Rahul travelled 3,468 km in UP

Rahul Gandhi covered 3,468 km in 30 days in Uttar Pradesh during his kisan yatra. His rally started from Deoria in eastern UP and concluded at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi this week. In this one month, he addressed around 700 meetings and travelled through141 Assembly constituencies, conducted 26 road shows and 26 khat sabhas. In this time, he got around 2 crore applications from people from various walks of life, nearly 1 crore of which were from farmers. At a speech in Ghaziabad before reaching Delhi, Rahul mentioned the names of Ghulam Nabi Azad and Raj Babbar. In fact both of them addressed the meeting before him. Congress’ chief ministerial candidate, Sheila Dikshit was present on the dais but no one asked her to speak. And since no Congress meeting is ever complete without a fight, there was a bout of fisticuffs as well, this time between the followers of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ashok Tanwar and his men. Tanwar had put up a huge banner, which Hooda supporters tried to cover with a piece of cloth. When Tanwar and his men objected, a fight broke out. It seems Tanwar got so badly beaten that he had to be admitted to RML hospital.

TMC wants to go national

A race of sorts has begun in the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal over who can split other parties and bring in a substantial number of members. Mukul Roy, who returned to the party before the Assembly elections, is taking the lead in this to prove his loyalty. He started by breaking Congress and CPM in Tripura and has now moved to Jharkhand, Assam and Odisha. The aim is to increase Trinamool’s base so that it can win a sufficient number votes in the future to be designated a national party. Mukul Roy is of the opinion that they should field candidates even in states such as Uttar Pradesh and Punjab that are going to the polls early next year. Giving Mukul stiff competition are Abhishek Banerjee and Shubhendu Adhikari in getting CPM members into the Trinamool. The Trinamool does not want any opposition in Bengal ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 

‘Sadhna is to blame’

Akhilesh Yadav’s supporters are blaming his stepmother Sadhna Gupta for the acrimony between the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and his father, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. They are alleging that Gupta is behind all the trouble in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family. If they are to be believed, Gupta wants her son with Mulayam, Prateek to be Chief Minister and is talking against Akhilesh to his father. However, aware of Akhilesh’s popularity and scared that any such hurried move could boomerang, she is openly backing Mulayam’s brother Shivpal and son Aditya for the time being. Both Sadhna and Shivpal are putting Aditya in the limelight as a challenger to Akhilesh. Aditya has already started looking after his father’s work. Shivpal is grooming him for the future. 

Sheila not keen

Sheila Dikshit, Congress’ chief ministerial candidate for Uttar Pradesh elections is unwilling to contest, in spite of pressure on the contrary from the party’s rank and file. She is yet to decide on a safe constituency from where she wants to fight the Assembly elections. Some of the constituencies she has identified are Sahibabad, Kanpur, Noida, Allahabad city, Bakshi Ka Talab in Lucknow and Varanasi Cantonment. Jitin Prasada has offered her the Brahmin and Muslim dominated seat of Maholi in Sitapur district. It is supposed to be the safest seat for her, but she is more interested in the Sahibabad seat. Of course, she would like it best if she is not made to contest.

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