By Rahil Nora Chopra
Although Rajasthan has a tradition of government change every five years, both BJP and Congress are weighing in the possibility of a hung assembly this time and the successful party bidding for power will probably have to take the help of .rebels and independents. Five ministers and at least a dozen sitting MLAs are fighting as rebels against BJP candidates. Similarly, in Congress, three rebels are fighting against the official candidates. In 1993 and 2008 Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Ashok Gehlot formed their respective governments with the help of rebels and independent MLAs.
ALL EYES ON TELANGANA CAMPAIGNING
With only hours to go for the December 7 assembly poll in Telangana, all the political parties are rushing their star campaigners to the state. Although BJP does not have a stake, the party is not taking it easy because if Congress-TDP alliance wins it will definitely boost opposition attempts to forge a national anti-BJP front. So, BJP is fielding many of its stalwarts for campaigning in this election, including UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Union minister Nitin Gadkari, Parshottam Rupala, Jual Oram and also chief minister Chattisgarh Raman Singh and Union minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a second rally at Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium in Hyderabad on December 3 and party president Amit Shah addressed several allies and road shows. Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed rallies at Gadwal and Tanbur while efforts are on to get UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to address a few meetings. Nandamuri Suhasini, a grand daughter of former chief minister N T Rama Rao, is contesting from a constituency in Hyderabad. Suhasini’s entry into the poll battle is a strategic move by TDP president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu just four days before closing of the nomination process in Telangana.
KUSHWAHA REMAINS IN A LIMBO
The last day of ultimatum given by RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha has ended on Saturday and neither BJP president Amit Shah nor Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given time to him for resolving the issue of ticket sharing in Bihar for the coming Lok Sabha elections. Kushwaha told media persons he does not know why Amit Shah or the Prime Minister has not given him time nor sent any communication. According to political observers, Upendra Kushwaha is waiting for the results of five state assemblies to leave the alliance.
UTTARAKHAND MUDDLE CONTINUES
Differences between Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and state BJP president Ajay Bhatt have come out in the open. Political observers say Ajay Bhatt himself wants to be the chief Minister as he is senior to Rawat and there is fight for filling the two vacant ministerial berths. The central leadership has called both Ajay Bhatt and Trivendra Singh Rawat to Delhi and told them to take the results of Local body elections seriously. The leadership wants to take action against the ministers where the party has lost, such as Madan Kaushik in Haridwar, Harak Singh Rawat in Kotdwar and Arvind Pandey in Gadarpur. Speculation is rife that these ministers may be dropped from the Cabinet. Ajay Bhatt and Rawat are also fighting on the issue of posting Rajiv Rautela as secretary to chief minister while he is holding the position as Commissioner in Kumaon region.
VARUN GANDHI CONSPICUOUS BY ABSENCE
BJP MP Varun Gandhi is nowhere to be seen in the current assembly polls. He has published a book on rural economics in which he has claimed that there were three times more suicides by farmers in 2015 compared to 2014. Varun Gandhi fought his first Lok Sabha election in 2009 from Pilibhit, the constituency of his mother. At that time he made a communal speech for which he was punished by Mayawati. The BJP leadership then wanted to use Varun Gandhi against the Nehru Gandhi family and wanted him to fight against Rahul Gandhi but he fought from Sultanpur and won. From that day, however, he was not given a chance to speak in Lok Sabha and has been sidelined in the party, with rumours floating around that he may join the Congress any time. (IPA)