‘What is Balakot?’

Actor Sunny Deol, BJP candidate from Gurdaspur apparently does not know what the Balakot airstrike is about. A viral video clip of him shows him tell him the reporter, who had asked him about the Balakot airstrike, “Kya strike, kaunsee strike? Mujhe yeh sab kuch pata nahi hai. Mujhe to bas chunav jeetna hai (What strike? Which strike? I am not aware of all this. I am here just to win the election).”

Sunny’s Congress rival Sunil Jakhar described actor-turned-politician’s ignorance about the Balakot air strike as “shocking and outrageous.”

Delhi votes today

Delhi will vote today to choose seven Lok Sabha candidates. It is a tough triangular fight between the BJP, Congress and the Aam Admi Party. Prime Minister Narendra Modi warmed up the poll campaign with a big rally at Ramlila Maidan on Wednesday, his first in the national capital this election season.

With bhangra performances and street-plays, the area outside the venue wore a festive look. One must say that Modi is like a rock star, having a huge following. Chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, many at the rally said Modi’s arrival was akin to “Lord Ram visiting”. With huge support from the national BJP, the Delhi unit made it a successful show. Sources told The Sunday Guardian that the BJP’s central organisation provided about Rs 50,000 to the head of each of the city party’s 273 mandals for serving water, tea and snacks to workers coming for the rally. Over 5,000 buses were provided to the mandals for ferrying the party workers to Ramlila Maidan.

Rabindra Sangeet in Gujarati

On the 158th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, a Trinamool Congress councillor reached out to the Gujarati voters of Kolkata’s Bhowanipore area by singing Rabindra Sangeet in Gujarati. Ashim Kumar Basu was trying to woo the Gujarati voters in this South Kolkata Lok Sabha seat for party candidate Mala Roy. Basu, councillor of Ward 70, was campaigning for the TMC when he started singing in Gujarati to the assembled crowd. “I was just conveying the message of Tagore. We all should be united. There should be no bloodshed as we all are one. I am a Bengali but I do feel from my heart that I am also a Gujarati,” Basu said.

Mala Roy is pitted against CPM leader Nandini Mukherjee, Congress’ Mita Chakraborty and BJP’s Chandra Kumar Bose. Kolkata South votes on 19 May.

‘Unhealthy trends in politics’

BJP veteran Shanta Kumar is upset with the kind of language used by politicians cutting across party lines in this election season. He said, “The word neta is no longer considered respectable.” Kumar narrated to The Sunday Guardian a meeting he had with Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. “I was the Chief Minister. I went to meet Rao Saheb along with the then Union Power Minister to raise the issue of royalty in hydro power. When I said though I am from the Opposition party but this is our state’s demand, the PM said, ‘Don’t say that. A party has a government but the government has no party’.” Similarly, the two-time CM said, the BJP’s first PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was magnanimous in appreciating any good gesture by Opposition leaders.

The culture of changing parties and loyalties has disturbed Kumar. He says it is “not a healthy trend”.

KCR hits a roadblock in Chennai

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is trying to activate a “federal front” of non-BJP and non-Congress parties in case the BJP fails to come to power at the Centre. But he has hit a roadblock in Chennai with his proposed meeting with DMK president M.K. Stalin unlikely to take place on 13 May.

KCR’s daughter and Nizamabad MP, K. Kavitha has said that there was no confirmation of the meeting. Sources close to KCR say that Stalin has gone back on his proposal to meet the Telangana CM on the plea that he was busy campaigning for the 19 May byelections for four Tamil Nadu Assembly constituencies. Apparently, Stalin does not want to send a wrong message to the Congress with which his party has a pre-poll alliance.


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