Shooting His Mouth Off
National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah’s verbal excesses have lent zing to the dull poll scene in Kashmir. At one rally, Abdullah threatened to use “bombs and bullets” against the PDP. Sadly, 12 hours later, suspected militants killed a PDP sarpanch in south Kashmir. In another speech, he thundered that if anyone (meaning the BJP) tries to fiddle with J&K’s autonomy, he would “rip his ass with a plough”. The plough incidentally is the NC’s election symbol. The PDP has lodged a complaint with the EC and the police. Will the BJP plough it back too?
The communal divide
Assam became a bitter battlefield for arch-rivals Narendra Modi of the BJP and Rahul Gandhi of the Congress last week when both happened to campaign in Nagaon on the same day and at the same time. Modi held three rallies, while Rahul had to be content with one. Both of them blasted each other for playing “divisive politics”. Political observers say both parties are aware that polling in this key Northeast state will be highly polarised along ethnic and communal lines. Hence the desperation to make each vote count.
Telangana bjp chief Kishan Reddy was hoping to contest from the prestigious Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency. But he lost out to Bandaru Dattatreya, a bjp veteran 17 years his senior. Now, Reddy is left with an mla ticket from an urban constituency, where his main headache is not the Congress but a young poet and former Dalit student leader from Osmania University. Fielded by the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslameen, he is set to give a tough fight to Reddy.
A parallel tussle is on for the likely vacancy in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly as close to a dozen BJP MLAs are contesting the Lok Sabha polls. If they win, a bypoll will ensue. Among the bigwigs eyeing just the Lucknow (East) Assembly seat, held by Kalraj Mishra, are Pankaj Singh, son of BJP chief Rajnath Singh; Sudhanshu Trivedi, close aide of Rajnath and a party spokesperson in Delhi; and Gopalji Tandon, the son of outgoing mp from Lucknow, Lalji Tandon.
Locked in a triangular contest with the Congress and Samajwadi Party, five-term MLA from Ayodhya and the BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Faizabad, Lallu Singh, is desperate to get Modi to rally for him. But the ‘secular’ Modi will stay away from the twin cities of Ayodhya and Faizabad. The best he will do for Lallu Singh is address a rally in Rudauli, 45 km away from Ayodhya, on 3 May.