The Indian Express | 1 month ago | 08-12-2022 | 11:45 am
Will it be a seventh consecutive term in power for the BJP in Gujarat; how many seats will the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), flying high after its victory in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections on Wednesday, win; and what will be the Congress’s fate after it ran a low-key campaign?If the exit polls are anything to go by, the BJP is set to equal the Left Front’s record in West Bengal on Thursday while the Arvind Kejriwal-led party is not likely to cross 10 seats in the 182-member Assembly. The Congress, whose spirited campaign had brought down the ruling party’s tally to 99 seats in 2017, is expected to register its worst performance in Gujarat, with none of the pollsters giving the grand old party more than 51 seats.The BJP’s campaign blitzkrieg was centred around Prime Minister Narendra Modi who crisscrossed the state, making an emotional pitch to Gujaratis to “strengthen him”, the son of the soil. He addressed around 30 rallies and road shows, wrapping up the campaign with two roadshows and covering more than over 50 km in Ahmedabad city that is considered to be the BJP’s bastion. Union Home Minister Amit Shah was the second-most prominent campaigner for the party. He was in the state for almost two months, micromanaging the campaign and election strategy for the BJP. He also spent a considerable time in his Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, finalising the candidate list and trying to pacify rebels.The BJP also deployed its heavy-hitters such as chief ministers Yogi Adityanath, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Pramod Sawant, Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and national president JP Nadda for campaigning. The ruling party struck a balance between playing its Hindutva card — it raked up issues such as the 2002 riots and “love jihad”, and in its poll manifesto promised an anti-radicalisation cell and the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code — and its caste arithmetic.Unlike in 2017, when the Patidar quota agitation hit the party hard and benefitted the Congress, this time the BJP tried to get the caste calculus right. It dropped veterans and fielded at least 19 candidates who were originally from the Congress, emphasising “winnability” at the cost of some dissidence in its rank and file.AAP’s debutThe AAP put as much effort into its campaign as the BJP, with its convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann addressing almost as many rallies a day as Modi. With a debilitated Congress running a quiet campaign, the AAP succeeded in creating the perception that it is the main Opposition to the BJP. In a state where the BJP is overwhelmingly dominant, it projected itself as a better candidate to be a more vigilant Opposition than a deflated Congress.Kejriwal’s campaign was based on a call for change after decades of BJP rule and focused on pushing the Delhi school model, a set of “10 guarantees,” and the promise to take pilgrims to the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Though the party is expected by all to open its account, most likely it has to be content with having a foundation on which it can build for the future in a state that has never had a third front.Interestingly, both the Congress and the BJP found common ground in their Opposition to the AAP, saying that the noise it created is disproportionate to its strength and that history isn’t on Kejriwal’s side when it comes to a third front. Former CMs Shankersinh Vaghela who led the Rashtriya Janata Party and Keshubhai Patel who led the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) failed in building a third front in the state.Congress’s troublesIn 2017, the Congress was able to take advantage of the churning in the state resulting from the disenchantment of the Patidar community, farmers and traders with the BJP. Before the elections, it deputed its top leader Ashok Gehlot, the current Rajasthan CM, to Gujarat well in advance and allocated significant resources for campaigning.But this time, Rahul Gandhi, who led a major outreach and travelled across the state, was busy with the Bharat Jodo Yatra and visited Gujarat only for a day. Save Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, other top leaders of the party were absent. Though former Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia claimed that this strategy of running a grassroots campaign “helped the candidates focus on the real issues of price rise, unemployment, on which the BJP avoided a debate”, the exit polls showed this will likely fail and lead to a further shrinking of its footprint in a state where it has been out of power for more than three decades.
MUMBAI: Polling for five MLC seats for the teachers (Nagpur, Aurangabad and Konkan) and graduates (Nashik and Amravati) constituencies, marked by a controversy over the suspension of a father-son duo from the Congress for anti-party activities and utter confusion over selection of official nominees by political parties, took place on Monday.Though there are several candidates in the fray, it appears that there will be a straight contest between the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and the BJP candidates. Counting will be held on February 2.The polling percentage in Nashik was 49.3; in Amravati it was 49.7, in Aurangabad 86, in Nagpur 86.2 and in Konkan it was 91 (figures rounded off).Such elections are barely controversial. But high drama was witnessed over the Nashik division graduates seat after Congress nominee Sudhir Tambe failed to submit his nomination form before the deadline and his son Satyajeet filed his instead as an independent canddiate.Sudhir Tambe is the brother-in-law of Congress legislature party leader and former revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat. The Congress high command had approved Sudhir Tambe's nomination, while he was keen on his son Satyajeet, a former state youth Congress president, getting nominated.According to former chief minister Ashok Chavan, the AICC had given Sudhir Tambe a blank authorization form so that either he or his son could file the nomination. On the last day of filing nominations, both the father and son reached the election office, but Satyajeet Tambe filed papers. MPCC president Nana Patole reacted sharply, alleging the Tambe family had ditched the Congress. According to reports, Satyajeet Tambe was vying for the BJP's support, but it did not take any decision.On the other hand, BJP activist Shubhangi Patil too was vying for the BJP's nomination, and when she failed to get it, she approached Uddhav Thackeray for the MVA's support. After several rounds of talks, the MVA alliance supported the candidature of Patil. As a result, Nashik will witness a straight between the BJP and the Congress rebel.Satyajeet' Tambe's presence in the fray is being viewed as a major embarrassment for Thorat. Patole claimed that the MVA nominees will win all five seats. "Teachers and graduates in these constituencies are with the MVA," he said. Leader of opposition Ajit Pawar and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had toured extensively to campaign for the MVA and BJP nominees respectively for these five council constituencies.
The minister's comment had stirred up a controversy, resulting in an ink attack on him. (File)Pune: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Chitra Wagh has compared Maharashtra cabinet minister and her senior party colleague Chandrakant Patil with social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule.Wagh, who heads the state BJP women's wing, made the comments on Sunday at a programme organised here by local party leader Hemant Rasne which was also attended by Patil."We can see Savitribai (wife of Phule and pioneer of women's education in Maharashtra in the 19th century) in households, but a search is on for a Jyotiba (Phule) like Chandrakant Patil and BJP leader Hemant Rasne," she said.Notably, state Higher and Technical Education Minister Patil, who is an MLA from Pune, had kicked up a row by commenting that B R Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule did not seek government grants for running educational institutions, but they “begged” people to gather funds for starting schools and colleges.The use of the word “begged” had stirred up a controversy, resulting in an ink attack on Patil.Meanwhile, Wagh, who had filed a complaint against social media influencer Uorfi Javed for dressing "improperly" in public, said the latter should be praised as she has started wearing full clothes.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"I never had any problem with that woman or with any religion. I had a problem with abnormality but now I think we should praise her because she is seen in full clothes now. I have received multiple photographs of her and I can see she's wearing good clothes," Wagh said responding to a query from reporters.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayShah Rukh Khan's Signature Pose And A Pathaan-Special Dance
MUMBAI: Activists of right-wing outfits took out a rally in the city on Sunday against 'love jihad' and demanded anti-conversion laws and a crackdown on land-grabbing in the name of religion. Leaders and workers of right-wing outfits -RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP marched in the rally. Many leaders and MLAs of BJP and those of CM Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena faction also took part.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Friday said that in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will break all records and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will retain power with a thumping majority. He was talking to reporters after attending the live screening of 'Pariksha Pe Charcha' event addressed by PM Modi. Shinde saw the programme at the municipal school in Kisan Nagar locality of the city, where he had studied.Stating that he was pleased to witness the 'Pariksha Pe Charcha' programme in Thane, where he grew up, Shinde added that he was proud of being a civic school student. Replying to a question on the results of a recent political survey conducted by a media house on the next year's Lok Sabha polls, he said, "In the next general elections, PM Modi will break all records and the NDA will return to power with a thumping majority." Shinde said a survey conducted on just a handful of people does not give a true picture. "They ignored the results of the recently-concluded gram panchayat elections, where the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (Shinde-led faction) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) performed very well," he said. "In politics, two plus two is not always four. A survey based on just a handful of people does not give the real picture...I have got the details of how many people were surveyed. I do not want to go into any figures," he said. In the two-and-a-half years before he became the chief minister, a "government with negativity" was in power, Shinde said while referring to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray. But there is a government with positivity in the state now. There was dissatisfaction in the state during the previous government's rule. But we launched several development works and changed the entire atmosphere in the state, he said. "Now, even I will not be able to say as to who will join hands with whom and whose alliance will break apart. But the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena and BJP have been doing good work and this is a government of the common man. People have already decided whom they will vote for and we understand people's response," he said. "The survey said that the NDA government will come to power and that the popularity of PM Modi is increasing. Is it any different in Maharashtra?...We will be leading whenever elections are held. People of the state have already made up their mind. Hence, those who want to enjoy the opinion poll results for the next one-and-a-half years, let them enjoy," he said. "We are not afraid of elections. Future itself will give replies to the predictions of the survey," he said. During his visit to Thane city on Thursday, Shiv Sena (UBT) president and former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had alleged that the Sena and Maharashtra were defamed due to the "betrayal and defections" that took place, a reference to Shinde and 39 MLAs bringing down the MVA government.Replying to Thackeray's remarks, Shinde said, "We give replies through our work. If you make two allegations, we will carry out four works. It will be our reply. People are not interested in allegations and counter-allegations." "When 50 MLAs, 13 MPs and several office-bearers of the party across the country and even close relatives deserted them, then they should have done soul searching and introspected. Instead of that, they are indulging in allegations. I wish them all the best," he said. Students from 968 schools, including 140 civic ones, in Thane witnessed the 'Pariksha pe Charcha' programme at their schools, BJP MLC and party's Thane city district president Niranjan Davkhare said in a release.
Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis softening his stand on reintroducing the old pension scheme (OPS) for government employees is likely to put the ruling BJP in Karnataka in a tight spot as it struggles to take on the Congress in the run-up to the assembly polls.Fadnavis had rejected the demand last month, saying the government would need Rs '1.10 lakh crore to implement the OPS, potentially bankrupting the state. The BJP leader has, however, softened a bit, an about-face attributed to the political compulsions ahead of the assembly polls in Maharashtra next year.In Karnataka, the Congress, JD(S) and AAP have spoken sympathetically to government employees who resorted to a dharna in Bengaluru last month demanding restoration of the OPS. The state stopped the scheme on March 31, 2004. ET BureauCongress leader Siddaramaiah, a former chief minister, who has the distinction of presenting the state budget 13 times, met sections of agitating employees last month and promised to present their case before the party leadership.Karnataka will have an assembly election in about three months and the senior Congress leader's visit, last month, to the site where sections of government employees were staging a dharna, came after AAP leaders pledged their support. The AAP did it in Punjab, but the same promise did not make much impact in the recent Gujarat polls.In November, Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai set up the seventh pay commission, seeking to increase the pay and perks of government employees. But within weeks, the employees' union was on the streets with its OPS demand, leaving the BJP in a tight spot. In Gujarat, the BJP won the polls with a massive majority in, though the Congress and AAP have switched to the OPS in states they are in power.Public finance experts suspect the Congress in Karnataka may be tempted to take a populist course as it has already implemented it in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, where it is in power, and in Jharkhand, where it is a coalition partner. Siddaramaiah, who was the CM from 2013 to 2018, had recently said his regime's decision to implement the sixth pay commission recommendation cast an additional annual burden of '10,600 crore.CT Ravi bats for political consensus on OPSMeanwhile, BJP national general secretary CT Ravi, who is in-charge of Maharashtra, called for a national consensus by political parties on restoring the OPS in view of its impact on the state finances.Ravi told ET on Thursday that while a state's own ability should guide implementation of the OPS, it is nevertheless prudent for parties to discuss the subject and take a decision in national interest. On Fadnavis softening his stand on the OPS, the senior leader said the subject had not been discussed with him.Ravi said it would be better if all political parties placed the issue before a national body like NITI Aayog, discuss the subject comprehensively and take a call above party lines as competitive politics posed the danger of wrecking a state's finances.