Blame it on Rio
In Nagaland, a race is already on for the chief minister’s post should the incumbent Neiphiu Rio make it to the Lok Sabha. As Rio is the tallest leader of the Naga Peoples’ Front, party insiders fear his absence from state politics might cause serious infighting. There are too many contenders, all from powerful Naga communities, including Home Minister G Kaito, Planning Minister TR Zeliang, Public Health Engineering Minister Noke Konyak and Health Minister Imkong L Imchen. Making matters worse, Rio has reportedly decided not to choose a successor.
All in the Family
It will take nothing less than a miracle for the Samajwadi Party to retain its 21-seat tally in UP. So the party’s first family is busy thinking of who will take the blame for the debacle: cm Akhilesh Yadav or his father Mulayam Singh. Another bone of contention is the ticket for the likely byelection in Mainpuri if Mulayam, who is also contesting from Azamgarh, vacates that seat. The toss-up is between Netaji’s second son Prateek Yadav and his recently deceased elder brother’s grandson Tej Pratap Yadav.
The Modi wave has skipped Lucknow. Rumour has it that BJP candidate and party chief Rajnath Singh had asked Modi to stay away, fearing polarisation of Muslim votes. Among the biggies who campaigned for Singh were Satpal Maharaj, who joined the BJP last month and has a big following in Lucknow, and Yashwant Sinha, who has the Kayasthas behind him. RSS strongman and Rashtriya Muslim Manch in-charge, Indresh Kumar, too has been camping in Lucknow for some weeks now.
Did Congress supporters in the South Kashmir Lok Sabha constituency vote for the rival PDP and against the party’s ally National Conference? Areas like Kokernag and Doru, which usually vote Congress, are believed to have largely voted for the PDP this time, possibly because of a tacit understanding with it. This scandalous news has left the NC and the Congress worried and embarrassed.
After dropping off the radar for a while owing to a heart ailment, i&b Minister Manish Tewari was back in news with an ‘apology’ to former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari. Tewari had earlier alleged that Gadkari owned ‘benami’ flats in the controversial Adarsh Housing Society. The apology, however, came only after Gadkari filed a defamation case against the minister. And though it seemed ‘unconditional’ at first sight, there was a string attached: Gadkari had offered to drop the case in return.