BJP banks on anti-incumbency in Assam
The BJP is hoping that the anti-incumbency against the Tarun Gogoi government in Assam will work in its favour in the Assembly elections next month. However, the Congress is claiming that the Ahom vote in Dibrugarh, Upper Assam and Lakhimpur has shifted in its favour after BJP’s attack on Gogoi, who is an Ahom. The Ahoms constitute 26% of the 40 seats of Upper Assam, a traditional Congress bastion. In contrast, Sarbananda Sonowal, the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, belongs to a tribe which does not have much presence in the state. Tea garden workers, who constitute an important vote bank along with Ahoms and Muslims, too are unhappy with the Central government for non realisation of two key poll promises: Rs 300 daily wages and free health benefits.
Ashwani RS bid may fall flat
Former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, who is lobbying for his renomination to the Rajya Sabha, is being accused by Congress leaders of turning a blind eye when Subramanian Swamy filed in court the National Herald case, which has now come to haunt the Gandhis. Though the hearing regarding the coal scam case involving then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also came up during Kumar’s tenure, the PM was saved from the embarrassment of personally appearing in court, unlike Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
Congress may lose MLAs in Uttarakhand
The Congress in Uttarakhand may soon see an exodus of five sitting MLAs, including two ministers and one ex-MLA. All are planning to join the BJP and are in touch with Union Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, who was in the Congress earlier. If these MLAs quit the Congress, the Harish Rawat government in Uttarakhand, which has 37 MLAs in a House of 70, will lose its majority. The MLAs are upset with Rawat for promoting the interests of his own family and confidants. Rawat’s daughter is a general secretary in the All India Mahila Congress; his son is general secretary in the Pradesh Congress Committee; and even his son’s father-in-law is a general secretary. Chaudhary Birender Singh is also “working on” Congress MLAs in Rajasthan.
Kishor wants U.P. leader as AICC general secretary
Prashant Kishor, who has been appointed by Rahul Gandhi as a political strategist for the Uttar Pradesh elections, has spent around a month travelling through the state. Rahul had given him 20 names of senior leaders to assess their popularity among the masses and party workers. Kishor has told Rahul that Congress needs strong caste leaders as the PCC chief and AICC general secretary in charge of the state, besides projecting Priyanka Vadra as the chief ministerial candidate. Among the names he has given to Rahul are Sanjay Singh, a Thakur, and Jitin Prasada, Pramod Tiwari and Rita Bahuguna Joshi, all Brahmins. Kishor has told Rahul that only Priyanka can take on Mayawati and the BJP. He has also suggested that if the high command appoints an upper caste leader like Sanjay Singh or Jitin Prasada as PCC chief, then a Muslim should be made the AICC general secretary, or vice versa. Kishor, however, has vetoed the idea of having either Salman Khurshid or Digvijaya Singh as the general secretary. His survey has revealed that Khurshid is “arrogant and unpopular”. Kishor wants some UP leader for the post, although the Congress’ tradition has been not to have the general secretary in-charge from the same state.
‘Jagan backing Kapu violence’
YSR Congress president, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy is being accused of supporting the recent violent agitation by the Kapu community in Andhra Pradesh to create a gulf between the Kapus and the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP). It seems that the violence had greater participation from the YSR workers comprising Reddys and Kammas than Kapus.
Maran brothers’ fate uncertain
The BJP is finding it difficult to find an alliance partner for the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, as a result of which the fate of the Maran brothers, Dayanidhi and Kalanidhi, is now uncertain, mired as they are in several cases. The BJP was “banking” on the Marans for an alliance with the DMK. But the DMK has gone with the Congress. The possibility of the Vijayakanth-led DMDK going with the DMK has left the BJP worried. AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa is anyway confident of sweeping the polls on her own. Vaiko’s MDMK has struck an alliance with the Left parties and the Dalit Panthers. Anbumani Ramadoss’ PMK has decided to go it alone.