Notice before you die
With the second surge of the pandemic hitting us most states have issued lockdown and curfew guidelines. Of course the fact that the Kumbh Mela was allowed to continue till almost the bitter end is another matter, as is the Election Commission’s refusal to club the remaining phases of the West Bengal election on one date so as to put an end to this super spreader event where rallies are attended by mask-less crowds and addressed by mask-less leaders on the dais. However, what took the cake was the Rajasthan government guidelines recently. One of these guidelines stated that in case of a cremation, a four-day notice has to be given to the SDM before permission will be granted. Make what you can of this, but it clearly shows that the pandemic management has been left to the red tapes of bureaucracy and the out-of-the box thinking that is needed to handle it is clearly missing.
Did RaGa get it right?
Did Rahul Gandhi get it right? He may not be able to get the same numbers as Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the campaign field but of late clips of Rahul Gandhi’s old tweets and sound bites have begun to do the rounds of WhatsApp and even Twitter where he is seen warning the BJP about not taking Covid lightly as early as February last year, his dire warnings about the state of the economy, India’s “nationalist” vaccine strategy and the threat from China. Of course, all this still may not get him the votes on ground, but it’s going a long way into rescuing his image from the Pappu-like caricature the BJP has set it up to be.
The Assam Verdict
The Congress is anticipating a win in Assam, or at best a hung verdict. The feedback from the ground has been that there has been an anti-CAA and NRC sentiment that went against the BJP. And the Congress had some smart alliances in place that helped it shore up the anti-BJP vote. Now the Congress has taken its MLA candidates to a resort in Rajasthan, however, there is one nagging concern. One of their allies, Badruddin Ajmal of the AIUDF has left his brother behind in Assam and this is worrying the Congress, for they know in case of a hung Assembly, the intrepid Himanta Biswa Sarma will move fast. In fact, if there is one person who can put together a government for the BJP in case of a hung Assembly it is Sarma.
Gubernatorial Sinecure for Ex CEC?
Is Sunil Arora tipped to be the next Governor of Goa? The former CEC who stepped down earlier this week did so amidst speculation that he would be given a gubernatorial sinecure. While official sources are yet to confirm this, there is a view that this could be a planted story to give buttress to the Congress charge that the Election Commission was following the government’s line in going in for a long eight-phase election in West Bengal, for not pulling up BJP leaders for some of their polarizing comments, etc. In fact, Rahul Gandhi had even tweeted Election “Commission” of India, playing on the word commission. As an aside, given the rise of Covid cases, perhaps there is a genuine case for clubbing the remaining phases into one phase and ending this super-spreader event sooner than later.