By Rahil Nora Chopra
The run up to the three-phase assembly polls in Assam has been dominated by high-pitched campaigns by almost all senior BJP leaders led by Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and JP Nadda. The Congress, on the other hand, is relying on Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Bhupesh Baghel. Congress leaders say that both the Congress general secretary in-charge of Assam, Jitendra Singh, and Bhupesh Baghel have done a good job helping a deeply divided party mount a strong challenge. Baghel has held many small meetings, interactions and road shows to connect with the voters. Baghel makes it a point to tell voters that whatever the BJP is selling today was built by the Congress to counter the BJP’s claim that no development took place during the Congress rule. In days to come, Bhupesh Baghel will emerge as an integral part of the power centre in the Congress even if the party wins or loses the Assam assembly election.
PRIYANKA ACCUSES KERALA’S LDF OF ‘BORDERLINE FASCIST CULTURE’
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, during her tour of Kerala on Tuesday, has turned the pitch against CPM high, accusing it of a “borderline fascist culture”. Priyanka has alleged that the LDF in Kerala is similar to the BJP in governance style, condemning the Pinarayi Vijayan stint as a “government of fraud and scams”. This attack is despite the Congress-Left alliance in West Bengal, ground reports from Kerala suggested a much closer contest than predicted initially. Feedback from both Assam and Kerala indicate the Congress is very much in the race for power, compelling both Rahul and Priyanka to step up campaigning in both states. The irony is of course that immediately after polling in Kerala on April 6, the Congress top bosses will have to shift gears in Bengal, with its mind-boggling eight-phase elections, and will have to aim the allegations of misgovernance and corruption at the main challenger BJP as well as the ruling Trinamool Congress.
PAWAR WANTS TO RIDE OUT THE STORM OVER ANIL DESHMUKH
The confrontation between state home minister Anil Deshmukh and former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh has reinforced the impression that NCP chief Sharad Pawar rather than Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray calls the shot in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra. NCP ministers holding important portfolios including home and finance regularly take directions from Pawar. Sharad Pawar holds no official position but he virtually plays the insider and nothing major is decided without his prior accord. Now Pawar believes he can ride out the storm while Thackeray may be keen to move Anil Deshmukh from home.
FARMERS PLAN TO MARCH TO PARLIAMENT IN POST-ELECTION PROTEST
Thousands of farmers, who have been protesting against the central government’s three agriculture laws near Delhi borders for over four months, will march to Parliament in the first half of May, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmers unions that has been leading the agitation has announced. The SKM said protesters will come to the three main protests sites at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur in their vehicles to participate in the paidal (on foot) march to Parliament. The date for the event will be announced in the coming days. The farmers unions had intensify their agitation against the laws from April 1. They said they will block the KMP expressway for 24 hours on April 10. (IPA)