BJP’s Shatru may Join Congress
Rebel BJP Lok Sabha member and actor Shatrughan Sinha is likely to join the Congress, reliable sources close to the actor told The Sunday Guardian. He was wavering between Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress and even went to meet Lalu in the Ranchi jail where former Bihar Chief Minister is lodged.
Sources said that Lalu asked him not to join the Congress and invited him to join the RJD. Sinha, however, told a trusted friend later that he would rather associate himself with the Congress as it had a national presence.
This writer had hinted in this column in December, without naming Sinha, that a popular BJP MP was planning to join the Congress on 9 December, the birthday of the actor as well as of Sonia Gandhi. But somehow the plan did not work out.
It’s also clear that Sinha will not change his constituency whatever may be the situation. He will contest again from Patna Sahib from where the BJP’s Sushil Modi is expected to fight.
Priyanka won’t contest LS
The Congress’ first list of names to contest the Lok Sabha elections did not include that of Priayank Vadra, who was expected to contest from Rae Bareli in place of her mother. But Sonia Gandhi is contesting once again, from Rae Bareli. Highly placed sources in Congress tell The Sunday Guardian that Priyanka will not contest the elections this time and will concentrate on Rae Bareli and Amethi constituencies.
Of course BJP is going all guns blazing in Amethi this time. The party has decided to field Smriti Irani once again against Rahul. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally in Amethi and inaugurated a manufacturing unit for AK-203 rifles and announced several development projects.
The Congress declared the names of 11 candidates in UP at a time when other opposition parties are urging it to tie up with the Samajwadi Party and the BSP who have struck their own alliance. The BSP-SP left only Rae Bareli and Amethi for the Congress. The list is being seen as Congress attempt to put pressure on the BSP and SP to give it more space; otherwise it is ready to go it alone in the entire state. Such a move can affect the SP-BSP alliance’s electoral prospects.
‘What is EC waiting for?’
Congress leader Ahmed Patel raised questions on the Election Commission delaying the announcement of election dates and asked whether it was waiting for the Prime Minister’s “official” travel programme “to conclude”.
Patel also accused the poll body of giving a long rope to the government to campaign at the cost of the state exchequer. “Is the Election Commission waiting for the Prime Minister’s official travel programme to conclude before announcing dates for general elections?”
“Using government functions as an excuse for political rallies, flooding TV/radio and print with political ads. It is seems that EC is giving the government a long rope to campaign till the last moment using public money,” he said on Twitter. Last time, the dates for Lok Sabha polls were announced in the first week of March.
India-Pak tension in wrestling
The United World Wrestling (UWW) has asked all the national federations under it to stop communication with the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) in the wake of visa denial to Pakistani shooters in the recent World Cup.
It remains to be seen to what extent the UWW directive affects Indian wrestlers. At the just-concluded Dan Kolov event in Bulgaria, Indian wrestlers put up an impressive show by winning two gold and two silver medals. Bajrang Punia and Pooja Dhanda won gold while Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat settled for silver medals.
Meanwhile, India-Pakistan tensions continued to play out on social media. In a tweet, industrialist Harsh Goenka, RPG Enterprises chairman, posted a morphed video of a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) bout between two players with superimposed faces of PM Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan. The morphed image showed Modi beating Khan.
The wrestler with superimposed picture of Modi is later shown holding up the WWE belt.