experience from election campaign”. Many believe it is significant that the meeting took place at Gandhi Nagar and not in Delhi, a sign of the time to come. Modi by his own admission is determined to break the cabals of power equation in Lutyens Delhi. Only time will say if he actually succeeds to do so.

Speculations are however rife about possible portfolios of top BJP leaders. Sources say that Arun Jaitley may be the next Finance Minister; Sushma Swaraj may get Defence or External Affair. If Party President Rajnath Singh does join government, he is all likely to take charge of the extremely important Home Ministry. Nitin Gadkari is tipped to get Railways and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan may get agriculture or health.

Amidst all these hype and hoopla, BJP’s Giriraj Singh is back to his old rhetoric. Now he has asked, why all terrorists are from one particular community? In a seminar, he asked that why the secular parties are silent about this syndrome. In a comment that has potential to whip up a storm Giriraj also said, “Some (people) are pro-terrorism and their political Mecca-Madina is Pakistan. These people should be in Pakistan.” It is left to be seen if BJP decides to crack the whip to keep in leash these kinds of fringe elements. Earlier the controversial leader from BJP said that all those against Modi should go to Pakistan. Narendra Modi indirectly rebuked him for that statement.

Arun Jaitley still bruising after the bitter electoral battle with Amarinder Singh is not letting go of any opportunity to attack the Congress top leadership. Today he lambasted the Gandhi family and particularly Rahul Gandhi in his blog. He said that Congress should owe up to the fact that Gandhi scion couldn’t measure up to the leadership skills of Narendra Modi. Jaitley alleged that the grand old party is so much dependent on the Gandhis that they can’t see any wrong which the family commits.

Congress party though is still not willing to give up. As the Hindi punchline goes they believe, “Picture abhi baaki hain”. The party hopes that if they can win around 120-140 seats there is a chance of formation of UPA3, taking fresh partners with them. Congress feels secularism can be an important plank to cobble up an alliance. Another view is that the party should accept the mandate and seat in the opposition. Congress though is officially tight lipped about any possible post poll manoeuvre waiting for the final results.

Sonia Gandhi today hosted a farewell dinner for Manmohan Singh. He was given a memento signed by his colleagues in the cabinet and members of the Congress Working committee. While almost entire top leadership was present for what many believe is the swansong of the present regime, Rahul Gandhi was conspicuous by his absence. Later it was clarified that Rahul Gandhi has already left the country after completion of the polling process!!

Ratan Tata who was also indirectly criticised by Rahul Gandhi for getting a “sweet” land deal in Gujarat today praised the outgoing P.M. The eminent businessman praised the genial Sikh for his humility and dignity, lauding the economic achievements of UPA1.

CPIM, facing a rout in Bengal has demanded repoll in nearly 3000 booths. Senior party leaders met the EC in Delhi to tender this demand. TMC however has completely rejected the demand calling it laughable. Interestingly, special EC observer for Bengal Sudhir Rakesh has conceded that he failed to crack the code of rigging in Bengal and that EC couldn’t provide protection to people. Truly a candid confession!!

Finally, former President APJ Abdul Kalam has given his word of advice to the next Prime Minister. Kalam hopes that the leader will show creativity with streaks of imagination to think way ahead of time to get India to the path of high economic growth.

These were all from today. Keep watching this space for more.