Bring it on, trolls
Clearly anticipating the social media reaction to his conversation with economist Kaushik Basu, the former Congress president had a message for his critics: Bring it on Trolls, he said! This was in response to Basu commenting that they had quite a meaningful conversation, to which Rahul replied that the media would not see it that way and would find some headline that twists his words. Clearly, this message was aimed at both the “Godi Media” (a term used for those who parrot the government’s line without questioning them) and for the right wing trolls. This is not the first time Rahul has been critical of the one sided coverage by the media, for while interacting with journalists he is often seen chiding them for not taking on the government and has talked about the “undeclared Emergency” that he feels is muzzling free speech in today’s India. Well, if nothing else that comment certainly caught the eyeballs.
The curious candidature
So now it seems as if Himanta Biswa Sarma will be contesting the Assam state polls. If you recall earlier this year Sarma had stated that he would not be contesting the state polls though he would be campaigning for the party. This had also triggered speculation of his joining the Narendra Modi cabinet at the Centre. But now it has been announced that he will indeed be contesting from his old seat at Jalukbari; and that too not as the CM candidate, for Sarbananda Sonowal remains the frontrunner for the Chief Minister’s post. This is the second snub that has been delivered to Sarma, for in 2019 he had expressed a desire to contest the Lok Sabha but that was denied to him. And now, once again, he has been told to stay back in the state. Which brings us to the crucial question: Why is the BJP leadership snubbing the two leaders who have worked hard at delivering the Northeast for the saffron camp? First Ram Madhav, the general secretary in charge of Northeast was dropped as general secretary and now a message has been delivered to Sarma.
Celebration in the time of COVID
Recently there was some reason to cheer for the Punjab Chief Minister, as his granddaughter, Seharinder Kaur got married to Aditya Narang, the son of a Delhi-based businessman, Devin Narang. The wedding was a high profile one that saw the Captain singing the Punjabi song Suhaag and another former CM Farooq Abdullah dancing to the tune of Tere Mere Pyaar Ke Charche. While the wedding was in Punjab the reception will be in Delhi.
Can Baghel win Assam for Congress?
It’s interesting that the Congress party’s best bet for winning Assam is its election observer and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, who is providing a hands-on direction to the party’s campaign. After Tarun Gogoi’s demise the state lacks a tall leader as the face of its campaign. However, it has made some smart alliances in the state and there is anger against the BJP for not keeping its promise to the tribals as well as for bringing in the CAA and the NRC. And Baghel is implementing the Chhattisgarh model in Assam that helped him wrest his own state in 2018 away from the popular Raman Singh government. Earlier this year, a team from Chhattisgarh held training sessions on booth management with the Assam state Congress workers. In addition, Baghel has been making frequent trips to the state. With Rahul Gandhi focusing on the state polls in the South, Assam has been left under the care of Team Baghel.