By Rahil Nora Chopra
Congress wants to make it a repeat of Gujarat in Karnataka in terms of election campaigning. This will mean that more of the soft Hindutva card will be flaunted, as the party believes it worked in Gujarat. As such, Rahul Gandhi’s campaign tour, beginning in May 2018, will include numerous shrines and religious places. Like in Gujarat, the campaign issues will be dominated by rising unemployment, GST and the slow GDP growth numbers, targetting the BJP, while the development work done by Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will also be highlighted. Congress strategists discovered that out of the 27 temple visits Rahul Gandhi made in Gujarat during the elections, the party won 14 Assembly constituencies in which these were located.
CPI-M TUSSLE OVER RAJYA SABHA SEAT CONTINUES
JD(U) Rajya Sabha Member MP Veerendra Kumar’s resignation from the upper house has put a section of CPI(M) leadership in dilemma. With a by-election on the cards to fill the vacancy, the clash between former General Secretary Prakash Karat and incumbent General Secretary Sitaram Yechury is engaging attention in political circles. While Yechury wants to go to Rajya Sabha for a third term, the Karat camp is opposed to the idea. Meanwhile, another angle has been added to the twist as Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wants to send his own man to Rajya Sabha as the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front enjoys a clear majority in the Kerala Assembly.
BIHAR YATRA TO RE-UNITE CONGRESSMEN
Bihar Congress is planning to organise an Aamantran Yatra led by state Congress chief Kaukab Qadri starting on 17 January. The yatra will be in five phases covering the entire state, beginning from Motihari. The rally seeks to bring back all congressmen who have left the party by winning them over again. Some top names, such as Jitan Ram Manjhi, are being mentioned as having given the signal to re-join the party during the yatra.
HARYANA POLITICS BEGINS TO BOIL WITH INFIGHTING
Both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress parties are facing infighting in Haryana. The Congress high command is apparently unhappy with the working style of Ashok Tanwar and Bhupinder Singh Hooda and the buzz is that party president Rahul Gandhi wants a change in the PCC leadership, with the names of Selja Kumari and Kuldeep Bishnoi being mentioned as the favourites. Hooda is said to be courting BJP MPs, such as Rao inderjit Singh, Chaudhary Birender Singh, Dharambir and others to come out and form a new party before the Assembly election.
BABA RAMDEV FOR LOK SABHA?
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s name is being thrown up as a probable candidate for the Alwar Lok Sabha by-election, the date of which has been notified by the Election Commission. Bypolls to two Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan, the other one being Ajmer, fell vacant following the demise of the sitting members. The other names under discussion include Baba Balak Nath and Jaswant Singh Yadav. But for the Ajmer seat, chief minister Vasundhra Raje is known to be in favour of fielding a member of the family of the deceased MP to capitalise on a possible sympathy wave. Congress has already declared candidate Karan Singh Yadav as the candidate for Alwar. The high Command had approached PCC chief Sachin Pilot to fight from the Ajmer seat, but he is understood to have expressed his disinclination as it could affect his stakes as the possible chief ministerial candidate. The names doing the rounds include Sachin’s mother Rama Pilot. The Beirojgar Sanghthan has announced plans to field their own candidates in both by-elections. (IPA)