By Rahil Nora Chopra
Although Amit Shah declared after the dinner diplomacy with Nitish Kumar in Patna last week that the two parties will fight the coming Lok Sabha election jointly and win all the 40 Lok Sabha seats, the JD(U) leaders are still not confident of getting 25 seats from BJP as the party has to accommodate Ram Vilas Paswan and Upendra Kushwaha parties. As such, Nitish Babu is said to be keeping his options open for an alliance with RJD-Congress combine as well. If BJP fails to give the promised 25 seats, he might just switch sides and go with RJD-Congress. Nitish Kumar’s campaign strategist Prashant Kishore is believed to be negotiating with the RJD-Congress alliance. But Lalu Prasad’s son Tejaswi Yadav is opposing Nitish Kumar’s entry.
DIPLOMATS LOOK FOR CLUES AS SEOUL EMBRACES MODI
South Korea is obviously putting great faith on Narendra Modi coming back to power in 2019. The world’s biggest factory of Samsung mobile hardware on 35 acres in Noida is taken to be an indication of how South Korea is giving a fond bear hug to the Modi government in an election year. Consider also the fact that President Moon Jae-in has invited PM Modi to Seoul in 2020. Not everyone is as confident though. Many of the envoys residing on the two sides of Shanti Path have been holding lunches for small groups, particularly political commentators, to figure out which way the wind is blowing. One of the envoys quipped it’s better to read the tea leaves in advance. Another diplomat of an EU-member country was particularly worried about the destiny of defence deals, whether those would go into deep freeze in case there’s a change of guard. The curiosity also transcends to Rahul Gandhi and his future plans
BIG RUSH FOR RAJASTHAN CONGRESS TICKETS
After the by-election results and keeping the trend of opposition party coming to power alternately in Rajasthan assembly elections in view, the chances of Congress winning is considered to be greater this time, which is manifested by the demand for Congress tickets in every seat. State party president Sachin Pilot has started “Booth Mera Gourav” programme in every assembly segment, in which Ashok Gehlot and other central office bearers are participating. The rush of ticket aspirants is often accompanied by open infighting between party workers. At some places the workers are seen wearing T-shirt with the names of their candidates. Pilot started this programme to give a chance to ticket seekers to show their strength. And the BJP seems to be worried about the enthusiastic response to the campaign.
UTTARAKHAND INFIGHTING BACK WITH A BANG
Although the infighting in the Uttarakhand BJP seemed to subside with the visit of Amit Shah, the problem is cropping up again. BJP MLA from Hardwar Swami Yatiswarananda and Sanjay Gupta have opened a Morcha against Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and his cabinet. BJP state president Ajay Bhatt has issued a show cause notice to Sanjay Gupta why action should not be taken against him. He has been given 10 days to respond. According to Sanjay Gupta, the chief minister and his cabinet ministers had time to attend former MLA Mohammed Shahzad son’s marriage but had no time to visit the International Arya Samaj Samelan organised in Gurukul Kangri University. There has been much bad blood between former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, now MP from Hardwar, and cabinet minister Madan Kaushik from Hardwar over the event. Both Swami Yatiswarananda and Sanjay Gupta are followers of Nishank and they met to discuss the strategy in an ashram. According to these MLAs, the chief minister also found time to join former chief minister Harish Rawat’s mango party but had no time to spare for the party MLAs.
BABBAR TO STAY UPCC CHIEF
After so much speculation about the impending change of Uttar Pradesh Congress leadership, the high command seems to have finally settled for Raj Babbar to continue till the Lok Sabha Election in 2019. In fact, Raj Babbar along with Ghulam Nabi Azad is expected to soon bring changes in the city and District Congress Committees. Half of the district and city Congress committees are in control of the same person for the last four years. The high command has instructed the state leadership to replace these persons and also include persons who have joined Congress on the initiative of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The high command is also keen to see Youth Congress and NSUI workers included in the new set-up and also said to be preparing a list of three aspirants for each parliamentary seat. (IPA)