For two decades, the BJP’s minority cell in UP has existed only in name, relegated to an obscure corner of the party office in Lucknow. But suddenly, it has sprung to life. The reason being, the recent attempts at an image makeover by the party’s PM candidate. Ever since Narendra Modi aggressively pushed for garibi hatao through Hindu-Muslim unity, the cell has been busy enlisting support among Muslims. A database of prominent persons has been compiled and they are being contacted through SMSes, calls and even in person. This has also caused a lot of heartburn among the cadres who feel it is a waste of effort, as the minorities will not vote for the BJP or Modi anyway.
The CPM in Kerala is ruing the day it decided to attack CM Oommen Chandy. After the stone-throwing incident at Kannur, where a stray projectile thrown by LDF workers at the cm’s convoy hit his forehead, Chandy’s political stock has risen overnight. The past couple of months had seen his name being dragged in the infamous solar scam. But the incident has brought sympathy for the “injured” Chandy. Ironically, that day, the LDF workers were protesting against the CM’s role in the same scam.
Soaring onion prices are having far-reaching repercussions. In Assam, CM Tarun Gogoi has launched ‘Mission Onion’ with the 2014 polls in mind. The goal is to boost onion production in the state from 25,000 metric tonnes to 1 lakh metric tonnes annually. Apparently, the decision has been prompted by the Congress high command’s nudge to increase the party’s tally in the state. It is payback time for Gogoi, for being bailed out by Delhi every time he faced dissidence in the state unit.
In Through the Out Door
Asif Mohammed Khan, independent MLA from Okhla in Delhi, was inducted into the Congress in August. The move had riled some party leaders, including Parvez Hashmi, a Rajya Sabha MP and former MLA from Okhla. Two screening committee meetings later, the party is still unsure of clearing Asif’s name for the Okhla seat. Insiders say that is because Khan has criminal cases pending against him.
Rajeev Gowda, professor of public policy at IIM Bangalore, who also doubles up as spokesperson for the Karnataka Congress, is looking for a bigger role in the 2014 polls. Gowda, who was part of the youth team during the 2004 polls, is said to be lobbying hard with the high command for the Bangalore North seat. A tricky one for the party, as the last Congressman to contest from that seat was former railway minister CK Jaffer Sharief. And he lost it.