Was the BJP right in not expressing too much sympathy for Mamata Banerjee’s injuries last week? There is a school of thought that believes that the politically correct outreach would have been to express sympathy, perhaps even a phone call or tweet from the Prime Minister himself. For don’t forget that while Narendra Modi remains the BJP’s star campaigner, he is also the country’s Prime Minister, a country where his political foe Mamata Banerjee is also the (currently) sole woman Chief Minister. So then why did the PM, who has mastered the art of the right message, not reach out? Unless it was because he felt that reaching out to a party leader whose workers have been involved in such bitter clashes with the BJP workers may not send the right message to the cadre. But then he is wearing a dual hat here.
The Me Too Game
What is AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal planning with this game of competitive nationalism? That he calls it “kattar (strident) nationalism” makes it clear that he is ready to take on the BJP, chest beat for chest beat. The Delhi budget talks of putting up Tricolours all over the national capital (thanks to Navin Jindal’s PIL, Delhites are already wearing this badge of honour with pride whereever they can), Sainik schools, free rides to Ayodhya for the elderly and so on. This is the BJP way. At a time when the Congress is (once again) rethinking its soft Hindutva tourism, the Aam Admi Party has jumped on to the bandwagon. And there seems to be a plan here. The surprise win in Surat recently has given Kejriwal’s expansionist dreams some fodder. He is now talking about contesting the next Uttar Pradesh elections as well (another reason for those free rides to Ayodhya in case you missed the point). Well, when there is a vacuum in the Opposition space why shouldn’t ambitious leaders like Kejriwal give it a shot? And if Surat is any indication there is (finally) some space for him outside Delhi.
The Congress Civil War
A not so civil message was sent to the G23 dissenters when the party announced its star campaigner list for West Bengal, leaving out names such as Ghulam Nabi Azad and Raj Babbar, who had earlier made it to this list. This at a time when Congress spokespersons questioned the G23 for the Jammu meet, stating that the leaders would be better off campaigning for the party than criticising it. In fact this was one of the criticisms of the G23 post Bihar polls that even someone like Kapil Sibal, who got a Rajya Sabha from Bihar, did not go and campaign during the polls. But now the message seems to be that the services of the G23 are not needed for the current poll season. Wonder if Shashi Tharoor (who is also part of the letter writing camp) will be included in the list of Star Campaigners for Kerala or not. If not then that would be a grave loss for he is one leader who has a star appeal in the state. Rahul Gandhi has made it to the list of star campaigners, no surprises there, but will he be campaigning in West Bengal? If so, how will he balance his Kerala campaign with the one in West Bengal? The former Congress president has been leading the Kerala campaign from the front, where he takes on the Left. And in West Bengal the Congress is in alliance with the CPM.