What happens when a former chaiwallah and a former bus conductor meet? Normally it will be a no-story but when the two persons concerned are no ordinary mortals but Narendra Modi and Rajnikanth, the shutterbugs go crazy. Social media got filled with Namo-Rajni jokes when BJP’s prime ministerial candidate met the superstar for a courtesy meeting. Although Rajni formally didn’t endorse Modi but hailed him as a good leader and wished him well. The two icons hugged each other creating a perfect photo opportunity. BJP is not a very potent force in Tamil Nadu. It has stitched up an alliance with some smaller parties. The state unit feels that this Namo- Rajni meeting may be a perfect boost for the party cadres to work hard for success.
Before meeting Rajni, Modi was in Karnataka. In his own characteristic way he took a jibe on the UPA2 government terming it remote controlled. He was alluding to the controversial tell-all book by PM’s ex media advisor Sanjay Baru which is currently becoming the new headache for Congress. Modi also took on ex-PM Deve Gowda in the rally. JDS leader Deve Gowda recently said that he will leave Karnataka and take political sanyas if Modi becomes PM. The Gujarat CM retorted very strongly to this statement saying that Gowda was free to stay in his own home or any old-age home. Modi predicted that Congress will not be able to open its account in many states and end up with single digit seats in some.
Speaking of old, looks like veteran politician Lal Krishna Advani is not contemplating hanging up his boots any time soon. He said that he will accept any role which the party bestows upon him. L K Advani raised a few eyebrows when he decided to not take a Rajya Sabha ticket and chose to again contest the elections. There was again a conflict regarding the seat with Advani initially planning to move to Madhya Pradesh from Gujarat. Is the octogenarian looking for one last shot at Prime Ministership? We will only know what happens after May 16th.
Another senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi has rubbished the notion of the Modi wave sweeping through the country. He said that it was a BJP wave and Modi is merely the face of the campaign. Incidentally, this entire campaign is run by Modi glorifying the Gujarat model of development. In rallies after rallies, Modi promises to emulate the development in his home state once he takes charge in Delhi. Here also former HRD minister Joshi takes a contrarian view. He believes that it will not be Gujarat model but NDA model led by BJP that will set the agenda for the next government. He also expressed his unhappiness over the way Jaswant Singh matter was handed by the party. Dissociating himself from the decision to expel the senior leader, Joshi said that it was not taken collectively and could have been certainly handled better. Looks like there are still matters in which senior BJP leaders are not necessarily in the same page even when the elections have started.
In what can be a fresh embarrassment for Narendra Modi, PMO has decided to take permission of Gujarat government for publishing the letter exchanged between the chief minister and then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee on aftermath of the 2002 riot. A R.T.I application has been filed which seeks access to these letters. The timing of the entire exercise looks a bit suspicious. Just a couple of days back, Congress website carried quotes of Vajpayee which was critical of Modi after the riots. It may well be a follow up to that. Publication of the letters can effectively put forward more stridently what Vajpayee felt about Narendra Modi and his role in tackling the riots.
Another person who is accused of communal polarisation is Azam Khan. He has been under fire for his controversial Kargil comment. Facing the heat the SP leader has decided to counter attack branding the Election Commission as a Congress agent. He said that EC is now becoming a political tool of the ruling party like CBI.
Acting on the EC’s directions, the UP Police had lodged two separate FIRs against the state minister on Saturday. One of them was for giving communal colours to the Kargil war and attributing India’s victory to “Muslim soldiers” at a recent rally. But Azam Khan is defiant. He claims that he spoke it as a message of love and not hate. Apparently it was a historical fact and he was speaking about love and affection of the minorities for the country.
Although Azam Khan continues to remain defiant, another SP leader has backed out from his comment. Abu Azmi who created much furore by saying that the woman who is raped should also be hanged has now denied making any such comments. In a complete U-turn he has claimed that only a mad man can say such things and he never said those. He claimed that girls are victims and should be supported. Incidentally Abu’s daughter-in-law and Bollywood actress, Ayesha Takiya publicly criticised him for his views. Abu today said that anybody is entitled to have their views.
Sharad Pawar meanwhile is not taking such charitable view regarding the dissent within his party. He has sacked a district unit president for not extending full support to the local Congress candidate, Nilesh Rane.
In poll-related violence, two cops were killed when militants attacked the house of a National Conference leader, Yawar Masoodin in Khrew village in Pulwama district. A gun battle soon started between the security forces and militants with massive manhunt launched to nab them. The attack took place when Masoodi, who is the organiser of the party’s youth wing in South Kashmir, was holding a party meeting at his residence. The security forces chased the militants and finally killed both the militants.
Security forces also recovered the rifle of one of the slain cops which the militants had taken away after the attack. Shohda (martyrs’) Brigade, a splinter group of Lashkar-e-Toiba, claimed responsibility for the attack. This is the first militant attack on any election-related activity in Kashmir which has been relatively incidence free.
These were the brief excerpts of the major election news of the day. We will be back again tomorrow.
Tamil Nadu Election Results
Karnataka Election Result
Delhi Election Results
Gujarat Election Result
Madhya Pradesh Election Result
Uttar Pradesh Election Result
Jammu and Kashmir Election Result
Result of Election 2014