By Rahil Nora Chopra
The Congress party may announce its Delhi unit chief soon. The post of Delhi Congress president has been vacated since the death of Sheila Dikshit on July 20 this year. The absence of a Delhi Congress chief has impacted the Congress’s preparation for the assembly election that is due for early 2020. Three names are doing rounds in the Congress circle to head the Delhi unit of the party. These are Subhash Chopra, JP Agarwal and former BJP leader Kirti Azad. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had met a delegation of Delhi Congress in-charge, PC Chacko, but decision on the final name of the Delhi unit chief could not be made. The Delhi unit of the Congress is faction-ridden, with different groups competing with one another resulting in delay in the announcement of state president. In fact, factionalism is said to have improved the chance of Kirti Azad being named as Delhi Congress chief by the party high command. Kirti Azad joined the Congress in February this year ahead of the Lok Sabha election, which he contested from Dhanbad, losing to BJP candidate Pashupati Nath Singh by nearly 5 lakh votes. Former MP andformer Delhi Congress chief, JP Agarwal, is also in the race for the Delhi Congress chief’s post. Agarwal is close to Sonia Gandhi. He is also in the good books of the old guard of the Congress. He has a hold in the Baniya and Muslim communities. Subhash Chopra is also in the race for the Delhi Congress chief’s post. He belongs to the Punjabi community and he has won the assembly election for the first time in 1998, repeated his victory in 2003. He was the speaker of Delhi Assembly in 2003. He has held various posts in the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, including its president. There is another possibility in the Congress — a young leader should be given the reins of Delhi unit considering the rebuilding of the party required in Delhi.
WHY INDIA CHOSE MAHABALIPURAM FOR MODI-XI MEET
After the six-month search of the place for the informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mahabalipuram, now named Mamallapuram, was chosen. Initially, it was suggested that Varanasi, PM Modi’s constituency, would be the best venue, like the last year’s summit in Wuhan in China, but the Chinese vetoed Varanasi on the ground that the plane carrying Xi Jinping and his entourage would be too large for the small Varanasi airport. The fact that Japanese PM Shinzo Abe had already visited Varanasi might have been an additional negative factor. Secondly, Goa was suggested as a venue, which was ruled out because Xi Jinping had already visited the coastal resort at the BRICS Summit in 2016.Therefore, finally, the consensus was on Mahabalipuram. The other factor contributing to the choice was Mahabalipuram’s rich archaeological heritage and ancient trade links with China. Mahabalipuram’s ancient association with Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese Buddhist monk, and also the picturesque ancient port and temple town, made it an ideal choice.
AGE CAN’T WITHER, NOR POLITICS STALE SHARAD PAWAR
Assembly elections in Maharashtra will decide the fate of NCP’s future. An ageing Sharad Pawar wants to hand over the party to the younger generation. In the past, he had groomed his nephew Ajit Pawar, but the latter failed and went his own way. After that, he gave the responsibility to his daughter, Supriya Sule, to run the party, but she also could not carry out the task of running the party strongly. Now Pawaris depending on the grandson of his brother to carry forward the party legacy with fresh vigour. The problem this time has been created by the Enforcement Directorate, naming Sharad Pawar in a case of money-laundering scam of Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB).But Pawar acted sharply and declared that he would himself go to the Mumbai office of ED and also blamed BJP government in the state for vindictiveness. Pawar claimed that the ruling BJP is using the ED to weaken NCP during election time. Subsequently, the ED sent a message through Maharashtra police that they have not yet summoned Sharad Pawar, but would call if needed in future. Moreover, the rumour of a possible merger with Congress was spread, but immediately denied by Supriya Sule. Sharad Pawar launched his party in 1999 after leaving the Congress, and now his party is fighting the assembly election in Maharashtra in alliance with the Congress and other smaller parties. Sharad Pawar has also denied the rumour of his retirement from politics and claimed that the NCP-Congress alliance would win with the majority despite ED and other agencies being used by the BJP to defame him and other opposition leaders.
BJP-TMC WAR OF WORDS IN BENGAL IS AGAIN TINGED IN BLOOD
From the Lok Sabha elections onwards, BJP and TMC have been on warpath in West Bengal on one point to another. The target of both parties is to win the coming local bodies election and the 2021 assembly election of West Bengal. It is for the first time that both parties had targeted Durga Puja festivals to gain political mileage, with the BJP national president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurating a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata’s satellite township of Salt Lake. BJP workers and leaders have for the first time organized several Durga Pujas all across the state. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sanctioned government funds to the Durga Puja committees. With the Puja now over, both parties are now blaming each other for the murders of their workers. On October 8, primary school teacher Prakash Pal, his pregnant wife Beauty Pal and their son Angan were found murdered at his house in Murshidabad, a tragedy which was wrongly politicised by the BJP. The BJP state president Dilip Ghosh falsely claimed that Pal was associated with RSS and blamed TMC for the triple murder, while investigation found it to be a case of property dispute, corroborated by other family members. Also, another murder, that of a shopkeeper, Haralal Debnath Babu, has triggered blame game between BJP and TMC. Babu, a 52-year-old was reportedly killed in Ranaghat area of Nadia district of West Bengal. While the West Bengal police has denied any political angle in the killing, but BJP general secretary of West Bengal Subrata Chatterjee claimed he was killed by TMC members because he was a BJP worker. On the other hand, TMC has denied the allegation and party leader Tapas Ghosh has said that Debnath was in fact a TMC worker who was killed by BJP supporters. The war of rhetoric has been claiming lives in Bengal, with political violence refusing to show signs of decline.
THREE LALS OF HARYANA SEE FAMILY MEMBERS CONTEST POLLS
In the Haryana assembly election, it seems very interesting that the family members of Devi Lal, Bhajan Lal and Bansi Lal are fighting against BJP but not in a united manner. The three Lals had ruled Haryana for almost 30 years until 1990 when BJP’s rising fortunes bucked the trend. 10 members of the family of Devi Lal, Bajan Lal and Bansi Lal are contesting the election this time. All the three Lals has their share in the development of Haryana as people still say that Bhajan Lal had given government jobs to a member from almost every family. In the same way, people say that Haryana was quite barren before Bansi Lal provided the people of the state with water through two canals, making Haryana even better than Punjab in the agricultural sector. People of Haryana also claim that Devi Lal was popularly known as “Tau”, or Uncle in Haryanavi, and his work for farmers welfare and employment for all could not be forgotten. However, his children and grandchildren who are fighting the Assembly election this time have no such contribution, as they are depending on the names of their father and grandfather — goes the popular feeling. This time Bhajan Lal’s son Kuldeep Bishnoi is the Congress candidate from Adampur, but he is campaigning on his father Bhajan Lal’s name. In the same way, Ranbir Singh Mahendra is fighting from Badhra and campaigning on the name of his father, Bansi Lal. Mahendra is contesting election witha Congress ticket. Naina Chautala is also banking on her family legacy and Devi Lal’s work. Meanwhile, Chief Minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar is campaigning for his candidature cashing on the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir! (IPA)