By Rahil Nora Chopra
Adding a surprise element to the bid for Opposition unity, BSP leader Mayawati, who has resigned from her Rajya Sabha seat, has been conspicuously absent from the Opposition meetings. The Congress and Samajwadi Party are hoping that the Opposition parties will fight jointly against BJP in Uttar Pradesh in the coming Lok Sabha elections due in 2019. But they are shocked by the behaviour of Mayawati. Not just that the BSP leader skipped the meeting hosted by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi last week, she did not send any representative either. BSP was also not present when the opposition parties announced a half day boycott of Rajya Sabha. BSP MPs have also not signed the memorandum submitted to the President of India on the issue of Judge Loya by 15 Opposition parties. Mayawati has joined an alliance with JD(S) in Karnataka led by former prime minister HD Deve Gowda to fight against Congress, which is locked in a battle with the BJP. The alliance of BSP and JD(S) is expected to eat into the Congress vote share. Finally if Congress and BSP do not vote together in coming Rajya Sabha election in UP, the Samajwadi Party will get one seat as the BJP strength will ensure 8 seats out of 10 seats. If Congress, BSP and SP fight jointly, they can win two seats, otherwise they will have to be content with one seat. With Mayawati keeping her options a closely guarded secret, it remains a mystery as to which alliance she is likely to walk into.
RABRI DEVI TO RUN PARTY FOR LALU
The RJD has announced a new executive committee headed by Rabri Devi as vice president in the absence of party president Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is in jail. The executive committee includes Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Shivanand Tiwari, Mohd Ilyas Husain and Mangani Lal Mandal The strength of RJD will be tested in the Araria Lok Sabha by-election on March 11, which is caused due to the death of Mohammed Taslimuddin. It is also a test for chief minister Nitish Kumar, who has just been provided Z plus security by the Central Government and it is time to decide as to who will lead the campaign in the coming Lok Sabha elections in Bihar.. The fight will be between Nitish Kumar and BJP versus the RJD-Congress alliance for a stronghold in the state. According to JD(U) senior leaders, the party will not fight the coming by election..
DIKSHIT IN DEMAND
The Delhi Congress seems to have realised the importance of former chief minister Sheila Dikshit for the success of the party in the coming assembly by-elections. Long time political opponent and Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken paid a surprise visit to Sheila Dikshit at here residence to discuss and seek her advice. Sheila Dikshit was chief minister for 15 years and is credited with changing the face of Delhi during her tenure Former president of Delhi Congress Arvind Singh Lovely, former Mahila Congress chief Barkha Singh and Amrish Gautam left the party and joined the BJP after Ajay Maken took over as president. Congress high command wants to unite the party and is believed to be keen that AjayMaken fight the by-election under the guidance of Sheila Dikshit.
MINISTER’S MOTHER TO FIGHT BJP IN PHULPUR
Phulpur is a stronghold of the Samajwadi Party, which it lost to the BJP in 2014 when the latter stormed to power in Delhi with overwhelming majority. Phulpur is now a prestigious battle for the BJP, which it is trying to win after its splendid show in last year’s assembly election. Samajwadi Party and the Congress are discussing the possibility of fielding the mother of Union minister Anupriya Patel against BJP. Krishna Patel is the wife of the late Sone Lal Patel, an OBC leader, who was the founder of Apna Dal in 1995. Both mother and daughter lead different factions of the party. Sone Lal Patel had considerable following among the Kurmis of Eastern UP. Krishna lost the last year’s assembly election in Rohaniya in Varanasi, which was won by her daughter in the 2012 election. According to sources, Krishna had been contacted by Congress and SP and it’s expected that a final decision will be taken in the next few days. Other names under discussion are said to include former Phulpur MP Dharmraj Patel and former Mirzapur MP Bal Kumar Patel.
OF CRIMES AND CRORES
According to National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms, there are 22 criminal cases registered against the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Three of those involve serious issues. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has 11 criminal cases against him, with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal coming third with 10 criminal cases against him. As many as 11 chief ministers have criminal cases against them. At the same time, 25 out of 81 chief ministers are crorepatis. Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu is at number 1, declaring his assets at Rs177 crore, followed by Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu with assets of Rs129 crore. Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh declared his assets of Rs48 crore while Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has declared assets worth of Rs2 crore. While Tripura, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir chief ministers have declared assets of less than a crore. (IPA)