BJP prime minister designate Narendra Modi has found an unlikely supporter among Kerala’s minorities — no, not a Muslim. A controversial Catholic bishop has been promoting Modi’s cause, arguing that the BJP strongman holds the key to the future of the minority community. Earlier, KJ Alphonse, a former independent MP, too, had crossed over to the BJP for greener pastures. It seems the bishop wants to follow that lead. Another multi-billionaire evangelist has already found a place in Modi’s heart. Seems like they are following Jesus’ teachings to the dot, especially the message to forgive and forget.
Yet So Far
The downfall of former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, the Congress MP from Chandigarh, has made the BJP fancy its chances. But infighting mars the party. Satya Pal Jain, who held the seat in 1996 and 1998 but lost to Bansal in 2004 and 2009, is keen to have a go again. Former minister Harmohan Dhawan and Punjab BJP chief Sanjay Tandon are lobbying hard, too. On a visit last week, BJP president Rajnath Singh warned them he would name a candidate if they didn’t stop fighting.
The Karnataka BJP is resigned to renegade former cm BS Yeddyurappa’s return to the party despite late efforts by his rivals to talk the high command out of it. The writing went up on the wall on Saturday when the state unit was reorganised to accommodate Yeddyurappa supporters. Insiders point to the hand of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who starts his Lok Sabha campaign in Karnataka next month.
Assam CM Tarun Gogoi has been in trouble since 31 of his 78 MLAs wrote to him demanding an urgent meeting of party legislators to discuss their grievances. Led by Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, the dissidents have visited New Delhi several times to warn of a poor showing in the state’s 14 Lok Sabha seats if Gogoi is not replaced. The CM plans to camp in New Delhi this week to firefight.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s perceived failure to stop communal violence in Muzaffarnagar has led to bureaucrats joke that his Samajwadi Party’s next election manifesto will promise a CM who works. Frustrated officials say the young CM has still not comprehended the gravity of the situation in Uttar Pradesh. With the major Hindu and Muslim festivals of Bakrid, Navratri and Dussehra as well as Moharram falling next month, they say UP needs divine blessings.