Will Amethi in 2014 become Rahul Gandhi’s waterloo? A lot of media attention is being given to this question since the constituency is having a 3 way contest this time with feisty opponents Smriti Irani of BJP and Kumar Biswas of AAP also in the fray. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination from Amethi today, from where he has been elected to the Lok Sabha twice successively. Rahul went to Amethi collectorate in the afternoon along with his family members. Before reaching the office, Rahul undertook a 42-km-long roadshow.
For the Gandhis’ pocket boroughs of Amethi and Rai Bareli are usually piece of cake. Thus, even in this time of crisis the parivaar looked far more relaxed today than any other recent public appearances. Rahul and Priyanka sat on the roof of the car and interacted with the supporters who showered rose petals on the Gandhi scion. Priyanka Gandhi refused to comment on the margin of the victory though Rahul was hopeful of a good margin from a seat where he has won by nearly 3 lakh votes last time. In midst of large scale criticism in the media about lack of development in Amethi, the suave MP listed his significant achievements. Rahul today took a back step about the entire Modi’s wife controversy saying he was not doing personal attack but merely stating the facts. After becoming a joke in the social media for wearing pink jeans while going out for voting, Robert Vadra was dressed in much conservative attire today!!
The social media was abuzz today with sensational snippets from ex media advisor of PM Sanjay Baru’s book trickling in. Sanjay has effectively confirmed what used to be discussed in hushed tones in drawing rooms across India. According to the book, Sonia Gandhi acted as a Super PM virtually vetoing all important policy decisions. Apparently Manmohan Singh felt disenchanted with the job at times but continued to do so. The book claims that the problem with the dual power center mainly started after UPA was voted back to office in 2009. Baru believes that the credit for the election win belonged to the “accidental PM” but was entirely bestowed on Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. Pranab Mukherjee was finalised as Finance Minister by Sonia even before consulting the P.M. All these have ensured tongues wagging in the political circle with likes of Arun Jaitley and Narendra Modi firing salvo. Late in the day BJP raised a 5-point poser to the Congress party picking up points from this book.
Even when Rahul hinted today of going soft on Modi’s personal life, BJP doesn’t seems to be in a mood to relent. In a no holds bar attack, Arun Jaitley attacked Congress Vice President of breaking an unwritten code of conduct. He warned of exposing the skeletons in Congress’s cupboard. He alluded to an ex P.M having “disturbed matrimony”. According to leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha there are many Congress leaders involved in illicit relationships who pose with their wives for photo opportunities while filing nominations. As the elections are reaching the business end, the discourse is getting increasingly filthy recording new lows every day.
In a fresh attack, Narendra Modi today accused Rahul Gandhi of using a stolen bike while campaigning in Rajasthan. He gave the example of hit movie franchise Dhoom. Looks like all those jokes of equating Uday Chopra with Rahul Gandhi floating in the internet has finally reached the person vying to become the next Prime Minister. Rahul though said that he will not respond to it as he believes in the message of love. There is again an Uday Chopra joke lurking around here.
Remember Anna Hazare? After non-starter alliance with Mamata Banerjee the veteran Gandhian is again back in the news. This time he has said that Arvind Kejriwal resigned from the post of Delhi C.M for the bigger prize of becoming P.M. This comes only a day after Kejriwal accepted that his decision to relinquish power was perhaps ill timed leading to much heartbreak especially within the middle class. Looks like this guru-sishya relation is unlikely to mend any time soon.
There was a mini round of elections today with voting in 7 constituencies spreading across 4 states of Assam, Goa, Tripura and Sikkim. There has been a huge surge in polling percentage in past three phases and this was no different. In Goa’s North and South seats, the voter turnout was 75 per cent. Assam’s three seats — the Autonomous District, Karimganj and Silchar seats saw 75 per cent turnout. In East Tripura constituency nearly 83% of the electorate turned out to vote. Almost 70% people voted in the lone constituency of Sikkim. There are 74 candidates in fray at this phase of election. The final voter turnout is likely to be even more with news of long queues outside booth reported even after 6 PM.
After relatively peaceful Assembly elections, Chattisgarh is again facing the brunt of Maoist violence in this general election. In two separate incidents, 13 lives have been lost in that battleground state. The casualty figure is likely to go up. According to sources, as many as 12 polling officials were returning in a bus in Bijapur district. Maoists used a landmine to blow up the bus, killing eight polling officials on the spot. The attack took place around noon.
The second attack too took place around noon in Bastar district when five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were travelling in an ambulance. The ambulance was blown up in a landmine blast in Darbha valley. All the troopers died, fate of the ambulance driver though remains unknown.
These were in brief the major election happenings of the day. Looking forward to a Super Sunday in campaigning tomorrow.