Battle of the Gen Next
Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of DMK chief, M.K. Stalin is contesting his debut election during this round of Assembly polls. But his comments on the campaign ground evoked an interesting battle of the Gen Next. During his campaign, Udhay took on the BJP claiming that at least two BJP leaders, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj died due to “pressure” and “torture” by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the daughters of both these leaders hit back at him for spreading false propaganda. Both Bansuri Swaraj and Sonali Jaitley took on Stalin junior for his comments on social media and said that they had the full support of the Prime Minister who stood by them and their respective parents in the their darkest hour. This brings us to another question: will we see Sonali and Bansuri joining politics anytime soon?
Who will be BJP’s CM face in West Bengal?
There has been a lot of speculation as to who the BJP would project as its CM face should it win the West Bengal elections. While the names of Babul Supriyo, Locket Chatterjee and Swapan Dasgupta are doing the rounds, it seems as if the candidate who has the most heft is BJP state unit chief, Dilip Ghosh. Although a Lok Sabha MP like the other three, Ghosh is not contesting the state polls. However, he is on record to say that it’s not necessary that a sitting MLA would be the CM candidate if the party is in a position to form government. Ghosh began his political innings as an RSS pracharak and since this model of leadership is currently in vogue with the BJP there are those who claim that his candidature has a certain heft.
Politics of Letter Writing
Was Mamata Banerjee’s letter to Opposition leaders in the middle of the election campaign a cry for help or from a position of strength? There are those who see this as the former, since she reached out to Sonia Gandhi at a time when the Congress is contesting against her at the state level. But there are others who argue the latter also, pointing out that she raised some very pertinent issues in the letter—names the threat to India’s federal structure if the BJP juggernaut is not stopped. She spoke of what happened in Delhi and said that this fits into the BJP’s “double engine” campaign in West Bengal where it claims that it will be easy to govern a state if there is the same government at the state level as there is at the Centre. This pattern of One Nation One Government (read BJP) is something that should alarm other Opposition leaders as well such as Jaganmohan Reddy, Uddhav Thackeray, Naveen Patnaik etc., who Mamata reached out to. And of course she is looking for a larger role for herself, one that is beyond West Bengal. But this ambition comes with a postscript, for to be acceptable as a leader at the national level to take on the BJP, she has to first retain her home state.