The guessing game is on over the number of Lok Sabha seats that will go in the kitty of the BJP and the Congress. According to some surveys, the BJP might face losses, while the Congress is in for some gains. Union Minister and RPI leader, Ramdas Athawale, has been reiterating that the BJP will lose some seats. But in the same breath, he predicts that the NDA will form the Government and only Narendra Modi will become the Prime Minister. This has, however, made one thing clear: The BJP and its alliance partners are apprehensive that they are going to lose some seats.
On the other hand, the Congress believes it will gain only what the BJP loses. The Congress leaders — on the basis of internal and media houses’ surveys — feel that the BJP will lose around 100 seats, and if this happens, the Congress will gain more than half of that ie more than 50 seats. The Congress feels that 50 to 60 seats belonging to the BJP will come to it and the rest will go to the alliance partners. If the BJP loses in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Maharashtra, the Congress will benefit directly, while the BJP’s loss in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar will be a boost for the SP, BSP, and RJD. Apart from this, if the equation of seats changes, the regional parties will benefit. For example, in Tamil Nadu, the DMK’s loss will be the AIADMK’s gain.
CONG’S CORE COMMITTEE
There is no tradition of setting up a core committee in the Congress, especially for elections. But this time is different; the party has formed a core committee nine months prior to polls. Apart from that, a campaign committee and manifesto committee have also been set up. It is being said that the nine-member core committee will be solely responsible for coordination during elections.
The Congress is mostly worried about pre-poll alliances before the next Lok Sabha Elections. Many regional kshatrapas are not ready to surrender before the Congress. In the Hindi belt and even in North-Eastern States, regional parties consider themselves bigger than the Congress. So, although they are gearing up for tie-ups, very few seats will be allotted to the Congress. The Congress leaders say it is not feasible for Rahul Gandhi to talk about alliances everywhere.
In almost all States, Rahul has appointed relatively low-profile leaders as in-charges. While Shaktisinh Gohil has been given charge of Bihar, RPN Singh has been made responsible for party affairs in Jharkhand. Gaurav Gogoi’s appointment as the in-charge of West Bengal raised a few eyebrows. Let alone Mamata Banerjee, even the Congress leaders are not giving much importance to Gogoi. That is why it is being said that Rahul has formed the core committee at the behest of Sonia Gandhi.
The committee comprises leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, and P Chidambaram. There is buzz that all these leaders will be given separate responsibilities. For example, for some time now, Ahmed Patel has been talking to Mamata. When the TMC chief came to Delhi, he went to meet her, and it was Patel who had communicated to Mamata to cancel the meeting of the Opposition parties she had arranged on August 30, as the Opposition leaders had to go to Chennai to attend the prayer meeting for M Karunanidhi.
Sources in the Congress say Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel will talk to leaders of UP, Bihar, and Jharkhand. All regional leaders like Lalu Prasad, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, and Hemant Soren hold them in high regard. In the same manner, AK Antony and Chidambaram will hold alliance talks in five southern States. It is under the same strategy that Rahul has appointed Mallikarjun Kharge as the in-charge for Maharashtra.
ACTION AGAINST OPPOSITION
Will the Central Government take action against the Opposition leaders in the election year? Sources say that most of the regional leaders have become apprehensive over this. It is being said that the kshatrapas are being threatened to stop them from joining any alliance against the BJP. Some regional stalwarts say the Central Government will not take any action against them in the election year as it is bound to have repercussions for the Government too. Arrest of any Dalit, Backward, or tribal leader or raids on them will only lead to sympathy for them and this will not be good for the BJP. On the other hand, the BJP sources say the Central agencies might take action only to shift focus to corruption. Levelling of corruption charges against the Opposition leaders is the only way to divert attention from Rafael and other issues. Probably this is why Robert Vadra is in the news again. It took four years to register an FIR against Vadra, which also names former CM of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda. They allegedly bought land at a throwaway price, changed its land use, and then sold it at a high price. It is to be seen who will be in the line of fire next.
VADRA ON TARGET again
Some people are questioning the motive and timing of the FIR in the Haryana land deal case. They say the FIR has been filed only to target Sonia’s son-in-law, Robert Vadra. Along with Vadra, BS Hooda is also named in the FIR. If police takes action on the basis of the FIR, then the Congress might face problems before the elections. The case might be handed over to the CBI like other land scams of Haryana.
It must be noted that the Assembly Elections might be held in Haryana along with Lok Sabha polls next year. Before that, there is buzz that BS Hooda will be given command of the Congress. Hooda has been on a Jan Kranti Yatra and is getting good support.
In the FIR, Vadra’s name appears as he is the director of Sky Light Hospitality. What is interesting is that names of two more companies are in the FIR, but the names of their directors are not mentioned. And that is why Vadra says this is only political vendetta.
‘NO SIMULTANEOUS POLLS’
The Chief Minister of Telangana, K Chandrashekar Rao, has been tilting towards Modi and the BJP. He has promised that he would support the BJP after elections, if the need arises. But it seems that he doesn’t want the Assembly Elections along with the Lok Sabha polls. It is noteworthy that in Telangana, both elections are held simultaneously.
In Telangana, elections are scheduled for next April and May, but KCR wants elections this December. If he recommends the dissolution of the Assembly right now, then the Election Commission might conduct polls along with the four States where elections are scheduled at the end of this year.
It might be that KCR is apprehensive of the BJP, despite showing an inclination towards it. At the same time, he is also worried about the Congress and TDP. People are saying that the TDP and Congress are going for an alliance in Telangana. They feel that if the Assembly Elections are held along with the Lok Sabha polls, there might be communal polarisation. The BJP might benefit in both elections owing to Modi. If the fight turns out to be four-or three-cornered, then there is a chance of a hung Assembly. It seems that KCR has been gearing up for elections for a long time and now wants to jump into the fight by giving a jolt to the Opposition.