Some of the recent surveys have sent the Congress leadership into a tizzy. Even the party leaders feel that the Congress’s seats in Uttar Pradesh may be halved. They feel that the party will not get even 10 seats in Rajasthan and will lose in Madhya Pradesh. The scenario looks equally, if not more, grim in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Delhi and Uttarakhand
The Congress is in poll mode. The Lok Sabha election is 10 months away, but the party is today concentrating on the Assembly elections which are going to be held within four-five months. Congress sources claim that they are not unduly worried if the Lok Sabha elections are held simultaneously with the polls in five States, which are scheduled to be held in November and December this year.
After implementing the Food Security Bill, the Congress has now taken the tough decision to create a separate Telangana State. It is said that the Congress high command has taken the decision to divide Andhra Pradesh even at the cost of the displeasure of its own non-Telangana leaders. The party has also started ground-level preparations by giving the charge of Uttar Pradesh to six Union Ministers. Before this, the Congress had announced an alliance with the JMM and formed the Government in Jharkhand. Also, its alliance with the JD(U) in Bihar and the DMK in Tamil Nadu seems almost certain. With the Election Commission ordering two lakh new EVMs, it seems early elections are around the corner.
Son-rise in grand old party
Many Chief Ministers and former Ministers are ready to put their sons in the electoral field. Drawing inspiration from the successful political careers of Sheila Dikshit’s son Sandeep and Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s son Deepender, leaders like Tarun Gogoi, Oommen Chandy, Ashok Gehlot, Virbhadra Singh, Vijay Bahuguna, Digvijay Singh and Ajit Jogi are ready to rope in their sons.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi might field his son Gaurav from the Koliabor Lok Sabha seat. Deep Gogoi, Tarun Gogoi’s brother, is the sitting MP from Koliabor. Likewise, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is set to introduce his son Chandy Oommen into the political fray. The former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Digvijay Singh, has already brought his son Jay Vardhan Singh into politics and this time he may fight the Assembly elections from Raghogarh. Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi is also ready to bring in his son Amit. Vaibhav Gehlot, son of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, may also join politics. Saket Bahuguna, son of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, had lost the election last time, but would fight from the Garhwal seat this time.
GRAND ALLIANCE IN HARYANA
Though the BJP has an alliance with Kuldeep Bishnoi’s HJC in Haryana, sources say that Om Prakash Chautala’s INLD will also enter into alliance with the saffron party. It is said that talks have been completed between these three parties. Out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana, the BJP and the INLD will fight on four each, and two seats will go to the HJC.
It is said that Bhajan Lal’s son Kuldeep Bishnoi will fight from Hisar as HJC’s candidate and his wife will contest from Karnal. The BJP will fight from the two seats bordering Delhi, that is, Faridabad and Gurgaon. Sirsa and Sonipat, which are considered to be the den of the Chautala family, will go to the INLD. Apart from this, it is said that the INLD will fight from Kurukshetra and Bhiwani, while Rohtak and Ambala will go to the BJP.
It is also being said that if the INLD, BJP and HJC come together, then the Congress will land in great trouble. In such a situation, Jat and non-Jat voters will polarise in a particular alliance. Sources close to the Haryana Chief Minister say that in this scenario Bhupinder Singh Hooda will face a problem in saving even his son’s Rohtak seat. At present, nine out of the 10 seats are with the Congress.
MULAYAM’s two SEAT idea
In the coming Lok Sabha election, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav may contest from two seats. This is nothing new for the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. In the last Lok Sabha elections, even Akhilesh Yadav had fought from two seats — Kannauj and Ferozabad — and was able to win both. Later, he relinquished Ferozabad from where his wife contested and got defeated by Raj Babbar. Later, when Akhilesh Yadav became the Chief Minister, he left the Kannauj seat, from which his wife got elected unopposed.
This time it is said that Mulayam may fight from Mainpuri and Azamgarh. At present he is an MP from Mainpuri. So he will be contesting from this seat and due to infighting among party leaders he may stand from Azamgarh as well. Initially, Balram Yadav was the official SP candidate for the Azamgarh seat. Later, it was changed and the name of another candidate emerged. But party workers are now demanding that Prateek Yadav, younger son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, be made the candidate from this seat. Netaji has not taken the final decision on this yet. That is why it is being said that the SP supremo himself will fight from Azamgarh to end all controversies and will later vacate the seat for Prateek.
CRUMBLING HAND IN HINDI BELT
It is said that 33 seats for the Congress in Andhra Pradesh were instrumental in getting the UPA its second consecutive term at the Centre. But the Hindi belt was more important than Andhra Pradesh. Twenty-two seats from Uttar Pradesh and 21 from Rajasthan had made the path much easier for the party. Besides, the Congress got more than 30 out of 40 seats from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi. But this time these 70 seats seem elusive for the Congress.
Some of the recent surveys have sent the Congress leadership into a tizzy. Even the party leaders feel that the Congress’s seats in Uttar Pradesh may be halved. They feel that the party will not get even 10 seats in Rajasthan and will lose in Madhya Pradesh. The scenario looks equally, if not more, grim in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Delhi and Uttarakhand.
Also, the condition for the party doesn’t seem to improve in those three States where it performed poorly in the last election. Out of the 40 seats in Bihar, the Congress had won only two. In Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, it had won only one seat each out of a total of 14 and 11 respectively. In Jharkhand, though the Congress may relatively be in a better position after its alliance with the JMM, it does not change the proposition that the party will be marginalised in the entire Hindi belt this time. The BJP and the regional parties will be in a much better position.
BJP’S Karnataka dilemma
The former Chief Minister of Karnataka and chief of the KJP, BS Yeddyurappa, is all set to return to the BJP. But the matter is stuck due to Yeddy’s conditions and obstruction by a senior Central leader. It is said that party leaders are trying to sort the issue out through talks. Even Yeddy’s family members allegedly want him to return to the BJP. There is speculation that Yeddy has put three conditions before the BJP. First, he wants to be the leader of the BJP legislative party in place of Jagadish Shettar. Second, he wants an Assembly seat for his close associate, Shobha Karandlaje. Three, he wants to have the veto power in the selection of candidates for 10 seats (out of 28 Lok Sabha seats). Some Central leaders have never been in favour of Yeddy’s return, but after these conditions they have become more adamant. The anti-Yeddy faction wants Yeddy to return without any precondition, after which the party will consider his demands.
SECULAR LEADERS get religious
Flag-bearers of ‘secularism’ in the country are indulging in somewhat bizarre politics. All these leaders are showcasing their religious avatar, thus trying to project their Hindu identity to the majority community. Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has started this and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has taken it forward. Recently, Yadav went to Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh and worshipped at the ashram of Pagla Baba. As the verdict in the fodder scam is awaited, it might have prompted him to go there and perform a more-than-two-hour-long puja. A few days ago he had also gone to Deoghar in Jharkhand to offer prayers to Lord Shiva.
As for Digvijay Singh, he had recently written a blog to prove himself a true Hindu. He wrote that there were nine temples in his house where priests worshipped regularly. Singh further wrote that he observed fast and went for a darshan of Lord Vithoba on Aashadh Ekadashi last month.