Millennium Post

Pillar to post for poll 2014


Priyanka Gandhi may not be the Congress candidate against Narendra Modi but she is likely to campaign in Varanasi. Despite the overwhelming demand for fielding Priyanka against Modi, her name was shot down by no other than her mother Sonia Gandhi. The reason being cited by the Congress leaders under condition of anonymity is the Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s preference for her son Rahul Gandhi over the daughter. She like most Indian mothers is patriarchal in her approach and wants her son to carry on the legacy of her family even if it would be at the cost of the decimation of the Congress Party. But   the official reason being cited by the same lot of people is that it is too late to launch her. Besides this would mean that Rahul is no good. But it is never too late perhaps. Giving in to the pressure from within the party Priyanka may have to now campaign for the Congress if not anywhere else but at least in Varanasi along with her mother and brother’s constituency of Amethi and Rae Bareilly. Priyanka can even campaign in Allahabad and Phulpur, the home town of the Nehrus.


Despite the strong rumour in Varanasi that Ajai Rai can do a Tomar and create a Noida like situation, the Congress high command had no option but to make him the candidate against Narendra Modi. The rumour making rounds in the city of Varanasi is that like Ramesh Tomar, the Congress candidate of Noida who switched to the BJP after the withdrawal date leaving the Congress without a candidate, Rai who has travelled to Congress from the BJP via the Samajwadi party, will do the same and go back to his original party the BJP. Amit Shah is said to be working on him.  When the Congress leadership after an aggressive hunt for a strong candidate to take on Modi failed to get one, it was then decided to go for Ajai Rai. Ajai Rai has been chosen on strong 
recommendation from Digvijay Singh only after he himself who had made many tall claims of taking on Modi, backed out of the race. The logic being given by party leaders on Rai’s candidature is that Rai being a Bhumiyar with a Robin Hood image will not only get the Bhumiyar votes but can even cut into the upper caste Brahmin vote that is upset over the treatment meted out to M M Joshi. The Bhumiyars in Varanasi count for 1. 2 lakhs and the Brahmins are 2 lakhs. . An effort is on for a consensus against Modi. Ahmad Patel and Rajiv Shukla are talking to leaders of other 
secular parties.


The former Mumbai Congress chief Kripa Shankar who is known as the tainted leader of the party is totally isolated in his party in Mumbai. He has no takers. The candidates in Mumbai have made it clear to the party high command that they do not want Kripa Shankar to campaign for them. The general feeling in the party is that if Kripa Shankar campaigns for the candidates in Mumbai, their chances of winning will be reduced by half. Singh is accused of amassing illegal wealth.  This is despite the fact that he has been made a member of the Mumbai Campaign committee by the AICC general secretary Mohan Prakash. Forced into isolation, Kripa Shankar is left with no option but to go back to his home state Uttar Pradesh. He would now campaign only for the actors turned Congress candidates for Nagma in Meerut and Ravi Kishen in Jaunpur, the district of his birth. 


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has still over a month to go but his party has already abandoned him. He has no demand in election campaigns. In fact no top leader of the Congress is in demand from the Congress candidates except Sonia Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi.  But one person, who can match Rahul for his demand to campaign for other Congress candidates, is the new Congress convert Nandan Nilekani. Nilekani is very much in demand from all over India particularly from southern and western Indian parts like Mumbai, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram. But many Congress leaders like the Prime Minister are not in demand in fact they are unwanted. 


The Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav seems to be in deep trouble in Uttar Pradesh where his son is the chief minister. As reports are pouring in about his chips being down, a jittery Mulayam is blatantly striking deals. Both with the Congress and the BJP he has entered into underhand deals to save his own Family from defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. In Lucknow he recently changed his candidate Ashok Vajpayee, a Brahmin from Hardoi with a strong local Brahmin MLA Abhishek Mishra son of an IAS officer. This is seen as a move to cut into the Brahmin votes that were polarising in favour of Rita Bahuguna Joshi and against SP. BJP president Rajnath Singh is in trouble because of the Muslim and Brahmin consolidation in favour of Joshi. In lieu of this favour, the BJP has fielded an insignificant candidate S S Chauhan, a known absconder in Mainpuri. The Congress too in a return gesture has not fielded any candidate against Mulayam as he has not fielded any candidate against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. There is also buzz that the BJP may withdraw Rama Kant Yadav from Azamgarh and field him from some other constituency. In Kannauj where his daughter in law Dimple is contesting and in Badaun where his nephew Dharmendra is contesting, both the BJP and the Congress have fielded unknown and insignificant candidates. The Congress has however given a walkover to Dimple in Kannauj by not putting up any candidate. Where as in Farukkhabad, the BJP has put up a dummy candidate helping Mulayam to defeat Salman Khurshid.


Defeat stares at Krishna Teerath, the Congress candidate from the Delhi’s North East parliamentary constituency who is fighting the battle for her political survival in this election. After losing out in eight  of ten of the assemblies under her  parliamentary constituency, she is all set for a defeat herself as the contest has narrowed down to Udit Raj of the BJP and Rakhi Birla of the Aam Aadmi Party. Teerath is so jittery that she met the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her political secretary Ahmad Patel to seek their help. She is supposed to have complained to them that she has been left in the lurch by all her colleagues in the Congress and as a result her campaign has not picked up. Shakeel Ahmad, the general secretary in charge of Delhi was then asked to call an SOS meeting of all the former MLAs of her parliamentary constituency early this week. He immediately summoned a meeting of all the candidates who had contested on the Congress tickets from the ten Assembly constituencies under Teerath’s Parliamentary seat and warned them against sabotaging her and requested them to cooperate with her. Each MLA or ex MLA had a tale to tell Ahmad about Teerath’s behaviour both with her MLAs as well as people from her constituency. Shakeel however acted as a mediator. Jaikishen, the only dalit MLA who won on the Congress ticket, was particularly requested by the Congress bosses to cooperate. Jaikishen was a serious contender to the party’s ticket in place of Teerath.


Jyotiraditya Scindia is for the first time feeling the heat in the present campaign for Lok Sabha polls.  As the Modi wave sweeps over the state, Scindia for the first time is so jittery that he is now relying on the campaign of his wife Priyadarshini and mother Madhvi Raje Scindia who are seeking votes for him. But seeking votes is no easy job for the royal princesses which Priyadarshini discovered when she was accosted by a group of women in rural Guna who demanded that she should first get their ration cards be changed from blue to yellow leaving her totally puzzled as she did not know what change of colour meant. She later learnt that the blue ration card was meant for above the poverty line and the yellow ration card was meant for the BPL. Some education!       IPA

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