Modi goes missing
Narendra Modi is avoiding the Karnataka campaign and doesn’t want to be part of the BJP’s mess. Though there is huge demand for him among party candidates, Modi has refused to concede to an expansive commitment. On 21 April, the BJP campaign kicks off in Mangalore and Davanagere. Modi was supposed to be the star but now the party will have to make do with LK Advani. Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh will also be there, among others. Modi may turn up later in the poll season but is elusive for the moment.
Son of the Humble Farmer
HD Kumaraswamy, son of HD Deve Gowda and part of the JD(S) promoter family, is contesting the Karnataka polls from Ramanagara. The funny thing is he’s a sitting MP, and it’s not usual for a Lok Sabha member to seek an MLA’s job. Kumaraswamy, who was CM for 18 months in 2006- 07 with BJP support, is hoping for a hung Assembly. His father and he then plan to bargain hard, play kingmakers and with luck grab the CM’s chair all over again. Between them, they are speaking to everybody — Congress and BJP — and praying for an indecisive verdict in 2013 in Bengaluru and 2014 in New Delhi. It’s the Great Vokkaliga Dream.
Where are the Owaisi brothers of the MIM? Frothing and fuming till a few weeks ago, they have suddenly gone silent. Akbaruddin Owaisi, the younger brother, has had a slew of cases slapped against him and this requires him to go from district court to district court. Party chief Asaduddin Owaisi is apparently firming up an alliance with YS Jaganmohan Reddy. Such a partnership could swing AP’s Muslims behind the YSR Congress and decimate the Congress.
The Congress’ kingmaker role in Srinagar is irritating the PDP and the NC. No one can form a government without the Congress’ support. Here the NC has an edge because of Omar Abdullah’s rapport with Rahul Gandhi. But as the Abdullahs face anti-incumbency, Congress leaders like Saifuddin Soz are talking of emerging as the single largest party in 2014 and heading the next government. In response, the PDP is urging the Valley to vote for a Kashmir-centric party: the PDP itself.
Even as India remains obsessed with RaGa vs NaMo, the buzz in Berlin during the PM’s visit suggested the bratwurst of the 2014 plate could well be P Chidambaram. That it’s not palatable to some old party hands remains a raw subject, but according to a minister, Chidambaram has shown signs of thawing some of his cold relationships. “He is willing to listen to people and be patient,” he said.