Early Lok Sabha Polls?
After the Prime Minister’s recent bout of interviews where he pitched for simultaneous elections, there is a buzz in the capital as to whether the Lok Sabha elections due in 2019 will be brought forward. One set of speculation has the PM advancing the polls to end 2018 to coincide with the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh elections due then. This, say the pundits, will also help to distract from any anti-incumbency in these BJP ruled states. Another view—which is being talked about because it has been propounded by Rajesh Jain who was one of the key players of Modi’s social media team in 2014—has the Prime Minister advancing both the Lok Sabha polls and the three Assembly elections to March-April 2018, along with the Karnataka state polls due around then. Jain explains his theory claiming that apart from the element of surprise, which would catch the not-yet united Opposition off guard, the PM also has to worry about an unpredictable monsoon, plus the lack of funds to undertake major structural reforms. According to him, the best option would be to go in for a please all budget—which would then be treated as an election manifesto—and then announce the elections. Of course, being Modi no one quite knows what’s in his mind, and some who know him say he would not like to miss even one day of his tenure by calling an early election. But if there is one thing the people of India have learnt about our PM, it is to expect the unexpected.
What next for Jay Panda?
The high profile BJD MP Jay Panda has recently been suspended from his party. This was a confrontation that was on the cards, with various factions of the BJD attributing various motives to his suspension. Panda has tweeted that the action was taken against him because he took on an IAS officer who is now controlling the party. Speculation is on as to Panda’s next step—whether he will float his own party, or join the BJP. Because as someone once quipped, his initials certainly stand for BJP (BaiJayant Panda). He has also been very supportive of the PM’s policies—from demonetisation to GST—as has been pointed out by his detractors within the BJD. So, will the initials make the man?
Finally nearly three weeks after his name was announced by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the state of Uttar Pradesh got its new DGP, O.P. Singh. The delay in his taking office may have been because of the uneasy equation between Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the UP CM. O.P. Singh was serving as the DG CISF and it took a while before he was released to go to UP. In the meantime, the tenure of his predecessor Sulkhan Singh as the chief of UP police ended on 31 December.