The outrage regarding voting in Mumbai continues to linger on. But from citizen’s apathy the focus today shifted to collective anger and outrage against gross callousness of Election Commission.
A moderate estimate suggests that nearly 2 lakh voters had their names struck off from electoral list. As stories emerged of entire buildings and colonies being left out of the democratic process and conspiracy theories started spreading in social media, Election Commission hastened to tender an apology.
H S Brahma apologised to the voters who could not exercise their rights and promised to look into the matter. But some Mumbaikars are not convinced. They have threatened to take legal options. EC though assures that all these inadvertent errors will be rectified in time for Assembly elections in Maharashtra slated to happen later in the year.
Army Chief Vikram Singh is going to retire soon and centre is mulling over his successor. But BJP wants the current government to leave the decision for the next regime. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy today sent a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee to seek his intervention.
Earlier this week, former Army Chief VK Singh, who contested the lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket, had accused the UPA government of violating democratic norms by pushing the appointment of Lt General Dalbir Suhag as the next Army Chief. Reportedly President has sent BJP’s letter to Union Government for consideration.
For all their bravado, Congress may have finally reconciled to the dominant view that they are not going to do well in the elections. The fact that BJP will be the single largest party and NDA the largest alliance was virtually conceded by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. He said that a third front government with outside support from Congress is entirely possible.
But already there are divisions within the Congress leadership regarding supporting such a government. Some leaders are willing to sit in the opposition rather than lending support which may well turn out to be an extremely unstable alternative.
Priyanka Gandhi though doesn’t seem to be harbouring any negative thoughts as of now. Today she attacked BJP leadership for invoking words like RSVP, ABCD etc. Priyanka said that BJP has not outlined their economic agenda and is busy doing personal attacks. Ravi Shankar Prasad of BJP though again asked Congress to explain the Vadra Model of governance.
To counter rapid disenchantment among section of voters, Congress has brought the issue of minority reservation out of cold storage. It has proposed to give 4.5 % reservation to backward Muslims within the OBC quota. BJP has deemed it as an act of desperation. But the grand old party refuses to buy the argument. According to Kapil Sibal, Congress has not brought out any sub manifesto. He argued that this suggestion came from people while discussing the manifesto. Sibal promised that the party will pursue this matter when it comes back to power subject to green signal from the Supreme Court.
Right in the middle of election, the spectrum allocation scam is back making news. In 2g case, former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK leader Kanimojhi, Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Amma and 17 others have been chargesheeted in a special court by Enforcement Directorate. They have been accused of money laundering relating to auction of spectrums. Incidentally, all 39 seats of Tamil Nadu went to polls just yesterday.
Congress on Friday questioned why Narendra Modi and BJP were silent on the issue of execution of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers when they had been vocal in demanding Afzal Guru’s hanging. The party alleged that BJP’s main aim is to garner votes and not fight terrorism.
The issue was raised on a day when SC referred the matter on remission of life imprisonment to the convicts to a constitutional bench.
SP leader Abu Azmi has defended his controversial statement which raised furore. He had said that women involved in sexual relationship outside marriage should be punished. Today he justified his stand invoking teachings from his religion in a letter to Maharashtra State Commission for Women.
SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had threatened teachers to sack them from duty if they failed to vote for their party. Election Commission though has rested the matter giving a warning to the former Union Minister.
Nancy Powell, the outgoing US ambassador from India has expressed confidence that the two countries can embark on a new phase in their relationship once the polls are over. She refused to accept that bilateral relationship has fallen into doldrums. She hoped that two countries will increase cooperation in different fields for mutual benefit.
Election results are still good three weeks away. But some right leaning intellectuals seems to be in a hurry. They are already busy identifying possible positions in the future Modi government. Eminent economist Jagdish Bhagwati, told a news agency that he saw himself on an external council advising the Prime Minister. He tipped his protégé and co-author of many papers Arvind Panagriya to become the new Chief Economic Advisor to Narendra Modi.
It is worth mentioning, Bhagwati has always openly endorsed Modi where as his ideological foe Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen has broadly supported the works done by UPA government.
Narendra Modi is projected as a sort of a secretive introvert person in sections of the mainstream English media. But his biographer disagrees with that assessment. According to Andy Marino, who has written Gujarat CM’s biography, Modi even didn’t shirk from speaking about infamous riots of 2002. According to the British author, Modi was extremely accessible and was merely a phone call away always.
Not everybody though harbours such charitable view about BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. Congress and SP workers reportedly washed the statues garlanded by Narendra Modi in Varanasi. They alleged that the statues have been desecrated by Modi who has blood of riots in his hand. Thus they applied Ganga water and milk to wash the statues. Mayawati today alleged that most of the people who came for Modi’s nomination are not local people of Benaras.
Narendra Modi campaigned in Punjab today. He promised the farmers to fix the minimum support price of the crops in such a way so that at least 50 % profit on input cost is ensured. He assured that they will start “Pradhan Mantri Krishi Seechayee Yojana” to benefit the ordinary farmers.
Punjab is a land where drug addiction has increased to an alarming level. Earlier Rahul Gandhi addressed this issue. Today Narendra Modi brought up the topic saying that some countries are involved in narco-terrorism to weaken India internally. He said that drug mafias won’t be allowed to prosper. Modi also spoke out against the growing menace of fake currency in Punjab. He criticised the Congress party for politicising the serious problem of drug addiction, which is jeopardising the future of the new generation.
Finally, P.M Manmohan Singh may not believe in Modi wave but looks like his brother certainly does. In a fresh embarrassment to Congress, Manmohan Singh’s brother Daljit Kohli has joined BJP. Modi and Punjab C.M welcomed him with open arms in a rally on Friday.
This was all for today. Political activity is not likely to slow down even in the weekends. So we will be back tomorrow with more news….