Piloting Early Polls?
Sachin Pilot hosted his annual “Kissan Lunch” in the capital this week, inviting journalists over for makki ki roti, sarson ka saag and lots of banter. The Rajasthan PCC chief was in an upbeat mood after the recent state bypoll results in favour of the Congress, though he was the first to caution that this should not mark the beginning of complacency within the Congress because the larger battle was still to be fought. However, even he sported a rare smile when asked if he had single-handedly pushed the case for early Lok Sabha polls, for conventional wisdom has it that the BJP would club the elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh along with the general elections if they felt the mood in the three states was going against the party. The idea then was to drown the anti-incumbancy at the state level in a pro Modi wave at the national level.
Distrusting the Media
Is the role of a media advisor fast becoming redundant? Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi don’t have one. In the age of twitter and instant communications, it can be argued that the role of a personal media advisor is fast becoming redundant; for individual messaging by either is done directly through social media. For the official party/government line, there are the party communication cells and the government’s PIB machinery. But what is also interesting is that the one thing that both the PM and the Congress president share is a distrust of the media. Both, ironically enough, feel that the media is biased against them—which, of course, is one reason why both prefer to send out their outreach directly to the public via social media.
Allies’ Trouble for the BJP
It’s not just the Shiv Sena that has announced a parting of ways with the BJP in 2019. Even the TDP seems to be undergoing a rethink, with most of its MPs joining hands with the Congress to shout slogans in Parliament against the government. In fact, when asked if they had a meeting with the PM, a TDP MP quipped that instead, he had a date with Gandhi-ji—he was referring to the Gandhi statue in Parliament which is the meeting point for all protests. Which of course leaves the Akali Dal and recently in an interview to the wire.in, Naresh Gujral cautioned the BJP to be more “diplomatic” in the handling of the allies, stating that if the BJP wants a coalition in the future they should not ride roughshod over the interests of the allies. Given Gujral’s proximity to Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal, this could be the third warning sign for the BJP from yet another ally.