RAJYA SABHA HEARTBURN
Apart from the 58 Rajya Sabha seats that are coming up for election mid-March, what has escaped most is that apart from these, four of the seats in the nominated category are also falling vacant soon after that. Sachin Tendulkar, Rekha and Anu Agha are set to retire on 28 April 2018, while K. Parasaran will retire on 28 June. These seats, though nominated by the President of India, are traditionally given to those candidates suggested by the government of the day. Lobbying for these has already begun, especially among some senior editors known to be close to the BJP top brass.
The second half of the Budget session of Parliament is set for a stormy start, with the Congress all set to raise Chhota Modi (that’s their name for Nirav Modi). To counter that, the BJP plans to target them with Chhota Chidambaram (Karti Chidambaram’s arrest). The question concerning the Indian public, however, is that amidst all this “small” talk, will the badi baat (larger picture) be lost and very little will be achieved in terms of legislative work.
NSUI GROWS UP
For the first time the Congress is using the NSUI machinery as part of its structured campaign. Earlier, the youth wings of the party used to work in silos, but now that the Congress general secretary in charge of the frontal organisations is the same person as the Congress president, there is synergy between the two. The NSUI has kick-started a series of town-hall-style meetings across Karnataka so that college students can directly interact with Congress leaders and raise issues that concern them. Clearly, the Congress is learning fast that lack of communication has been one of its biggest electoral hurdles so far and is trying to reach out to all sections, especially the young voter. The NSUI leadership is clearly excited at this chance of being allowed to play with the grown-ups, so to speak.