The BJP’s Prime Minister nominee Narendra Modi has been flying in and out of Delhi unannounced. In his outings, Modi has been meetings small groups of BJP leaders and MPs. Apart from asking them the strength and weaknesses of the BJP and the rivals in their areas, he, according to sources, asks them for their suggestions, for campaigns, and strategies to be adopted for garnering voters and persuading them to go to the polling booths. Modi seldom makes suggestions but does when he finds the others well-prepared and capable. According to an insider, Modi has met a large number of BJP members by now. He had earlier said that the effort should be made that at least 300 votes are cast for the BJP in each booth, which has the total number of 700 voters.
In Gujarat, Modi has got to the basics to maximise BJP’s seats for the Lok Sabha from his state. Gujarat holds special significance for the party as the chief minister of the state is the prime ministerial candidate of BJP.
Full Throttle In Modi Land
In Gujarat, the party has appointed “page presidents”, basing on electoral roles. Explaining the concept, Harshad Patel, Gujarat BJP Media Cell Convener, said for each page of voters list in a constituency a party worker is being assigned to take the responsibility of meeting, winning his support and monitoring so that he goes to vote. The experiment has been very successful in MP and now the party is launching this across the country, Patel said. This will also help in maximum voter turnout. The party workers at every level have been working very hard to reach out to the electorate, Om Mathur, BJP Gujarat in-charge, told the media.
Also in every constituency, a senior leader has been made responsible and Mathur himself is to visit all the 26 constituencies along with the state president and the constituency in-charge. He informed that they started meetings on the strategy about six months ago and a series of meetings is being held to review the situation periodically. BJP presently has 17 MPs out of 26 LS seats in Gujarat, but the effort is to raise the tally to exceed 22 in the forthcoming elections.
A Marriage Made In Madhouse Or…
The old saying is that marriages are made in heaven. But this particular marriage between a Cocktail Circuit member and driving a Merc in California, who flew all the way from there to marry a Punjabi rustic famer, 15 years younger to her, must have been made in either their earlier incarnation or in a lunatic asylum. But to be truthful, this marriage was made through Facebook. Believe it!
An American woman Adriana Peral, 41, took a leap of love last August when she flew to India to meet Mukesh Kumar, 25, a man young enough to be her son. Person-to-person meeting strengthened their love and they married within months of meeting each other. From drowning Californian wines to Haryanavi lassi, she is now a traditional housewife in rural Haryana. She, in her new role, is an excellent housewife–sweeping, cooking, cleaning and mucking in on the family’s farm in an impoverished rural community in Haryana, India. It’s a far cry from visiting nightclubs with friends, hitting the gym and shopping with daughter Lucy. But she insists she is happier than ever. “I love my life here with Mukesh—I wouldn’t exchange it for anything in the world,” she was quoted as saying. She admits to plenty of relationships back in the US, but she said she never found true love, until she found Mukesh on the social networking site in February. Over the next few months the pair grew closer, until one evening Mukesh unexpectedly called.
“Mukesh declared his love to me right there and then on the phone. I didn’t know how to react, and at first just laughed it off. But after we talked some more, I realised he was serious. Adriane, now Mrs Kumar, found the family used cow pat cakes, made by drying out the excrement of the families herd, as fuel. And with no inside toilet, a bucket for a shower and cows roaming around the communal area, the lack of amenities was tough to adapt to. But she says she has no regrets about leaving California.
Gang Of Desperadoes
The Third Front, which the parties in the opposition have been trying to set up, has been like a mirage. The power-thirsty leaders strive to form the Third Front before every general elections, but are unable to stitch together even a loose one. In 1985, they met for a final declaration of a common point programme, but the whole thing collapsed, because of various reasons. Now again, the attempt is on. Jayalalithaa, supposed to be a friend of Narendra Modi, was expected to ally with him. But her desire to become prime minister concluded an alliance with the CPI. Now we are told Nitish Kumar is eyeing for joining them. And who knows Mulayam Singh Yadav, if he gets more desperate, could line up with them. Sharad Pawar is too astute to join such loose formations. Secondly, he would not like to play second fiddle to Amma.
While aligning with the CPI, Amma got it to endorse that she would be prime minister. Now CPI can’t get its own into the Lok Sabha, except for two or three seats then how would it help Amma sit on the gaddi? And would Nitish stifle his ambition for the top job? He might if he finally becomes too desperate. In any case, how these leaders can help each other? There is nothing in common among them except their desperation.
Season Of Turncoats
Stage it seems is set for several prominent SP and BSP leaders to formally jump on the Modi bandwagon. With the BJP all set to announce its candidates for the Lok Sabha polls next week, the stage is set for several prominent leaders of other parties to swim towards BJP. The list is likely to include BSP MP Vijay Bahadur Singh, SP MPs Kamlesh Valmiki and Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, former BSP minister Phagu Chauhan and former BSP MP Balkrishna Chauhan.
Congress Lok Sabha member from Sultanpur, Sanjay Singh, was also about to shift loyalties before the party high command sensed trouble in its Amethi-Rae Bareli backyard and intervened to send him to the Rajya Sabha from Assam, a senior leader said. Vijay Bahadur Singh, Lok Sabha Member from Hamirpur, was among the few faces from Mayawati-led BSP that defended the party in debates on television. He was sacked from the party a few months ago after he started singing praises of Modi. The country now needs the strong leadership of Modi. It is only he who can restore governance and provide clean, graft-free government, said Singh, who has had about half dozen meetings with BJP president Rajnath Singh. “I will soon be joining the BJP. Whether they consider me for the LS seat from Hamirpur is up to the BJP leadership,” Singh told The Economic Times.
SP Lok Sabha Member from Bulandshahar, Kamlesh Valmiki, is routinely spotted with BJP leader Kalyan Singh. Valmiki is likely to figure in the list. Similarly, the SP MP from Qaiserganj, Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, is set to return to his parent party. Singh, who started his career with the BJP and is an accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, had switched sides in 2009, when he got elected from Qaiserganj as an SP nominee. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had named him as candidate for the 2014 polls as well.
But Singh, who does not pull along well with SP leaders from his area, particularly senior minister Raja Anand Singh, rejected the SP ticket, the paper reported. Along with his son PB Singh, he was involved in arranging Modi’s rally in Varanasi. It is his lobbying for a Lok Sabha ticket for his son too that is causing the delay in his return to his parent party, a BJP leader said.
Jat leader Sompal Singh Shastri was also given a ticket by the SP to contest from Baghpat, but in the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots, he refused the offer. Shastri had defeated RLD chief Ajit Singh in 1998 and was made the agriculture minister in the NDA government, headed by Prime Minister AB Vajpayee. Shastri told ET that he was yet to make up his mind on contesting the LS polls. “I am pained by the bloodshed in western UP during the riots. I want to work for the people here and restore harmony, and that is why I refused the SP ticket. As of now, I do not feel like contesting elections,” he said. Phagu Chauhan, revenue minister in the erstwhile BSP government, joined the BJP recently and could be among the party’s candidates. Another ex-BSP MP, Balkrishna Chauhan, is among the probables to be fielded by the BJP from Mau.