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Is Singh still the king?

MANMOHAN MAY CONTEST IN LOK SABHA

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wants to contest the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. The first Sikh Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after serving the country from the backdoor of Rajya Sabha, now wants to come through direct election with the support of the masses. The PM is likely to contest the Lok Sabha from the Amritsar parliamentary seat. With the son of the soil factor, he is sure to win the seat. His victory in Lok Sabha will enhance his possibility of becoming the PM a record third time if Congress comes to power. It will even rid him of the tag that he is a backdoor prime minister who has no mass support. The Akalis have also indicated to him that they will not put up a candidate against Manmohan. But it may be bad news for the BJP, and Arun Jaitley in particular, as it is a BJP seat. Navjot Siddhu has already said that he will not contest Lok Sabha this time. Jaitley was supposed to have set his eyes on Amritsar. His wife recently even visited Amritsar for a recce. Meanwhile, Siddhu has been offered a Delhi seat. But the question being asked in political circles is will Manmohan Singh be at all allowed by the Congress to contest the Lok Sabha seat?


SHEILA BANKING ON KEJRIWAL TO STORM DELHI!

With Arvind Kejriwal gearing up to unleash his electoral campaign and take on the Delhi government, the chief minister Sheila Dikshit is confident of forming the government for the fourth time. And believe it or not, but her confidence is banking on Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party! Last time, Sheila had won because of the urban middle class voters. A large section of these voters are angry with her. It is these voters who are impressed with the AAP and would shift to Kejriwal’s party instead of polarising in favour of the BJP, thus giving the Congress an edge. The other factor is the absence of any credible face of the BJP against Sheila. Vijay Goel, the BJP chief of Delhi, is no match to Sheila. The BJP leadership is, however, at its wits’ end on its chief ministerial candidate, while Sheila is also banking on Muslim and migrant voters from UP, Bihar, Uttarakhand and even Rajasthan to some extent. She is a Punjabi by birth but a bahu of the well-known Brahmin family. So she has her loyal constituency in both. According to the latest records, the migrants constitute 40 per cent of the total voting population of Delhi. And, Congress is largely dependent on that 40 per cent of voters to get Sheila elected.    


BJP LEADERS SET EYES ON VAJPAYEE’S LUCKNOW

All the UP veterans in the BJP are fighting over who would inherit the legacy of the former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. A tussle of sorts has broken out between top BJP leaders over who would contest the 2014 Lok Sabha election from the Lucknow parliamentary that elected Vajpayee to become the prime minister of India. Among those keen to grab the Lucknow seat are Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalraj Mishra, Lalji Tandon and the serious contender is the BJP President Rajnath Singh himself. And more important is that even Narendra Modi, the self-anointed PM contender, is keen to prove his strength outside Gujarat, particularly in the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh.

Obviously, the seat he wants is the blessed Vajpayee seat. But he is not very convinced. Besides the Vajpayee legacy factor, Rajnath Singh is not sure of getting re-elected from Ghaziabad, so he has set his eyes and heart on the prestigious Vajpayee seat of Lucknow. The other option for him is Noida. Yet, the other contenders, like Joshi or Kalraj Mishra being Brahmins, think it is their right to succeed Vajpayee from Lucknow and inherit his legacy. Lalji Tandon think that it his right over the Vajpayee seat as he was closest to Vajpayee and he belongs to Lucknow.


UTTARAKHAND’S ‘IN ABSENTIA’ CHIEF MINISTER


You want to meet the Uttarakhand chief minister, please contact him on his New Delhi address. Vijay Bahuguna, the chief minister of Uttarakhand, has earned himself the dubious tag of the most invisible man in the state. Like his one-time predecessor, Narain Dutt Tiwari, who was famous as ‘New Delhi Tiwari’, Bahuguna, too, lives more in Delhi, Allahabad or Mumbai than in his own state. Out of every 100 days, he spends 80 days on an average outside Uttarakhand. He is more visible in AICC in Delhi, in either Motilal Vohra’s office or his mentor Janardhan Diwedi’s room. The BJP is having a field day with the CM’s apparent disinterest in the state affairs. Several BJP members are heard crying ‘lapata Bahuguna’. Bahuguna’s opponents have even lodged a complaint with Rahul Gandhi and have warned him that with this kind of state of affairs in Uttarakhand, it will not be possible for the party to win in 2014. Vijay Bahuguna’s fate hangs in a balance. His survival depends on the party’s victory in the six nagar nigam (municipal) elections scheduled on 28 April. He was recently summoned by the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who is supposed to have warned him. He has been told that he has to win the nagar nigam elections. The buzz is if he fails to get the Congress elected, he will have to go.


AGE NO BAR FOR BJP LEADERS

The BJP is under tremendous pressure from the RSS to retire the 75 plus leadership in 2014. Suresh Soni, the sar she karawahak of the RSS, met the BJP president Rajnath Singh last week and told him that the seventy-five plus leaders of the BJP, which include L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar, Kalraj Mishra and Lali Tandon, should not be given ticket in 2014.

They should be asked to retire. But with Lal Krishna Advani’s ambitions souring high, he is insistent to contest. But given his opposition to Narendra Modi, Advani this time is unlikely to contest from Gandhinagar. His favourite chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is believed to have offered him the Indore seat, from where his victory will be guaranteed. Sumitra Mahajan, the sitting Indore MP, has informed the high command that she is not keen to contest this time. (IPA)
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