Mulayam is at home

Where has Mulayam Singh Yadav disappeared? Sources close to the Samajwadi Party reveal that he is being made to stay at home. Apparently, this was the deal between the two archrivals, Akhilesh Yadav and his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav, the wife of Mulayam’s second son Prateek. It was this that got Aparna Yadav the ticket to fight the election from Lucknow Cantonment. Akhilesh does not want his father to say anything against him in public. Mulayam, naturally, is angry. Amar Singh too has disappeared apparently to London, to get treated for his bad health.

Shivpal wants revenge

Shivpal Yadav, who has been sidelined by his nephew Akhilesh in Uttar Pradesh, has vowed to take revenge on the latter. Shivpal can damage the SP’s electoral prospects. He has got a ticket to fight the elections, but not his son or many of his followers. He has struck a deal with Mayawati and is sending all his followers and friends to the BSP, including Ambika Choudhury and Mukhtar Ansari. The Ansari factor will help Maya consolidate the Muslim votes. If the SP fails to get a majority, Shivpal can even walk off with a chunk of party cadre and join the BSP. 

‘Hung likely in UP’

No party is likely to get a clear majority in Uttar Pradesh, if the internal surveys of both the BJP and Congress are to be believed. The BJP has failed to name a CM candidate, which will hurt its prospects. The Brahmins are not happy with BJP as under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the party is focusing on OBCs and Dalits. The BJP rank and file is upset over the party giving tickets to outsiders. The coming together of the Samajwadi and Congress has given some boost to the SP, but it is still not seen as getting a majority. The Yadav family feud has taken its toll. In western UP, the SP is unlikely to get the votes of Muslims, who form 25% of the population in the region. The absence of SP’s core Yadav voters in between Saharanpur and Agra will hurt its chances. In west UP, the BSP is expected to sweep the polls with 19% Dalits and 25% Muslims. Ajit Singh’s RLD, a Jat party, is likely to get 12 to 14 seats from this region. Akhilesh Yadav’s decision not to join hands with the RLD has made the fight in this belt four-cornered. The BJP is now likely to come second here after BSP, RLD third and SP-Congress fourth. If political analysts are to be believed, BSP is the frontrunner in west UP, SP will do well in central UP, while BJP will do well in east UP.  

Congress should worry

An over-confident Congress in Punjab should be worried. The Aam Aadmi Party is back in the race. The poor and the Dalits are supporting Arvind Kejriwal. Even in the Badals’ village, every second home has the AAP flag flying. It is for this reason that Rahul Gandhi was forced to project Captain Amarinder Singh as the Chief Ministerial candidate. 

Priyanka may be gen-sec

Priyanka Vadra, who has emerged as a major player in the Congress, is tipped to be party general secretary after the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. She has been playing a backroom role for quite some time, but came to the forefront as her mother took a back seat and as Rahul needed help. Apparently, she got certain internal surveys done, which said that the Congress should not go to the polls alone. It was after this that she got involved in trying to strike an alliance with the Samajwadi Party. She will be monitoring the polls in UP, but not campaign extensively, lest she be blamed if the Congress puts up a poor show. 

Verma has a clean slate

The appointment of Delhi police commissioner, Alok Verma as CBI director came as a surprise to political circles. Verma’s name was proposed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh right at the beginning, but there were reports that Gujarat cadre officer Rakesh Asthana, who was made the interim director, was the frontrunner. But since Asthana’s name triggered a hue and cry, Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to go for a neutral officer. The thinking is that Verma has not worked in the CBI, so he will not have any baggage. Meanwhile, the case against former CBI director Ranjit Sinha has been reopened, much to the shock of his many admirers.