The political Mahabharata has finally started. Today, the first family of Indian politics was caught in an unprecedented war of words with its members trading jibes at each other. Estranged cousins Priyanka and Varun Gandhi, have broken the unwritten code of restrain which the parivaar maintained with their Big Boss type “tu tu main main”. It all started when a video surfaced, where Priyanka was seen addressing Congress party workers in Sultanpur asking them to show Varun the right path who she claimed had gone astray. Incidentally Varun is the BJP candidate from Sultanpur. After that Varun’s mother Maneka Gandhi said that let people of India decide which path is correct. Today Varun Gandhi filed his nomination from Sultanpur. Breaking silence in this issue he said that his inherent decency and large -heartedness should not be perceived as weakness. But what surprised everybody was the scathing nature of Priyanka’s rebuttal. She deemed that Varun has betrayed the family by joining the other side. She mentioned that election is not a family tea party but an ideological war. Priyanka also invoked the memories of her late father. She alluded to Varun’s infamous hate speech in Pilibhit at 2009 Lok Sabha election. Many political pundits believe that at a time when morale of Congress workers seems to be ebbing, this kind of assertive comments by Priyanka Gandhi can energise them. In a way, Priyanka merely repeated the theme which Sonia Gandhi said in a 3-minute television ad. Sonia invoked the notion of Bharatiyata and Hindustaniyat warning the voters not to vote for the opposition. Without naming BJP, she alleged that their vision is clouded with hatred and falsehood. She castigated BJP’s ideology as divisive and autocratic. The saffron brigade though has promptly rejected these charges. Party President Rajnath Singh said that Congress and its chief should try to understand and learn what Bharatiyata is. According to the constitution, the concept of Bharatiyata certainly has a lot to do with secular ideas. In that parameter Rajnath Singh currently seems to ahead of Narendra Modi, if Lucknow clerics are to be believed. Today, prominent Lucknow Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad praised Rajnath Singh comparing him with Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He said that they are fearful of Narendra Modi but Rajnath is acceptable like Vajpayee. Incidentally, Rajnath who is contesting from Lucknow met prominent clerics of the city. Kalbe though clarified that he will not issue any fatwa but will certainly present his views to the member of his community. Ironically when Sonia Gandhi met Shahi Imam urging him to not let split in “secular vote” it set the tongues wagging. Here Rajnath though is virtually emulating Sonia Gandhi. Arun Jaitley in the meanwhile has attacked Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in his blog today. Referring to Sonia’s ad speech yesterday he said that it was an act of desperation by Congress. Jaitley argued that since Rahul’s speeches are “not working”, party had been forced to change its principal communicator. Thus Congress’s new slogan is “Mein nahin, Mom” quipped the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. Jaitley asserted that this last minute change of tactics is unlikely to change the course of this election. Narendra Modi also ridiculed the grand old party for putting out the television ad. He equated Rahul Gandhi with children and said the word ‘toffee’ has caught his fancy after he repeatedly spoke about ‘balloon’. He said it was for the people to decide whether or not they wanted those who play with balloons and crave for toffees. The BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate said that as a child who sold tea, he had not got toffees but had his sights set on trophies. Today also he referred to Sanjay Baru’s book virtually sympathising with PM Manmohan Singh for having very little authority!! Manmohan Singh’s family has broken their silence regarding the controversial book written by ex-media advisor Sanjay Baru. According to PM’s eldest daughter Upinder Singh, it was unethical, betrayal and a stab in the back. She said that they believed the book was only to be published after the elections are over. She was critical over the timing of the book saying that it can’t be termed an objective work of study. Priyanka Gandhi with her newly found aggression has also supported Manmohan Singh. Rejecting the notion that her mother was a “Super PM”, she said that Manmohan Singh himself was a super PM!! It seems like increasingly Congress is pitting this election as a battle between two ideologies. It initially wanted to pitch its development model but with high inflation and low growth of the economy, very few seem to be convinced. Thus the party has changed its tact. Along with Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul too today invoked the contrasting notion of ideology the two parties wish to propagate. He said that theirs is the message of love giving the example of Mahatma Gandhi. According to Rahul, the opponents are propagating message of hate. He invoked Nathuram Godse’s name to argue his point. The name calling gives no indication of stopping in the near future with Congress calling Modi a dictator. BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in a speech said that the Congress is shivering over the prospect of sitting in the opposition. Congress has retorted with party spokesperson Manu Singhvi saying that “Har har Modi” should be changed to “Dar Dar Modi”. The city of temples Varanasi is all set to witness a high decibel campaign with AAP chief Kejriwal finally reaching there. He is taking on the might of Narendra Modi. Local media has predicted that there is chance of widespread polarisation of voters along religious lines in the run up to polls. Soon after arriving this morning, Kejriwal met Benares Shahar-e-Kazi Ghulam Nasir and sought his support. Kejriwal also met some Balmiki Samaj leaders and visited areas populated by dalits to seek their support. Each party in the fray is alleging its opponent of tries to polarise the voters in this high pitched campaign. This seems to be a season of spilling out open secrets. Former West Bengal governor and civil servant, Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Tuesday slammed the CBI saying it was seen as the government’s hatchet and often called DDT — the “Department of Dirty Tricks.” He strongly advocated CBI to be brought under RTI. This stinging criticism of CBI coming from an extremely respected person is likely to be lapped up by the opposition to trade their guns against Congress. Finally in an incident which very well may have been a “Faking News”, Sushma Swaraj cancelled an election meeting after no party workers reached to receive her. Sushma was slated to address a rally at Shivpuri, in Guna constituency. When she landed there, nobody was present. Miffed, she returned back. Looks like Sushmaji after being overruled at her party meetings has become extremely sensitive. Today was the last day of campaigning for all the 121 constituencies slated to go to polls on the 17th. These were the major news from today. We will be back with more tomorrow.