Know Your Friends
Last week, BJP’s Mumbai based feisty spokesperson, Shaina NC was busy fire-fighting not just for the party, but also battling rumours that she was upset at being denied a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections. Her detractors used her comments in favour of women reservations to point out that actually she was miffed at being left out. This was in response to Shaina’s statement claiming that she was “upset and appalled” as most of the leading political parties, including her own, have not given enough representation to women in the Lok Sabha elections. However, in her defence, this is something that Shaina has been saying all along. While speaking at a panel discussion organised by Shakti to empower women in politics, Shaina, along with Kanimozhi, Divya Spandana and Sushmita Dev had batted for the same. She again repeated these comments at the Mumbai launch of The Contenders. However, when she repeated these comments right in the middle of an election, she left herself wide open to misinterpretation. One lesson learnt is this Shaina, your detractors are not always on the other side of the political divide!.
The Sop Opera
The Congress has come up with perhaps one of its best crafted manifestos in recent memory. The cover page shows a crowd of people with the party chief Rahul Gandhi relegated to a poster stamp size mention at the bottom. This did lead to some uncomfortable moments for the manifesto team when former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi expressed her displeasure both with the said picture and the fact that the brochure cover picture was “too dark”. Other than that the manifesto team has been applauded for the document. Of course the jewel in the crown was the NYAY scheme, announced earlier by Rahul himself. The scheme was the result of a brainstorming session between Praveen Chakravarty, Rajeev Gowda and P. Chidambaram as they met with different sections of society while trying to thrash out the Congress’ version of the Universal Basic Income scheme. And what has helped the Congress is that in recent surveys (including one done by NewsX) the Congress approval figures have suddenly peaked to double digits. Which does beg the question—is this election going to be a war of my sop vs yours? Maybe not, because what the Congress really has to worry about is not coming up with the better scheme but being better placed to deliver it.
With Western UP set to go to polls this week the region played host to a bandwagon of high profile leaders. However, what was interesting was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s direct attack on RLD vice president and Chaudhary Charan Singh’s son. Speaking at a rally in the region, Modi remarked that “Jin Jaton ne samman diya, Jayant ne unka apmaan kiya (Jayant has insulted those Jats who respect him).” Quick to rebut, Jayant retorted, saying, “Jats don’t need a custodian for their swabhiman (self respect).” However, the PM’s attack has certainly raised the young lad’s stature: Considering the RLD is fighting only three seats in Western UP, why single him out by name for attack?