By Rahil Nora Chopra
According to sources, senior Shiv Sena leaders, MLAs and MPs are meeting shortly to decide and chalk out the strategy for the coming Lok Sabha elections. The meeting is also expected to decide on the fate of the party’s support to the Maharashtra government as well as the Centre. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is talking to NCP chief Sharad Pawar to explore the possibility of forming a government in Maharashtra with outside support from Congress and form an alliance to fight the next general election in 2019. The party has all but decided to walk out of the alliance with the BJP.
CONGRESS RECONCILED TO REALITY IN RAJYA SABHA POLL
The Congress can hope to bag only a small limited number of seats in the forthcoming biennial election to 58 Rajya Sabha seats, but hectic lobbying has nevertheless begun in the party. The party has the strength to win one out of the five Rajya Sabha seats that will be vacant in Madhya Pradesh. The buzz is that the party may renominate Satyavrat Chaturvedi, who is retiring from MP. He apparently met Congress President Rahul Gandhi twice. Others names in discussion include that of Suresh Pachuri
MAMATA THREATENS STIR FOR SAFETY OF PEOPLE’S MONEY
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee never loses an opportunity to criticise the BJP and the central government. As soon as the Punjab National Bank fraud came to light, chief minister Mamata Banerjee launched a frontal attack on the BJP government, putting the entire blame on it. She has also been a bitter critic of demonetisation and GST. Mamata alleges that the government is protecting the senior management of the bank. She has even threatened to launch an agitation until the government gives assurances for the safety of common man’s money lying in their bank accounts. She also questioned the propriety of BJP inaugurating its five-star headquarters in Delhi when half of the country’s population is living in abject poverty.
NITISH SCOUTS FOR JAPANESE INVESTMENT
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar recently visited Japan to invite Japanese businessman to invest in Bihar and help in developing Bodh Gaya and other Buddhist religious places. He has proposed to start a train between Bodh Gaya and Nalanda. Nitish is not getting any extra funds from the Centre for the development of Bihar as he had imagined at the time of forging an alliance with the BJP. Secondly due to internal politics and pressures within the alliance, he could not organise any investment conference so far. Nitish Kumar’s dilemma is that Bihar continues to be underdeveloped with a large population and is facing a shortage of funds, which will make the next election a very difficult proposition.
RAJASTHAN BJP IN DIRE STRAITS
In the wake of the shocking reverses in the by-elections, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje is steadily losing the confidence of her party MLAs. In a meeting called by her in between the budget sessions, only less than 100 of the .160 party MLAs made it a point to attend despite her repeated warnings. After the meeting the MLAs were heard complaining that the government officers, including the local police personnel, were not listening to them; so they will face difficulty in going back to their voters. The state BJP leaders are trying hard to persuade the BJP MLAs to come together and work unitedly to prepare for the coming assembly elections, but the MLAs are not confident that the party can make it for another term under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje. (IPA)