General Elections 2014 – Day 59
Only a fortnight remains for India to choose its next government. As the dust of elections is starting to slowly settle in many places, major political parties are doing their last desperate bid to ramp up support in the seats which are yet to be polled. All eyes are now on the two high profile seats of Varanasi and Amethi. Any possible upset in either of the two can even change the course of politics in this country.
BJP may have fielded a lightweight against Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli but the party seems determined to upset Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s winning streak in Amethi. Top BJP leaders including Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and even party patriarch Lal Krishna Advani has decided to campaign in the Gandhi family bastion. According to experts, Priyanka Gandhi launching an aggressive campaign from Amethi has forced the saffron bigwigs to become proactive. Narendra Modi is now slated to campaign in Amethi on 5th May.
Priyanka Gandhi today continued her verbal onslaught against BJP. She alleged that booklets and pamphlets peddling lies about the Gandhi family are distributed in a clandestine manner in Amethi by the principal opponent party. One of the booklets apparently contains malicious allegations levelled by controversial BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. Priyanka dared the saffron unit to openly distribute these pamphlets. Earlier BJP had released a C.D titled “ Damad Shree” targeting Priyanka’s husband Robert Vadra’s land deals.
Arun Jaitley, back in the capital after his elections in Amritsar has taken the onus on himself to counter Priyanka Gandhi. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said that Priyanka Gandhi’s daily verbal tirade in “impolite language” against Narendra Modi has only served the purpose of completely shifting focus away from her brother, Rahul Gandhi.
Another senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh today said that NDA is poised to win more than 300 seats. He also categorically said that he won’t be a part of the future Modi government if they come to power. Explaining the rationale behind his decision, Rajnath said that there can’t be two centres of power in the cabinet.
There have been talks in some circles that if NDA emerges as the largest alliance but falls considerably short of the magic number of 272, Rajnath Singh may become the alternative choice for the top job. But as of now BJP President Rajnath Singh has firmly denied this speculation saying that only Narendra Modi is their choice for Prime Minister. He refused to attach much importance to the option of fighting election from Lucknow, which used to be the constituency of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The controversy regarding Modi’s interview to Doordarshan continues to linger on. In the interview he apparently referred to Ahmed Patel as one time friend with whom he claims to have even shared meals. Ahmed Patel who is the most trusted aide of Sonia Gandhi (if Sanjay Baru’s book is to be believed) strongly refuted this claim deeming it ridiculous and baseless. Patel, some would say went touch overboard to say, “I will leave public life if Modi can prove I’ve gone to his house or office since he became Chief Minister (of Gujarat)”.
DD today issued a clarification saying that no portion of the interview was deliberately edited and some portions were left out for technical reasons. BJP though refused to pay heed to this argument saying DD had to leave out portions of the interview due to some pressure. I&B Minister Manish Tewari though said, DD works as an autonomous body without government intervention. But that failed to douse the controversy as Prasar Bharati CEO Jawahar Sircar in a letter to his board today lamented the lack of credibility due to “shadow of government”. Referring to Manish Tewari he said that the “young minister” didn’t provide much autonomy. Expectedly government has promptly denied these charges.
The outgoing government though is certainly leaving no stone unturned to intervene in the snoop gate case. It has decided to assign a judge to investigate the matter. He will check the veracity of claims that the Gujarat police spied on a young techie at the behest of Narendra Modi. Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today said that a judge will be assigned to probe before UPA2 demit office. Arun Jaitley however said that the next government will be fully entitled to cancel such decisions taken at the very end.
Sonia Gandhi had earlier said that only God can help India if Modi becomes P.M. Modi in his usual combative style hit her back on Friday saying that in the last 20 years, he has never heard Congress President invoking God. According to Modi that shows how deep in trouble the grand old party is.
There seems to be an uncanny habit among BJP leaders of trying to hijack the legacy of past Congress greats. Narendra Modi has always sort of modelled himself as a modern day Sardar Patel. Now RSS leader Indresh Kumar has proclaimed that Modi is like Subhash Chandra Basu and former P.M Atal Bihari Vajpayee is like Mahatma Gandhi. He said that secularism for BJP leaders is full of nationalism. Indresh Kumar conceded that they are helping BJP closely in this election especially in Uttar Pradesh. Kumar considered close to Narendra Modi said that there was no place for extremist elements in RSS.
This election has seen so many abusive quotes that a viral video can be made by carefully editing all of those together. Today Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav added his bits to the noise. Taking a jibe at Modi, he said that Prime Ministerial candidate doesn’t have 56 inch chest, he merely has 56 inch belly!!In January, Modi said UP can be transformed to Gujarat but it will need a 56 inch chest. The retort to that jibe came finally at the business end of the elections. Akhilesh today started the trend of attacking politicians based on their physical attributes. Let’s see if this trend catches on or not.
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal may land in trouble for saying that voting for either of BJP or Congress is akin to betraying God and the country.
Kejriwal who is fighting elections from Varanasi today went to campaign in Amethi for his party colleague Kumar Vishwas. There he made the statement that voting for the two big parties will be like gaddari (betrayal) to God and the nation. Kejriwal effusively praised Vishwas saying that the poet turned politician had sacrificed a lucrative career to serve the common folks of India.
Ex Delhi C.M Kejriwal alleged that BJP and Congress are hand in gloves with each other. He said that if BJP was indeed serious on defeating Rahul Gandhi they shouldn’t have put any candidate in Amethi. He challenged Priyanka Gandhi to engage in an open debate with Kumar Vishwas. AAP chief also hinted that Congress has already conceded moral defeat in their own bastion since Priyanka has been forced to campaign for over two weeks to drum up support for her brother.
These were all the major news points. We will be back tomorrow..