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VOL 4 < ISSUE 2 < APRIL, 2014

INSIDE Uttar Pradesh :

SHREE MAA PRAKASHAN PVT. LTD.

14

UP occupies centre stage

20

World : Europe's border re-drawn Group Editor M.K. Tiwari

Himachal :

Editor Vinod Varshney Executive Editor Dr. Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratna Assistant Editor Anjalika Rajlakshmi Campus Editor Adithi Sonali

Wait for surprise!

6

Punjab :

33

Jharkhand :

Aaditya Tewari

West Bengal :

11

The UPA may return To power yet again

Regional Office Incharge Tamanna Faridi U.P.: B-120 / 121, 1st Floor, Prince Complex, Hazratganj, Lucknow-226001 Ph.: 0522-4003911 E-mail: lokayatlucknow@gmail.com

38

After Anna fiasco, Didi plums for 'Star'

Karnataka :

41

Karnataka to play a crucial role

43

Kerala : Is it CPM's last gambit?

M.P. : Paraspar Colony, Chunabhatti, Kolar Road, Bhopal-462003 Ph.: 0755-4030162 E-mail : lokayat01@gmail.com

Tamilnadu :

46

Pentagonal contest upsets Jaya's dream

22

MP going through election fatigue

NorthEast :

52

North-East goes the national way

Chhattisgarh :

Sub Office Ram Bhawan, Manohar Cinema Parisar, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh Ph.: 07752-428835 E-mail: lokayat_bsp@yahoo.com

Subscription: For 3 year : Rs. 1,500.00 For 5 years : Rs. 2,500.00 For 10 years : Rs. 5,000.00 (Inclusive of postal charges)

36

Kith, kin and capriciousness

Regional Editor C.G. Gopal Thawait

Head Office 193, Pkt-D, Mayur Vihar Phase-II, Delhi-110091 Ph.: 011-22723900, 32550442, 43062417, 43082859 Fax No.: 011-22723906 E-mail: lokayat01@gmail.com

30

Triangular elction frenzy

Regional Editor M.P.

C.G. : Thawait Bhawan, Kankali Talab, Main Road, Raipur Ph.: 0771-4221188 E-mail: lokayat_rpr@yahoo.com

27

Will divided opposition help Congress?

Bihar :

Special Correspondent A.K. Chaturvedi

Website:

Haryana :

Congress springs surprise

Cine Editor Meera Singh

Senior Graphic Designer Ashi Sinha

25

Will Virbhadra stem Modi wave?

54

BJP has minor edge in Chhattisgarh

Odisha :

58

Naveen succeeds in poaching game

Rajasthan :

60

Shifting sand dunes!

Fight between anti and pro division protagonists

49

64

Delhi : BJP frustrated at AAP attack

REGULARS < 05 WITH CANDOUR

< 70 BUSINESS & ECONOMY < 76 GADGET

< 65 CAMPUS

< 72 SPORT

< 67 FILMWORLD

< 74 SCIENCE

< 78 HEALTH IS WEALTH

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LETTERS

CONGRATULATIONS FOR DESIGN TEAM! The March issue of the Lokayat looks neat and write-ups— covering the entire country—are not only informative but thought provoking also. The design team needs to be appreciated! All of my best wishes! Sachin Arya, Delhi

UP HOLDS KEY TO MODI’S DREAM The article ‘UP To Witness Fiercest Battle’ is highly incisive and informative. It gave an in-depth analysis of what is happening in the largest state of the country. The four equally potent political forces—SP, BSP, Congress and BJP, have made the election fairly interesting and all eyes are now set on the state, as with 80 seats Uttar Pradesh holds the key to BJP’s dream of coming to power. Tamanna Faridi, the writer of the story is right in saying that unless the saffron party gets around 50 seats from the state, Modi’s dream may vanish into thin air. Rajendra Sahu, Raipur, Chhattisgarh

PASWAN AGAIN SHOWS HIS TRUE COLOUR The story about Bihar and Ram Vilas Paswan is eye-opening. Paswan’s move again showed that the

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

room for ethical and principled politics continues to shrink. Paswan had left Vajpayee government after 2002 Godhra riots, terming Narendra Modi as demon, but now he doesn’t find the same person communal anymore. Moreover, he has taken a vow to help the Gujarat CM become the next PM. Those who know Paswan know it well that he can’t live without power for long time. He left the NDA apparently to uphold his secular credentials so that he could be the chief minister of Bihar, which didn’t happen. Now he wants to salvage his sagging political fortune as well as establish his son Chirag Paswan in politics. Rekha Goyal, Delhi,

POLITICS OVER RAJIV’S ASSASSINATION DEPLORABLE Your cover story ‘What Justice!’ is quite revealing. It reflects the true face of Indian politics. The face-off between J Jayalalithaa led Tamilnadu government and the Congress led Centre over the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi is deplorable. The move of the state government to free all seven convicts of the assassination dismayed the entire nation evoking sympathy for his son Rahul Gandhi. The question raised by you is pertinent—what justice a common man can expect, when it is not available for the prime minister of the country. It’s true that jingoism is an inseparable part of Tamil politics, but the way it was played out, is quite distasteful. Jagdish Shukla, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

DIFFICULT ROAD FOR ANY NEW GOVERNMENT I fully agree with the position taken in the article that any new government that may be formed in the Centre would continue to face tough time. The growth slow-down cannot be blamed fully on the government of Manmohan Singh and the finance minister P

Chidambaram. In fact to give due share to the devil, Chidambaram has dramatically changed the economic prospects of the country. Remember five six months ago so many rating agencies were threatening sovereign downgrade. That talk is heard no more. On the contrary there is hope that the downtrend in the economy is over and growth momentum though slowly would start soon. That is the reason FIIs have started pouring money in Indian stock market. So the credit should be given to decisions taken by Manmohan Singh government which has dramatically lowered the difference in the exports and imports, which had become quite worrisome. John Joseph, Ernakulam, Kerala

CPI (M) HAD IT NEVER SO BAD This article in your article is biased. The correspondent seems to have overlooked many merits that left parties have. It is not a good policy to pick up only negatives of a party. My feeling is that in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura---the CPI (M) would put up a good fight in the elections and win good number of seats as most voters do not think in the fashion the article assumes. Every party is full of vices? Which is not? Why target only CPI (M)? This is not fair. This is one party because of which the country is not fully sold to foreigners which the Congress, and much more that Congress, the BJP try to do. Murli Radhakrishnan, Delhi

tters at E-mail your le ail.com, gm lokayat01@ y@hotmail.com vinodvarshne


WITH CANDOUR

IF MIND IS PURE THEN GANGA IS AT HAND! he scene of general election is kaleidoscopic. But it also shows a deformed face of politics. Curiously, leaders indulge into monologues, assuming what they say would be believed, but the voters are no fools. Propaganda of parties’ media cells is insignificant for them. Another absurdity of politics lies in the way Modi ‘Saheb’ was projected as the PM candidate. And the way soon after nomination chant of Namo-Namo started! When the time came for ticket distribution the battlefields of top leaders were changed. The warriors of Mahabharat were sent to fight the battle of Haldighati. Feud among leaders reminded war camps of Mahabharat’s Arjuna, Krishna, Bhishma and Kauravas. When Modi set out for campaigning, he attacked his rivals in aggressive and offensive roar. Past sins were also sought by him to be washed away in Ganga at Benaras. It is hard to believe that Mahamrityunjay Mantra is meant to pave way for Rajdarshan. People forget, if mind is pure then the Ganga is at hand and if Ram is in the heart then victory is assured. BJP’s top leaders have also forgotten in their quest for satta how they should behave in a big organisation. It has virtually come in the vice grip of Modi. A faith slogan ‘Har Har Modi’ taking it to the height of deification has been parodied to attain power. But such things revolt against true spirit of democracy. The world is replete with examples when such individuals end up becoming despot and cause irreparable damage to the larger interests of the country and society. BJP relies much on 204 seats of the Hindi heartland states—UP and Uttarakhand (85 seats) Bihar and Jharkhand (54 seats), Rajasthan (25 seats) and MP and Chhattisgarh (40 seats) to have 272 seats to form a government at the Centre. But BJP’s gambit seems falling apart even as it has changed the language and mien of Modi. His script of luring in the name of discipline and Indian culture is incongruent. One more thing—BJP cannot produce another Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Lal Krishna Advani, but party minions fawn around Modi, belittling the good record of Vajpayee. But sycophancy cannot produce lasting effect. Educated people do know that Namo is short form of Narendra Modi, but chanting Namo and Har-Har Modi is being encouraged for the gullible as though he is godlike. Media’s seductive projection of ‘272+’ has resulted into ominous shift in attitude of Modi who rather than taking everybody along indulge in cornering seniors, fearing them as rivals. Human mind is fickle, but political mind is generally foul. This is why the BJP by throwing all morality and ethics to the wind in greed to attain power included the defectors of all kinds in its flock rolling out red carpet to them and honouring them with tickets. Such depravity can discomfit any right thinking person. Why debate is not taking place on corruption and price rise while seeking change in government? What caused price rise? Where and how the corruption started? Congress eluded these issues during its rule for ten years. The politics, rather than focussing on such issues of public interest, has callously been made caste-centric. So many caste-based small parties have mushroomed. Finally to enjoy power they tie up with bigger parties. To strengthen themselves, political parties’ main work becomes looking for financial resources. Leaders develop very quickly art of amassing wealth. Getting more and more by short cut has become the political culture. The issue of black money in election is being ignored. The debate on this would have been an ideal thing, but these are not the real concerns of most parties and leaders. Politicians want just change in government!<

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COVER STORY

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COVER STORY

Pre-election surveys, so often perceived as paid, have given favourable figures to some claimants but the Indian voter has the propensity to spring surprises to embarrass psephologists as seen during so many Lok Sabha elections. In 2004 and 2009 survey figures were wide of the mark. Not just the numbers for the parties but the candidate for the next prime minister could also be a stunning surprise with a dark horse replacing the much-trumpeted names. The element of uncertainty is high due to chances of regional parties collectively emerging as a big force. In that case who would be the PMâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; Jayalalitha, Mamata, Mulayam, Nitish or someone else? So, it is not just about Rahul or Modi....

By Chandrakant Naidu

he BJP is counting its eggs even before they are hatched. The Congress has given up on its chances pre-maturely. Lately some concerted effort has been made to tide over the anti-incumbency wave. The issue of who would form the government in the event of both the BJPled NDA and the Congress-led UPA failing to muster the right numbers is also open for debate. The element of uncertainty is so high that many political observers are expecting a third front government, supported by the Congress or the

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APRIL, 2014 LOKAYAT |

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COVER STORY BJP. Arvind Kejriwal is propagating the possibility of fractured verdict resulting in an unstable government and fresh elections within 2 years or so. Nagging questions keep cropping up about the possible outcome of unusually hyped campaign for the General Elections-2014. Those who have watched Indian elections for over 35 years concede the

upcoming one is by far the most talked about. Tiny ripples have been blown up into high tides as the conventional and social media has stretched itself to the maximum. It would not be easy as such to quantify the impact of Narendra Modi wave. The Gujarat chief minister’s admirers are worried that he has now started believing in his hyped up image as nation’s ruler. His coming

to power could be as big a surprise as his failure to do so. Such is the confidence of team Modi that its members are already discussing the key portfolios to be allotted to the BJP leaders. The possible allies are not even being considered for plum ministries. So, the answers to many questions could surprise us when they emerge from the EVMs on May 16. Many

imponderables have come into play. Let’s take a look. Most factors point to a hung House. That would give Congress an opportunity to stay in the hunt for power through post-poll alliances. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), National Conference

(NC), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Indian union Muslim League, Kerala Congress and People’s Party of Punjab are likely to swim or sink together after the poll. Those who could go with the alliance that emerges strong are: AIDMK, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), YSR

Congress, Asom Gana Parishad, Indian National Lok Dal and Janata Dal (S). Those who can back the Congress to keep Modi out are the Left parties, JD (U), Samajwadi Party, DMK, BSP and MIM. One of the major causes of uncertainty is the high number of seats—114 out 543—that were won or

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COVER STORY lost with slim margins of under 3 per cent in 2009. In Uttar Pradesh which is the pathway to power at the Centre, their number was 19 out 80. Even the Varanasi seat which was so carefully chosen for Modi to mark his footprint in the state the sitting MP Dr Murli Manohar Joshi had just 1.11 per cent advantage over his closest rival Mukhtar

Ansari. Modi’s shouting brigade has not been able to silence Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal who has raised pertinent issues like gas pricing, farmers’ suicides in Gujarat and Gujarat chief minister’s tacit support to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail sector. The BJP’s response has been far from convincing. Amit Shah, Modi’s confidant and

the key operator behind the conspiracy to polarise votes on communal lines, is now trying to distance the party from slogans created by twisting religious chants. For the fear of incurring the election commission ire Shah has said the party was not responsible for coining such slogans and it doesn’t approve them. The liberal use of such slogans

points to the dichotomy on the issue. Shah says the slogan ‘Yeh to pahli jhanki hai, Kashi Mathura baaki hai’ that did the rounds after the Babri Masjid demolition at Ayodhya has ‘never been a slogan of the BJP’. It keeps flowing freely during the election times though. BJP is also under attack for slogans

like ‘Har har Modi, ghar ghar Modi’ and ‘Kan kan mein Modi…’ RSS blank cheque to Modi The party skirts questions on whether Modi will give up Varanasi or Vadodara if he wins both. Amit Shah’s overbearing presence as Modi’s Man Friday is also affecting the interpersonal equations in the party. The

RSS blank cheque to Modi with clear instructions to get the desired results leaves him free to try all machinations in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh as he did in Gujarat. But, to believe that Modi’s moves will not have a bearing on the party’s morale and performance would be height of naiveté. The party president Rajnath Singh

APRIL, 2014 LOKAYAT |

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COVER STORY has moved from Ghaziabad to Lucknow on realising that no seat in the national capital region (NCR) is safe after the emergence of AAP. He would need more Luck Now! Having antagonised several senior party colleagues Rajnath Singh will find it hard to live up to the expectations of the constituency that returned the BJP’s most respected face, Atal Behari Vajpayee. Complex caste equations have opened up the constituency which had remained a BJP stronghold over the years. Small parties formed during the election time often escape the survey radars. But they cut into the major players’ share causing unexpected changes in the final outcome. None of the surveys in the 2009 elections had given Congress more than five seats. It ended up with 22 cutting into the share of the other front runners like Samajwadi Party or Bahujan Samaj Party. Parties like Apna Dal, Mahan Dal, Peace Party etc are still there and could again surprise the major players and pollsters. In Punjab alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has forced the BJP to drop Navjot Singh Sidhu who had just scraped through with about 7,000 votes at Amritsar in 2009. The gap between Sidhu and the runner up Om Parkash Soni was just 0.84 per cent. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s antipathy for Sidhu has brought Arun Jaitley into the fray. Jaitley, who managed to get into BJP’s top bracket of decision makers without contesting an election for 20 years, faces the formidable former chief minister Amarinder Singh. Party insiders tend to agree with Amarinder Singh’s observation that Badal and RSS have sacrificed Jaitley. Sidhu who refused to contest any other seat is not even willing to campaign in Amritsar. Strangely, most surveys tend to overlook the anti-incumbency factor against the SAD while generously granting most of Punjab’s 13 seats to the NDA. In Odisha the Biju Janata Dal leader, Navin Patnaik’s categorical

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refusal to have any truck with Modi or the Left rule out the prospects of the party going with the NDA, UPA or even the Third front. The BJP also hopes to gain from North East which has so far shunned the party due to its predominantly Christian electorate. In Bihar the equations have changed dramatically with the Congress finding itself at the receiving end of most defections. The state which sends 40 members to the Lok Sabha found 10 members of different parties crossing over to the BJP and 13 to the JD-U.

The party president Rajnath Singh has moved from Ghaziabad to Lucknow on realising that no seat in the national capital region is safe after the emergence of AAP. He would need more Luck Now! Having antagonised several senior party colleagues Rajnath Singh will find it hard to live up to the expectations of the constituency that returned the BJP’s most respected face, Atal Behari Vajpayee. Even the RJD which is reduced to Laloo Yadav’s private limited company attracted four members. The Congress found only two takers. That speaks volumes of the turmoil the state is in. There is curiosity over how Ramvilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party fares after having hitched itself to the Modi bandwagon. Down South the four states offer mixed response to the perceived saffron surge. In Andhra the TDP has sewn up an alliance with the BJP after considerable haggling. The BJP gets to contest upto 11 of the 17 Lok Sabha

seats in Telangana and upto 6 of the 25 Seemandhra seats and rest are to be earmarked for TDP. This could work in BJP’s favour if the TDP is able to regain the public support which it lost a decade ago. The Congress is a heavy loser with in both Telangana and Seemandhra as allies desert it. In Karnataka the Congress ceded some ground to the BJP after the grand show in the assembly elections due to caste dynamics. But some smart moves to appease backward castes have still kept the balance in its favour. Sri Ram Sene’s abortive attempt to join the BJP and the subsequent move by its leader Pramod Muthalik to contest the Bangalore seat as independent could cut into the BJP votes where Nandan Nilekani and Ananth Kumar are slugging it out. In the return of B S Yeddyurappa and B Sriramulu to the BJP fold the caste equations have been given priority over political niceties. It remains to be seen whether the gains would be as high as the party is projecting. In Tamil Nadu AIDMK’s decision not to entertain BJP might disappoint the saffron parivar. But a clearer picture would emerge after the elections as political analysts expect some parties to go along with the tide. The AIDMK could chart its course dictated by the post-poll expediency. Its rival the DMK has, however, chosen not to go with Modi. Kerala appears to have remained unaffected by BJP’s resurgence under Modi. In Madhya Pradesh eight seats witnessed a three per cent swing changing the Congress’ fortune in 2009. The Congress went on to win 12 seats against the run of the play. Two significant factors that have emerged over the past five years are NOTA and Aam Aadmi Party. In the assembly elections for four states NOTA was used fairly liberally. In some cases the NOTA count exceeded the margin of victory. So, with such diverse possibilities the nation must get set for quite a few surprises next month.<


SPECIAL STORY

THE UPA MAY RETURN TO POWER YET AGAIN

A high-decibel noise favouring Modi in the electronic media and the multi-billionrupee campaign through rallies and bill-boards are expected to yield only a feeble upswing in the BJP’s fortune. The Lokayat found that voters’ mood has not changed much by the propaganda barrage. It must be said, however, that it is hard to elicit their free and frank opinion. It is clear, the polling will finally be influenced by many factors including caste, community, liquor, money and muscle power. By Lokayat Team

he ongoing high decibel electoral cacophony confuses not only political analysts but voters as well. The elections this

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time are fought on the heady power of money, mostly black money, in the contending parties’ war chest. Though the Election Commission has imposed an expenditure upper limit of Rs 70 lakh for individual candidates, people who are involved in the ‘no-holds

barred’ electioneering know, actual expenditures exceed this amount several times over. The BJP is spending Rs 400 crore on advertisement alone. The Congress’ ad budget is of similar order. Perhaps, this year’s election is the most expensive

APRIL, 2014 LOKAYAT |

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SPECIAL STORY

Congress and BJP in a neck and neck race The latest Lokayat estimate based on a month-long field visit undertaken up to March 25, 2014 STATE

SEATS

CONGRESS

BJP

42

13

0

0

2

1

0

0

1

ASSAM

14

10

1

0

3 OTHER

BIHAR

40

3

20

1

16 (JDU, RJD)

CHHATISGARH

11

5

6

0

0

2

1

1

0

0

GUJARAT

26

7

19

0

0

HARYANA

10

4

2

2

2

HIMACHAL

4

2

1

1

0

JAMMU & KASHMIR

6

2

1

0

3

JHARKHAND

14

2

5

1

6 (JMM & Others)

KARNATAKA

28

15

4

0

9 JD(SE)OTHERS

KERALA

20

10

0

0

10 LEFT FRONT OTHER

MADHYA PRADESH

29

12

15

1

1

MAHARASHTRA

48

8

17

1

22 SHIVSENA, NCP & Other

MANIPUR

2

1

0

0

1

MEGHALAYA

2

1

0

0

1

MIZORAM

1

1

0

0

0

NAGALAND

1

1

0

0

0

ODISHA

21

7

1

0

13 BJD

PUNJAB

13

5

2

1

5 AKALI

RAJASTHAN

25

6

15

2

2

1

0

0

0

1

39

4

0

0

35 (DMK, AIADMK & Others)

ANDHRA PRADESH ARUNACHAL

GOA

SIKKIM TAMILNADU TRIPURA U.P

OTHERS

29 (TELANGANA, TDP, OTHERS)

2

0

0

0

2

80

12

25

2

13 (SP, 20 BSP & 8 OTHERS)

5

1

3

1

0

W. BENGAL

42

3

0

1

21 TMC, 12 LEFT, 5 OTHERS

ANDAMAN

1

1

0

0

0

CHANDIGARH

1

1

0

0

0

DELHI

7

2

2

2

1

LAKHSDEEP

1

1

0

0

0

DADRA-NAGAR HAVELI

1

0

1

0

0

DAMAN & DIU

1

0

1

0

0

UTTARAKHAND

PUDUCHERRY TOTAL

1

0

1

0

0

543

142

143

16

242

one we have had so far, and the second- most extravagant in the world, second only to the United States of America. The Centre for Media Studies has estimated that election

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AAP PARTY

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expenses of all parties combined may be of the order of Rs 30,000 crore. This is three times the amount spent during the last Lok Sabha elections. Where is this money coming from?

India’s corporate world has staked its bet on a single name—Narendra Modi—, and its high- octane propaganda orchestrated through media and rallies are in his favour.


SPECIAL STORY Madison India, another media research organisation, has estimated that the advertisement bill of all the parties together may go as high as Rs 4,800 crore. It is an open secret that political campaigns thrive on black money. Bribing voters with cash, liquor and freebies is another ugly face of our elections. Grandiose promises that may never be fulfilled are freely made to lure voters. The Election Commission, despite its sincere intent and efforts, has not been able to check these malpractices. Election Commissioner VS Sampath has expressed his worry on this count. As though the menace of black money and numerous malpractices are not enough to tarnish the sanctity of this democratic yajna, use of caste and community, and efforts to inflame communal passions are even more worrisome. There are some feeble attempts, especially by the Association of Democratic Reforms, to urge and educate people to elect clean candidates. However, their impact is not big enough as yet. Even the Aam Aadmi Party is unsuccessful in its avowed mission of cleansing politics in India on account of collective opposition by entrenched forces. Taking cue from the fledgling APP Rahul Gandhi took some initiatives in this direction, but the more important (and urgent) consideration of ‘winnability factor’ forced other Congressmen to halt his drive at many places. Not surprisingly, the Lokayat team which made the field visits has been shocked to find that about 400 of the total 543 LS seats, are under the spell of big money and may go its way. Most voters covered in these 400 constituencies live below the poverty line. One estimate is that some 40 percent of such people expected cash for votes.

Our guestimate of seats various parties may win is based on responses and utterances of voters in the backdrop of the 2009 Lok Sabha poll when the Congress stunned all pollsters by bagging 206 seats. Is there a similar surprise lurking this time also? The Lokayat team reckons the Congress would be a big loser but still be able to get around 142 seats as the situation has started changing on the ground. It has improved its chances in Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka and may perform well in Kerala. It looks weak in West Bengal, Tamilnadu, Delhi, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Haryana. In Andhra Pradesh the situation is not as favourable as it was in 2009 due to bifurcation of the state, but it can still win 13 seats in multicornered contests. Constituents of the UPA like the NCP, RJD, National Conference, RLD and Muslim League are also going to improve the tally each had last time. The prospect of the Rashtriya Lok Dal particularly has improved after Amar Singh and Jayaprada joined it amidst the speculation that Muzaffarnagar’s communal riots benefitted the BJP to make a clean sweep of the Jatland. The UPA supporters like the BSP, SP, TRS and JD-U may respectively win 22, 12, 5 and 10 seats. The mega effort of the BJP to win a record number of seats in UP may not materialise due to disaffection and anger in the party cadre on giving tickets to ‘paratroopers’ and expected tactical voting by Muslims. The Lokayat team’s estimate is that the final result may provide the UPA the minimum number it needs to stake claim to form the government once more, the third time in a row in recent years, with the help of more parties in the coalition-net or their support from outside.<

How Many Seats! Congress

141-145

BJP

142-145

CPM (M)

26-27

TMC

22-23

BSP

22-23

AIDMK

21-22

SP

17

BJD

12-13

Shiv Sena

10-11

NCP

08-09

TRS

07-08

TDP

06-07

YSRC

06-08

JD-U

07-08

JD-S

05-07

DMK

05-07

Akali Dal

04-06

RJD

04-06

RLD

03-04

J&KNC

03-04

CPI

03-04

MNS

03-04

JMM

04-05

ML

02-03

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UTTAR PRADESH

UP OCCUPIES CENTRE STAGE ONCE AGAIN The BJP is facing a dilemma that is easy to explain but difficult to tide over. It wants to win a large number of seats at whatever cost. Rajnath does admit that there is ‘some resentment’ among some workers and leaders over ticket distribution, but seems to be in no position to take any corrective measure. He is seen as dictated by the RSS and Modi. Many observers say that disgruntled workers may ruin chances of mediapropelled Modi-wave converting into votes.

By Ratan Mani Lal from Lucknow

ttar Pradesh has once again got the chance to spring back into national political limelight—a position that the state enjoyed for decades after independence but had lost in the aftermath of the rise of regional parties and coalition politics. Even if regional parties and coalition continue to be at the centre of developments, the fact that most of the contenders for the top post have chosen Uttar Pradesh once again underlines the importance of its 80 Lok Sabha seats. This has become possible only because after a long time, national parties may match regional parties in terms of influence on the electorate. First the facts: Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi chose Varanasi to contest for Lok Sabha—the announcement of Vadodara as the second seat in his home

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state Gujarat came Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi waves during a roadshow in Barabanki (PTI photo) almost as an aside. Why Varanasi? While a lot has been said and written about it, suffice it to say currently holds in Lok Sabha. What he that this ancient seat represents a ideally wanted was to increase the tally political and socio-religious significance two fold that would have been sufficient that is difficult to match elsewhere. The to give him a clout to become a city has a deep presence in the psyche of contender for prime ministership, but Hindus who consider it as the holiest of considering the prevailing mood of the all places, and the political current people, he decided to make his party’s emanating from here often has its impact chance better by himself contesting from on surrounding region. Then there is the two places. It is no secret that Mulayam BJP’s national president Rajnath Singh. asks people to give him a chance to He chose Lucknow since the state capital become prime minister, by not punishing is synonymous with former prime him for his son’s mistakes. Now, if he minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s legacy. wins both Mainpuri and Azamgarh, he Rajnath lost no chance to choose a seat can safely manage to win the re-election made so famous by his party’s most in (most probably) Azamgarh by putting famous leader. forward the candidature of one of his Then there is Samajwadi Party’s family members. Mulayam Singh Yadav. Faced with Then there is the first family of the reports that people across the state are Congress. By hoping to retain Amethi angry with his son chief minister and Rae Bareli, both Sonia Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav’s government for its Rahul want to give a message that all is failure to tackle the Muzaffarnagar riots well with their popularity, even though it and its aftermath, and also its means a barter with the SP which incompetence in checking crime, involves Congress support to Mulayam Mulayam had to ensure that the party’s in Mainpuri and daughter-in-law Dimple seats did not fall below the number it Yadav in Kannauj.


UTTAR PRADESH

But things in politics are never that cut-and-dried as they appear. The ground reality and the emergence of other factors have created new obstacles in the path of all parties’ ambitions. Rajnath Singh arrived in Lucknow to great fanfare and made incumbent MP from Lucknow Lalji Tandon and Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s trusted Shiv Kumar to sit on either side at his press conference. But the lines of worry on the faces of Rajnath and Tandon could be read by anyone who was present there. Even when he talked about a so-called ‘Modi wave’ his concern about disgruntled party workers and leaders marred his enthusiasm.

resentment and protests are common when a party is popular because everyone wants to contest. But this does not mean much once the ticket is finalized and the entire party will now fight to realize the dream of making Modi the prime minister.’ Another reason for workers’ resentment is the free-wheeling entry of people from all other parties. In Uttar Pradesh some twenty five percent seats have gone to outsiders. But Rajnath Singh says the inclusion of outsiders in the candidate list is part of the strategy. ‘In war and election, we need to have a strategy to win, and this is part of our strategy,’ he says. The party will make good use of all the disgruntled workers at different levels, he promised. Among the places where resentment has been strong over candidates are Allahabad, Deoria, Domariyaganj, Gonda, Mathura, Mirzapur and Ghaziabad. Even the state BJP president Laxmikant Vajpayee says such resentment is ‘natural human reaction.’ But he too, like Rajnath, says the initial dissatisfaction and anger will ebb once the second phase of campaigning got

BJP president Rajnath Singh and party’s UP incharge Amit Shah (PTI photo)

Big dilemma The BJP is facing a dilemma that is easy to explain but difficult to tide over. It wants to win a large number of seats at whatever cost. Rajnath admits that there is ‘some resentment’ among some workers and leaders over ticket distribution. But he says that ‘Such

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati speaks during an election rally (PTI photo)

AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal taking holy dip in river Ganga in Varanasi (PTI photo)

under way. There is confidence in the BJP camp that Narendra Modi’s rallies that began last year and culminated in Lucknow on March 2 have created enough impact. As for other parties, ruling Samajwadi Party has started its campaign with Akhilesh Yadav addressing rallies in a fashion reminiscent of the campaign of 2012 assembly election. The campaign also features Mulayam Singh Yadav, his brother Shivpal Yadav and cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, besides ministers Azam Khan. The issues the SP raises in its campaign are accomplishments of the SP government, its commitment towards Muslims, the alleged ‘misrule’ of the BSP and the ‘communal’ agenda of Modi. And typically, Akhilesh refuses to even acknowledge that there is any problem on the law and order front in the state. This has angered a vast section of the people who are now openly saying that the SP may not even retain those 23 seats that it currently has in the Lok Sabha. But by unabashedly encouraging polarisation, the SP wishes to once again take advantage of its traditional and tested Muslim-Yadav combination, embellished by a new-found love for Brahmins.

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UTTAR PRADESH

Total seats General Seats SC Seats

BJP BALLOON

: 80 : 63 : 17

By Lokayat Correspondent

Total electors

13.435 cr Young voters (18-25 yrs)

: 17.27 pc Poll Schedule: 1st Phase

: 10th April : 10 seats (Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaf-

farnagar, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr & Aligarh) 2nd Phase

: 17th April : 11 seats (Nagina, Moradabad, Rampur,

Sambhal, Amroha, Badaun, Aonla, Bareilly, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur & Kher) 3rd Phase

: 24th April : 12 seats (Hathras, Mathura, Agra,

Fatehpur Sikri, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Hardoi, Farrukhabad, Etawah, Kannauj & Akbarpur) 4th Phase

: 30th April : 14 seats (Dhaurahra, Sitapur, Misrikh,

Unnao, Mohanlalganj, Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Kanpur, Jalaun, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Banda, Fatehpur & Barabanki) 5th Phase

: 7th May

: 15 seats (Amethi, Sultanpur, Pratap-

garh, Kaushambi, Phulpur, Allahabad, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Kaiserganj, Shrawasti, Gonda, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar & Bhadohi) 6th Phase

: 12th May

: 18 seats (Domariyaganj, Maharajganj,

Gorakhpur, Kushi Nagar, Deoria, Bansgaon, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Ghosi, Salempur, Ballia, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Mirzapur & Robertsganj)

Performance of Parties in 2009

01 Seats

05 23

20

10 21

Polarisation card Polarization is not the exclusive card of the SP—even the Congress is making good use of it as was evinced in the Saharanpur episode featuring Congress candidate Imran

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

Contested

Seats

Vote share

SP

75

23

23.26 pc

BJP

71

10

17.50 pc

Congress

69

21

18.25 pc

BSP

80

20

27.42 pc

Party

RLD

07

05

03.27 pc

Independents

563

`01

04.52 pc

Other parties

503

00

05.78 pc

Masood. An old video which showed Masood using derogatory language for Modi and in the end threatening to cut Modi into pieces surfaced a day before Rahul was to visit Saharanpur. To avoid any embarrassment first it

he Lok Sabha election 2014 is being fought on personalities rather than issues making it more like US presidential contest, not the parliamentary one our Constitution stipulates. The BJP is the main culprit in this seeming change in the sense that it is not fighting elections ‘on issues’ but ‘for the sake of Modi’. Ask any BJP worker, and he/she will tell, we want Modi to be made the prime minister. In our parliamentary system people do not elect a prime minister but a representative of their constituency, and these representatives later choose their leader. If such a leader happens to be the leader of the majority party or coalition, he becomes the PM. But the BJP narrative is, we want Modi as the PM at any cost—no matter we have to field tainted candidates, or induct candidates from other parties or blatantly judge winnability on caste lines. In case the party falls short of the requisite number in order to form a government at the Centre, there may be parties wanting to extend support to the BJP to lead the coalition. But without Modi would the party having the requisite number refuse to stake its claim to form a government? If one looks back in history a little when the countrymen were in angst at repeated change of prime minister during the Morcha government— even the BJP had to cobble a very big coalition to come to power—many political thinkers had suggested that the US-system would be better for India to give stability at the Centre. Several US diplomats and think tanks were behind this idea. Now we find that our parliamentary election is

T

was decided that Rahul will not visit Saharanpur, but then, not only did he go there, but he also presented Masood’s wife on the stage making a tearful appeal in support of her ‘innocent’ husband. The people who have their ears to the ground say, Muslims may again vote for the Congress party, this being the crucial national election. But many believe Muslim votes would get divided among BSP, Congress, SP and even AAP in some seats. This is music to the BJP ears. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati also loses no chance to lure Muslims. The BSP has astutely designed a strategy to forge a


UTTAR PRADESH

SHRINKING FAST IN UP going the US way without our being aware of it. Though the Congress has not officially declared Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate, going by the spirit of the Constitution of India, enough hints are floated that he alone would be the prime minister if the elections throw a result favouring the UPA. This change in Indian system is being forced by the BJP which conducts its entire election campaign using enormous financial resources (declared ad-expenses alone is Rs 400 crore; besides hundreds of mega rallies, each estimated to cost from Rs 5 crore to Rs 30 crore, depending upon the size are also held). Interestingly, projection of Modi in larger than life image has invited Modi-bashing in equal force. But there could not have been a different outcome. In UP also every party—the BSP, SP, Congress, RLD and lately the AAP—is targeting Modi personally rather than the BJP. All these parties have their own take on why Modi should be defeated. Most leaders, more specifically the AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal, have tried to expose the propaganda about the Gujarat development model. Kejriwal accused Modi of not responding to any of the issues he had been raising, especially about doubling the natural gas price and from where he was getting the enormous funds for organising his mammoth rallies. The Delhi High Court order to the Home Ministry and the Election Commission to take action against the BJP and the Congress for allegedly accepting illegal foreign funding has given credibility to the charges the AAP keeps on leveling. The AAP’s stand was also BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi vindicated by the Election Commission’s order to halt after an election rally in Bareilly (PTI photo) the doubling of gas price till the elections were over. Kejriwal also asks other disturbing questions to Modi like why he was still retaining two tainted ministers in his cabinet. One of them has been in jail. Not surprisingly the BJP is jittery about the AAP, fearing it may turn out to be a big spoilsport in its electoral plan and encourages its fringe groups to make egg or ink attacks on its leaders. The way the overall situation in UP is changing fast it seems the final BJP tally would shrink to around 22-25 seats despite media hype and surveys many of which have been found to be paid ones. Even otherwise political observers remind that there is simmering discontent within the BJP owing to the new culture in the party to sideline its senior leaders like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and Jaswant Singh. Senior party leaders in Uttar Pradesh do admit anger in the ranks, adding that the resentment has not escalated so far due to the clout of the BJP state in-charge Amit Shah and his proximity to prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. ‘Unless the tension is defused at the earliest, it is likely to cost us badly,’ said a state party leader.<

coalition of Muslims, Brahmins and Dalits for the coming election. With her Dalit vote base remaining largely intact, she would expect to increase her tally in western UP where a strong anti-SP feeling runs high among Muslims in the aftermath of the riots. She has put up as candidates maximum number of Muslims from western UP areas affected by the Muzaffarnagar riots. The list includes some riot accused also making her party

no different from the BJP which has done the same. This on the other hand has become yet one more alibi for the BJP to seek more support for Modi. But the BSP has grand strategy in place in terms of cobbling caste groups: she has fielded 21 Brahmin candidates, the maximum number by any party. She intends to replicate on the back of DalitMuslim-Brahmin alliance the performance of 2007 assembly elections. Meanwhile a prominent cleric

Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan has announced his support for the BSP on the ground that it alone can defeat the BJP. He mentioned that a survey was conducted to find out the ground reality. She specifically mentions the BJP and the SP as being ‘communal’ leaving out the Congress from this charge, and says her party was prepared to emerge as one that could ‘balance power’ at the Centre, keeping a door open for post-poll arrangement.<

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WORLD

POST-POLL SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME IN AFGHANISTAN The presidential elections in Afghanistan are taking place at a juncture soon after which the US-NATO forces are scheduled to withdraw from the warravaged country leaving the onerous job of tackling the Taliban menace to the newly-elected leaders. By Lokayat Correspondent

oincident as it may seem, while India’s general elections commence on April 7, Afghanistan’s presidential poll will take place on April 5. However the Afghan presidential election process is expected to be a longer affair as preelection surveys indicate that there may not be a clear verdict with 50 percent vote in favour of any of the candidates, and a second round may become necessary. The incumbent president Hamid Karzai, who has been in office since 2001, is ineligible due to term limitation under that country’s constitution. There are nine contestants in the fray. Initially 27 candidates had filed their papers, but two, including Hamid Karzai’s brother Abdul Qayoum Karzai, withdrew and 16 others were disqualified. Of the contestants now in the field three front-runners are, exforeign minister Dr Abdullah Abdullah, a former World Bank expert, Ashraf Ghani and another ex-foreign minister

C

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Dr Zalmai Rassoul in whose favour Qayum Karzai withdrew from the contest. Rassoul’s vice presidential candidate is Habiba Sarabi, who is the lone woman candidate in the electoral fray. She is facing the ire of Taliban extremists who have threatened to disrupt the electoral process. In the last week of March five militants demonstrated their intent by indulging in a gun-battle for several hours in the Election Commission office in Kabul and killed five people. Elections are happening in a crucial year when after almost 13 years’ security mission in Afghanistan, the America-led NATO forces are scheduled to pull out. A Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) has been drawn up (but not signed) under which the US will continue to conduct counter-terrorism operations in that country, will train 350,000 Afghan army and police personnel, supply weapons and other support systems to Afghan army in extraordinary situations involving risk to the life and property of US personnel and lastly,

American troops will not be subject to any action under Afghan law. All USNATO forces, except about 8,000 to 12,000 personnel, have to be withdrawn by December 31 next. When the terms of the BSA were drawn up, president Karzai had consented to ratify it after the Loya Jirga’s (parliament’s) approval. However, later he declined to sign it


WORLD

Afghanistan’s presidential candidate and former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul, left, and Habiba Sarabi, one of Rassoul’s vice-presidents, right, wave to supporters during an election campaign (PTI photo)

saying that his successor to be elected in the April poll will take the final call on this. Lately, Karzai’s relationship with president Obama has come under severe strain. The Afghan president recently described America’s development effort and support to his country as that of a ‘colonial power’. The Washington-Kabul ties became

messier particularly after America imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia following latter’s annexation of Crimea. On the other hand, Kabul-Moscow ties seem to be getting cozier to the discomfort and annoyance of the US. Karzai justified Russian annexation of Crimea citing exercise of ‘free will of the Crimean people.’

The situation looks pretty complex: just as American ‘occupation’ in Afghanistan is about to end, it looks as though Russia is about to return there (after the humiliating defeat and losing some 15,000 Soviet troops, over 25 years ago) with a series of investment proposals. Russia is already planning projects and development works in the Karzai land.<

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WORLD

EUROPE’S BORDER

REDRAWN AGAIN Relentless street protests in Ukraine and the government’s attempt to crush them inevitably split that country and Crimea, its autonomous Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, southern region, chose to left, after signing an agreement (PTI photo) secede and join the Russian federation. Most countries in the world see it as an act of annexation by Russia, though it justifies the measure as a consequence of the West’s interference in the internal affairs of its neighbour. The West countered Russia by imposing mild sanctions against it, and said they might be upgraded to deeper level if Russia continued to threaten Ukraine. It looks as though the hideous era of the cold war is returning. By MR Dua

he border of Europe has changed once again. On March 18, a day after an unconstitutional referendum carried out under the shadow of Russian troops showed that over 96.6 per cent of people in Crimea, the southern peninsula of Ukraine, wanted to secede, president Putin made it an integral part of the Russian federation. No gunshots were fired as a 25,000-strong Russian army seized the strategically important Ukrainian province. Amidst threat of sanctions by the West, both the houses of Russian parliament approved Crimea’s merger in Russia. It is worthwhile to recall that Crimea had been transferred from Russia to Ukraine republics in 1954 by the then Communist Party chief Nikita Khrushchev,

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Russia continued to maintain even long after Yanukovych was deposed by a protesting mob that he was still the elected President of Ukraine. Similarly, when a referendum was taken in Crimea under the shadow of Russian troops and it overwhelmingly ‘favoured’ merger in Russia, the US disputed the legality of the step as the Ukrainian constitution did not provide for any plebiscite. All members of the United Nations Security Council also voted against the referendum; China, however, abstained. Russia anyhow ignored the world opinion and vetoed the resolution.


WORLD

It was essentially partisan politics, rigged elections, corruption and ‘ultra-nationalist mobocracy’ which led to the disintegration of Ukraine. It is a lesson for all emerging and developing democracies.

himself an Ukrainian by birth, while celebrating the 300th anniversary of Ukraine joining the Russian empire. When Ukraine became an independent, sovereign democratic nation in 1991 following the Soviet Union’s disintegration, Russia lost Crimea also, but it always remained in the ‘hearts and minds’ of Russians. Ukraine’s troubles started with political mismanagement of the newly independent country leading to dire financial situation. The European Union offered an economic bailout with some riders that included Kiev joining the EU. President Putin frowned upon president Yanukovych’s move to accept the offer. When Russia made a counter offer of $15 billion aid, Yanukovych promptly refused the EU package. But the Russian gambit infuriated a section of Ukrainians who always wanted to be in the highly beneficial EU-fold; they, therefore, started strong protest demonstrations which lasted for over four months and invited brutal police reprisals. Nearly 100 people were killed during the turmoil. The military refused to intervene even when the protesters occupied the presidential mansion and parliament. President Yanukovych fled

the country and took shelter in Moscow. Ukraine’s parliament quickly revived the old constitution and interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced fresh presidential elections (which will take place on May 25). Worried at the developments in Ukraine and its own hostile environment, Russia acted fast and sent army into Crimea on the pretext of

The lame duck Indian government of Manmohan Singh failed to respond properly to the Ukrainian development. It supported the ‘legitimate interests of Russia’, and desisted from showing any displeasure at the annexation of Crimea through the device of an ‘illegal’ referendum while it should have examined the issue in the light of its own position vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir. Diplomats felt that India did not want to go against Russia because the latter had stood by it through thick and thin in the past. protecting 60 per cent Russian-speaking people there. Ukraine’s new leaders pledged to defend the country to the last soldier, but it provoked Russia to replenish its forces further and hold a referendum to gauge people’s wish to join the Russian federation. The referendum was challenged in the UN Security Council where all members except China opposed the Moscow-engineered measure; anyway the consensus UN resolution was vetoed by Russia. Putin lost no time in following up, once the referendum gave

a green signal to Crimea joining the Russian federation. It was formally done on March 18. As Putin succeeded in his objective of merging Crimea in Russia, the US, the European Union, several former Soviet constituent nations and some Baltic states felt threatened by Russia’s growing hunger for extending its sphere of influence. Ukraine’s interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has expressed his apprehension of Russian intentions. Particularly concerned are small countries like Latvia, Moldova, Estonia, and Lithuania. Annexation of Crimea has been described as an attack on the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries, as well as a breach of the UN charter. The G-8 nations have already expelled Russia from its membership and G-7 nations have refused to recognize Crimea’s merger in Russia. The West has also imposed sanctions on people close to Putin; the US has frozen assets of seven Russian officials and four Ukrainians. These steps are just symbolic, but if Russia continues to be aggressive towards Ukraine, deeper sanctions may follow. However, any further resolution on sanctions if introduced in the UN Security Council would be vetoed by Russia. While Britain, Germany and France are planning enhanced measures, Russia has warned of counter-sanctions like cutting off energy supplies to western countries which are dangerously dependent on them. The lame duck Indian government of Manmohan Singh failed to respond properly to the Ukrainian development. It supported the ‘legitimate’ action of Russia taken in its own national interest and desisted from showing displeasure at Crimea’s annexation through the device of an ‘illegal’ referendum while it should have examined the issue in the light of its own position vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir. Diplomats felt that India did not want to go against Russia because the latter had stood by it through thick and thin in the past.<

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MADHYA PRADESH

MP GOING THROUGH ELECTION FATIGUE

BJP leader Narendra Modi with MP chief minister Shivraj Chauhan during an election rally at Satona in Madhay Pradesh (PTI photo)

The rivalry between Modi and Chouhan keeps cropping up from time to time. It was seen during the drama over the party’s refusal to let Advani contest from Bhopal instead of Gandhinagar. If Advani was allowed to contest from Bhopal the state would have turned into a refuge for Modi baiters with Sushma Swaraj already in fray in Vidisha. By Lokayat Correspondent

f there is anything called election fatigue Madhya Pradesh is going through it. Two back-to-back elections spread over six months can cheer the politicians. However, they can drain

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

the mind and pocket of the voter in a state like Madhya Pradesh that has been in the election mode since August last. While chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan began his month-long Jana Aashirvad Yatra in August for November assembly elections. His

adversaries in the Congress started off late. But the state has hardly had a month’s breather from the cacophony since August. Chouhan has criss-crossed the state twice. Narendra Modi has visited the state 15 times since he was introduced in September as the BJP’s prime


MADHYA PRADESH ministerial candidate. He has also said all that was to be said to the state electorate. In such situation very few are willing to trust the diverse assessments made through pre-election surveys. Yet the elections arouse both curiosity and concern. While Chouhan and Modi are comrades in arms they are also perceived as rivals. While they teamed up well to ensure a comprehensive victory for the BJP in the assembly elections, the mood in the party is not the same for the Lok

Uma Bharti reacted angrily to reports in local newspapers about her protest at being fielded from Jhansi. She has vowed not to campaign in Madhya Pradesh where she led the party to a stunning victory in 2003 assembly election.

: 29 : 19 : 06 : 04

Total seats General Seats SC seats ST seats

Total electors

4.661 crore Young voters (18-29 yrs)

: 32.59 pc Poll Schedule: 1st Phase : 10th April : 09 seats (Satna, Rewa, Sidhi, Shahdol, Jabalpur, Mandla, Balaghat, Chhindwara & Hoshangabad) 2nd Phase

: 17th April : 10 seats (Morena, Bhind, Gwalior,

Guna, Sagar, Tikamgarh, Damoh, Khajuraho, Bhopal & Rajgarh) 3rd Phase

: 24th April : 10 seats (Vidisha, Dewas, Ujjain,

Mandsour, Ratlam, Dhar, Indore, Khargone, Khandwa & Betul)

Performance of Parties in 2009 Seats

1 Elected

Party

Sabha elections. Perhaps once the party settles issues regarding the resentment over nominations or the arrivals and departures from the party it might get into the campaign mode in right earnest. The Congress recorded its second worst performance in the assembly despite a healthy four per cent rise in vote. At least 35 of its candidates lost despite securing over 95,000 votes. The debutant voters and heavy turnout at the polling booths meant 41.44 lakh additional votes for the Congress. But it ended up 13 seats down from its past strength of 71. If the Congress can ensure an even spread of votes it can do much better than the present projections. But the BJP’s claims to sweep all 29 Lok Sabha seats sound preposterous given the tussle within the party. The BJP had won 16 and Congress 12 seats in 2009 elections with one seat going to the Bahujan Samaj Party. While the Congress appears to have regrouped after the assembly fiasco the ruling party is troubled by growing resentment over Modi’s style of

12

16

functioning. The Congress factionalism has not vanished since the assembly debacle. But, with most faction-heads tied to their Lok Sabha constituencies the Congress hopes to perform better. It has fielded Laxman Singh, the younger brother of Digvijaya Singh from Vidisha against Sushma Swaraj. The Congress has had its embarrassing moments. It had announced its first of 20 candidates long before the BJP. But the BJP engineered the defection of Bhagirath Prasad its candidate from Bhind, a former IAS officer. He is now contesting on a BJP ticket.

Won Vote share

BJP

29

16

43.45 %

Congress

28

12

40.14 %

BSP

28

01

05.85 %

SP

18

00

02.83 %

Independents

213

00

04.91 %

Other parties

113

00

02.82 %

The Congress party has tried to match BJP trick for trick. It retaliated by getting the food minister Vijay Shah’s elder Ajay Shah to defect to its fold shortly afterwards. Ajay is being fielded at Betul. Congress has won over two important BSP leaders Ramdayal Prabhakar from Bhind and Baijnath Kushwaha of Morena. But the party has no explanation to offer over the absence of a Muslim candidate in its list of 29. To know what affects the BJP’s performance one needs to take a look at the recent turmoil in the party over Modi’s growing impatience with the party elders.

APRIL, 2014 LOKAYAT |

23


MADHYA PRADESH

If the national-level selection been dominated by the trio of Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley the state selection has been influenced largely by the trio of Chouhan, Narendra Tomar and Arvind Menon the organisation secretary loaned to the party by RSS.

The rivalry between Modi and Chouhan keeps cropping up from time to time. It was seen during the drama over the party’s refusal to let Advani contest from Bhopal instead of Gandhinagar. In rejecting Advani’s request the party (read Modi) has also handed a message to Chouhan who invited the patriarch to contest from Bhopal. He has been effectively conveyed not to see himself as another power centre within the party. Chouhan has been repositioning himself after the party’s third successive victory in the assembly elections. But he is still not part of the party’s central parliamentary board. If Advani was allowed to contest from Bhopal the state would have turned into a refuge for Modi baiters with Sushma Swaraj already in fray in

24

| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

election. She continues to have a sway over a large number of seats where Lodhi voters are in a majority. When she broke away from the party to form Bhartiya Jana Shakti party she took with her 5 per cent votes affecting the BJP’s results. The party might need her to campaign in Lodhimajority constituencies like Damoh, Tikamgarh, Guna, Khajuraho and Satna. In the assembly elections she had addressed more than 60 meetings in the state and that was reflected on the results. If the nationallevel selection been dominated by the trio of Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi and Arun Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi addressing at an election campaign Jaitley the state rally for Lok Sabha elections in Satna, selection has been Madhya Pradesh (PTI photo) influenced largely by the trio of Vidisha. Advani has protested against Chouhan, Narendra Tomar and Arvind the party turning Modi-centric. His Menon the organisation secretary pronouncements and Swaraj’s loaned to the party by RSS. The party opposition to compromises being has snubbed at least nine ministers of made in inducting tainted leaders in the state who had demanded tickets for the party have stirred up controversies. their relatives. The resentment is still Former chief minister Uma simmering. Bharti’s frequent run-ins with The party was also embarrassed by Chouhan and state BJP president the recent arrest of an income tax Narendra Singh Tomar also affect the deputy commissioner Poonam Rai party. Bharti was banished to UP at the while taking a bribe of Rs 10,000. instance of Chouhan and Tomar who Rai’s husband Ganesh Malviya who have undermined all her efforts to find was also caught by the CBI sleuths a foot-hold in Madhya Pradesh and was a member of Narendra Modi’s have used every opportunity to election cell. Incidentally the CBI laid embarrass her. a trap for Malviya, the agency, She reacted angrily to reports in ironically, was acting on a complaint local newspapers about her protest at of another state BJP leader, Rajesh being fielded from Jhansi. Bharti has Bhadoria, convener of cultural cell of vowed not to campaign in Madhya the state BJP unit. The incident Pradesh where she led the party to a exemplifies both corruption and intrastunning victory in 2003 assembly party wrangles.<


HIMACHAL PRADESH

WILL VIRBHADRA STEM MODI WAVE ? By Jyoti Thakur

very time an election approaches the old war horse Virbhadra Singh appears to get infused with an extra ton of energy. True to his nature the Himachal CM became surcharged once again recently, fought tooth and nail with his rivals in the Congress and got nominated all four

E

Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh from the Mandi constituency. In 2009, Maheshwar had lost by a slender margin of about 10,000 votes from Mandi and after his exit, the BJP fared badly here in by-election in June 2013. Worse still, giving a jolt to the BJP one of its three sitting MPs, Rajan Sushant quit the party and joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to contest against the saffron party candidate and

PK Dhumal (BJP)

Virbhadra Singh (Congress)

Maheshwar Singh (HLP)

Shanta Kumar (BJP)

former chief minister Shanta Kumar from Kangra. The Aam Aadmi Party here has not been able to acquire the momentum it seems to have generated in a few states outside Delhi, but after it received the backing of the HLP on all the four seats, the anti-graft champion AAP is expected to make a good show in terms of votes. The HLP chief Maheshwar Singh said that with his party’s support the AAP would be able to present a third alternative in the state for the first time. To avoid split in the non-BJP and non-Congress votes, the HLP would not field any candidate in the state. The HLP too had come into existence on anti-graft plank raising voice against alleged corruption of Prof Dhumal’s regime. Maheshwar Singh was a sitting BJP legislator from Kullu when ahead of the 2012 Assembly elections he resigned from the party and along with former assembly speaker Radha Raman Shastri and two former ministers—Shyama Sharma and Mohinder Sofat—formed the new party. The BJP was in power in the state during the 2009 Lok Sabha poll and had won three—Kangra, Shimla and Hamirpur—out of four seats polling 49.58 per cent votes. It was ousted in the 2012 Assembly poll and its vote share also shrunk to 38.47 per cent. The Congress got 45.61 percent of the total votes polled in the 2009 Lok

Lok Sabha candidates of his choice. This job done, Virbhadra has now single-handedly taken on the BJP in the hill state which goes to the poll on May 7. A pre-poll survey showing chances of the BJP returning to power at the Centre has lifted the morale of its workers but the so-called ‘Modi wave’ does not appear to be giving any advantage to the party in Himachal. The BJP’s hopes of bringing back its breakaway group, the Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) led by Maheshwar Singh failed despite strenuous efforts. It wanted to field Maheshwar Singh against the Congress candidate and Virbhadra

APRIL, 2014 LOKAYAT |

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HIMACHAL PRADESH Sabha elections and 42.81 per cent in 2012 as compared to 39.54 per cent in the assembly elections in 2007. On the other hand, the BJP got a vote percentage of 38.47 compared to 43.78 in the 2007 elections, reducing its legislators from 41 to 26. Having lost its ‘Mission Repeat’ in the 2012 assembly poll, the BJP’s challenge this time is to retain the three LS seats it won in 2009. It has to be seen how much the perceived Modi wave would help the party to maintain the previous record. The BJP candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections are Shanta Kumar (Kangra) who is taking on the Congress’ Chander Kumar, Virender Kashyap (Shimla) who is pitted against the Congress’ Mohan Lal Brakta, Anurag Thakur (Hamirpur) who is taking on the Congress’ Rajinder Rana and Ram Swaroop Sharma who is contesting against the sitting Congress MP and chief minister’s wife Pratibha Singh. Kangra parliamentary constituency is the weakest for the BJP as it has only one MLA in the 13- assembly seat segment. Two BJP rebels elected as independents are supporting the Congress and, to add to BJP’s woes, the sitting MP Rajan Sushant has quit and joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). But after Shanta Kumar joined the contest, some of the rebels who unsuccessfully contested the assembly elections have returned to the BJP. The Mandi Lok Sabha by-election held in June 2013 was a jolt for the BJP as the Congress candidate and chief minister’s wife Pratibha Singh won the seat by a huge margin of 1.34 lakh votes. Now the BJP appears to have lost the battle already as it has not found a suitable candidate for this seat. The state general secretary of the BJP Ram Swaroop Sharma contesting an election for the first time is not expected to pose a serious challenge to Pratibha Singh. The BJP has only six out of 17 assembly seats in this parliamentary constituency—five in Mandi and one in Kullu. The BJP had won the Shimla Lok Sabha seat for the first time in

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

Total seats General Seats SC Seats

: 04 : 03 : 01

Total electors

: 46.74 lakh Young voters (18-25 yrs)

: 12.57 pc Poll Schedule:

Poll-date

: 7th May

: All 4 seats (Kangra, Mandi, Hamirpur and Shimla)

Performance of Parties in 2009 Seats

01 Party

03

2009 but retaining it also would be a herculean task. The party has only seven out of 17 MLAs in this constituency. It has only one (out of eight) seat in Shimla, three (out of five) in Solan and Sirmaur districts. However, the BJP is strong in Hamirpur which the Congress had won only once in the past 25 years; nevertheless the party’s vote share is on the decline. Its candidate Anurag Thakur won the Hamirpur Lok Sabha by-election in June 2008 by 1.72 lakh votes but the margin came down by 1 lakh in the 2009 general elections and in the 2012 assembly polls, the total lead of the party collectively in 17 assembly segments in this parliamentary constituency shrank to a meagre 22,000 votes. Statistically, the BJP is strongest in this constituency with nine out of 17 MLAs.

Contested Won Vote share

BJP

04

03

49.58 %

Congress

04

01

45.61 %

BSP

04

00

01.59 %

Independents

09

00

01.49 %

Other parties

10

00

01.73 %

Corruption has emerged as one of the main issues dominating Himachal politics in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections with both the Congress and the BJP exchanging graft charges now and then. Chief minister Virbhadra Singh and leader of the opposition Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal and their family members, have bitterly been trading corruption charges through media. Both parties accused each other of putting ‘Himachal on sale’ through controversial land deals. But questioning of Virbhadra Singh by the CBI in the last week of March about an alleged pay off of Rs 2.8 crore by a steel company has cheered the opposition parties. The AAP is taking credit for this as its leader Prashant Bhushan had initially written to the CBI director in this regard.<


HARYANA

WILL DIVIDED OPPOSITION HELP CONGRESS?

Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda campaigns for his son in Rohtak (PTI photo)

The Congress had recorded spectacular success in two successive Lok Sabha elections of 2004 and 2009, winning nine out of 10 Haryana seats. But from all reckoning it is going to be an uphill task for the Congress to repeat those splendid records as the party is grappling with a strong anti-incumbency current, desertions and bitter infighting. By Lokayat Correspondent

aryana voters are silent but eager to bring about some change through the poll that is to take place on April 10. Who will get the plum cake? To know that the electors will have to wait a little more than a month. For chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda who has to face assembly elections also later this year, the result of the current poll is extra-crucial. Just before the parliamentary elections he

H

suffered a big setback in as much as his closest friend and political associate for nearly a decade, former union minister and Ambala city legislator Venod Sharma, deserted the Congress and hobnobbed with the BJP, the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) and even the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Before him, the Gurgaon MP and former union minister Inderjit Singh had also quitted the Congress to join the BJP. Another legislator from Sohna (near Gurgaon), Dharamvir, announced his resignation as chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) of

the Congress and joined the BJP to contest the Lok Sabha election from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh. Were these the indications of a sinking Congress ship or the defections were engineered using the huge war chest that the BJP is said to have created with liberal help from corporate houses which hoped to make it up if Narendra Modi became the next prime minister? To make matters worse for the Congress the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also carried out a vigorous campaign raising numerous corruption charges giving added credence to the

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HARYANA general disenchantment of the people. If the Congress lost this time, it would be ironic for a party which had won nine out the 10 Lok Total Seats : 10 Sabha seats in two successive polls in 2004 and General Seats : 08 2009. Even Congress men thought signs were omiTotal electors SC Seats : 02 nous because many stalwarts showed reluctance to 1.56 crore contest. Kumari Selja, who was elected from Young voters (18-25 yrs) Ambala in 2004 and 2009, chose to go to the Rajya : 15.59 pc Sabha. The only hope for the Congress was that the Poll Schedule: opposition was fragmented among the BJP-HJC alliance, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BSP. 1st Phase : 10th April : All 10 seats (Ambala, Kurukshetra, Sirsa, The Congress party faced stiff challenges in at Hisar, Karnal, Sonepat, Rohtak, Bhiwani-Mahendragarh, Gurgaon least seven constituencies even as it banked heavily and Faridabad) on the CM’s home turf of Rohtak where his son Deepender Singh Hooda is the party candidate and Performance of Parties in 2009 adjoining Jat-dominant seat of Sonepat to avoid the ignominy of a complete washout. In the 1999 Lok Sabha poll even when the BJP Seats 01 and the INLD had forged an alliance and contested Contested Won Vote share Party five seats each, they failed to open their account. 12.09 pc 00 05 BJP While the BJP's vote share in 1999 was 12.09 per pc 41.77 09 10 Congress cent, the INLD had polled 15.77 per cent of the total pc 15.74 00 10 BSP votes cast. Compared to this the vote share of the pc 15.77 00 05 INLD Congress in 2009 and 2004 Lok Sabha polls were 02.62pc 00 113 Independents 41.77 and 42.13 per cent respectively. The data give 12.01 pc 01 67 Other parties a strong inkling that the badly divided opposition may have come to the Congress’ rescue despite the 09 media-hype about a Modi-wave. To the great relief of the Congress, the much-anticipated poll pact between the INLD and the BJP, failed to materialise. Interestingly, the INLD, which had unequivocally expressed support for Narendra Modi projected as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, put up candidates for all 10 seats. The saffron party which did not have any qualms about inducting former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, who was jailed in a mining scam case, was reluctant to have a tie-up with the INLD of Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay Singh Chautala, who are cooling their heels in Tihar Jail in Delhi in connection with a teachers' recruitment scandal. People attend AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal’s election campaign (PTI photo) Some political analysts believe that an INLD-BJP alliance

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014


HARYANA would have posed a credible challenge to the Congress.

BJP-HJC alliance intact The BJP chose to remain with former Congressman Kuldeep Bishnoi’s HJC, an urban-centric party like the BJP. Given their individual strengths in

ing Delhi. The party was hoping to get votes of the youth, educated class and a section of the middle class. Young voters in the state between 18 and 25 years constitute 15.59 percent and in this segment the polling percentage also remains higher. On the premise that this section

four key parameters—per capita income, per capita investment, per capita plan budget and resource mobilization—are concerned. As per the Planning Commission's report, Haryana achieved resource mobilisation of 192 per cent during the 11th Five Year Plan as compared to 95

BSP chief Mayawati addresses an election rally in Gurgaon (PTI photo)

different areas of Haryana, the BJP-HJC alliance has offered a tough fight to the Congress and the INLD on a number of seats. While the BJP was banking on Narendra Modi’s so-called appeal, its ally the HJC was eyeing non-Jat votes: caste equations mattered a lot in Haryana polls. The entry of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which fielded candidates on all 10 Lok Sabha seats after its good showing in Delhi in December last year, is seen as an x-factor in the electoral battle of Haryana. While the AAP’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal was born in Haryana and his family has ties in the state, Yogendra Yadav known as the main ideologue of the party is the AAP candidate for the Gurgaon seat, adjoin-

is overwhelmingly attracted towards the AAP, this fledgling party might be expected to make some mark in the Lok Sabha polls, but its real target is the assembly elections in October later this year. To bolster the Congress prospects in such a scenario, Hooda has been on a sop disbursal spree since November and been demanding votes in the name of his performance as chief minister in the last nine years. Hooda has several things to show: Haryana's economy grew at 6.9 per cent in 2013-14 against the country's growth of 4.9 per cent. The per capita income of Haryana continues to be the highest in the country. And Hooda claims to have done better than Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as far as

per cent at the national level and 96.5 per cent in Gujarat. ‘People talk about development in Gujarat but, in fact, Haryana is ahead of Gujarat in 50 development parameters and it is the second largest contributor of foodgrains to the central pool. Gujarat is at number six in per capita income,’ Hooda said recently. But the alleged corruption in recruitment for government jobs and controversial land deals, including those involving high profile people like Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, has cast the biggest shadow on the Congress prospects in Haryana with opposition parties including, the AAP, INLD and BJP, making it an issue of paramount importance.<

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PUNJAB

CONGRESS SPRINGS SURPRISE, FIELDS TOP GUNS

BJPs candidate from Amritsar Arun Jaitley and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal during an election rally

By Lokayat Correspondent

ince the shocking defeat in the 2012 Assembly elections, nothing has been going right for the Congress in Punjab. With cut-throat factionalism, poll-shy senior leaders and desertions to the ruling Akali Dal fold, demoralised party workers in the state were staring at yet another defeat in the instant Lok Sabha elections even before the fight actually began. But the dreary mood changed dramatically when the Congress high command sprang a surprise in the border state by fielding top leaders in order to give more than just a good fight and end the notion that its leaders were wary of fighting any more elections.

S

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

With the likes of former CM Capt Amarinder Singh from Amritsar, Ambika Soni from Anandpur Sahib, Partap Singh Bajwa from Gurdaspur and Congress-backed Manpreet Singh Badal from Bhathinda entering the fray, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)BJP combine knows that the coming poll is not going to be any walk-over. As a divided and demoralised Congress was showing lack of willingness to put up a fight, the SAD has been itching to inflict another defeat on the main opposition party months ahead of Lok Sabha elections. But the Congress surprise has left the ruling party virtually stunned. The Congress could not have chosen a more high-profile candidate than Amarinder for Amritsar where the saffron party's Arun Jaitley, widely seen as number two to prime minister-

Amarinder Singh has hit campaign trail by going ballistic against the Akalis' ‘high-handedness’ and ‘outsider Jaitley’. A gritty fighter, Amarinder knows that it is going to be a make-or-break battle for him as well as the party. A victory will resurrect his political career, a defeat will push him into sunset. As for now his unexpected nomination has lifted the morale of party workers across the state…. hopeful Narendra Modi, is making his electoral debut. And before the former chief minister's choice for Amritsar was made, the Akali's were so sure of winning the constituency that they convinced Jaitley to contest his firstever Lok Sabha election from the holy city. The SAD had lobbied hard with the BJP leadership for his candidature from the holy city to trump their bête noire and BJP's three-time MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, and promised to return Jaitley to parliament with the ‘highestever margin’.

Jaitley is fighting against history But that was before the Captain's entry. Jaitley is fighting against history as Amritsar, with 64 percent Sikh votes, has always gone in favour of


PUNJAB Sikh candidates. And, the 73-yearold Amarinder is a charismatic leader. His high-profile actions such as his resignation as the Congress MP in protest against Operation Bluestar in 1984 and termination of inter-state river waters sharing agreements as chief minister in 2004 still resonate with the Sikhs. Yet, a shrewd Amarinder is unlikely to play the Sikh card openly. What he will certainly pitch for is the issue of Jat reservation that he has been championing aggressively. Since Punjab Jats missed the bus because the Badal Government failed to introduce it first in state jobs, it is

Total Seats General Seats SC Seats

Congress leader Capt Amrinder Singh and his wife party leader Preneet Kaur at a function in Patiala (PTI photo)

: 13 : 09 : 04

Total electors

: 1.92 crore Young voters (18-29 yrs)

: 26.83 % Poll Schedule: : 30th April : All 13 seats (Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Khadoor Sahib, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Anandpur Sahib, Ludhiana, Poll Date

Fatehgarh Sahib, Faridkot, Firozpur, Bathinda, Sangrur and Patia)

Performance of Parties in 2009 Seats

01 Party

04 08

Contested Won

Vote share

Congress

13

08

45.23 %

Akali Dal

10

04

33.85 %

BJP

03

01

10.06 %

BSP

13

00

05.75 %

Independents

113

00

02.32 %

Other parties

66

00

02.79 %

lending the Captain heavy artillery to attack the SAD and dent its bastion among the Sikh peasantry. The unceremonious manner in which the Akalis edged out Sidhu, the BJP's most prominent Sikh face, because he had taken on chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Badal for alleged discrimination in the development of his constituency, has not gone down well in Amritsar. Not surprisingly, Amarinder hit his campaign trail by going ballistic against the Akalis' ‘highhandedness’ and ‘outsider Jaitley’. With his entry, Punjab's poll script has changed not only in Amritsar but elsewhere as well, as his candidature means the ruling Badals who will now be tied down in Amritsar and Bathinda, where Manpreet Singh Badal, the Congressbacked candidate and estranged nephew of the chief minister, is pitted against the sitting MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal, wife of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal. Though the Captain had initially shown reluctance to take the electoral plunge and instead shown willingness only for taking part in poll campaign, his unexpected nomination has lifted the morale of workers all over the state and put the party back in the reckoning for the 13 Lok Sabha seats of which it had won eight in 2009 elections as compared to SAD-BJP’s five. Factionalism was precisely the reason

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PUNJAB why Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa, and Capt Amarinder Singh were reluctant to contest election as they feared more damage from their rivals in the party than from opposition ranks. But with Amarinder and Bajwa contesting from adjoining Lok Sabha constituencies of Amritsar and Gurdaspur, it will be a matter of political compulsion for their supporters to work for the success of both the candidates. The choice of Ambika Soni was also dictated by internal feud against the incumbent MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, whom Rahul Gandhi had handpicked in the 2009 elections. Though the SAD is mocking the Congress strategy to field its top leaders, they know it will no longer be a cakewalk for them. ‘The Congress has shown its desperation by dragging its top leaders into the poll arena. But that won't change the poll outcome given the ground situation. The Congress' reluctant fighters won't prove great warriors’, said SAD general secretary Harcharan Bains. But apart from the Congress strategy, the SADBJP duo will also have to battle anti-incumbency in the state they are ruling for seven years now. The cash-strapped Badal government has so far failed to fulfill many of its 2009 poll promises; it is facing resentment over a number of other issues as well. Delay in payment of salaries, pensions and benefits under welfare schemes for the poor, imposition of property tax in urban areas, acute shortage of sand and gravel for construction projects even as Akalis are alleged to be patronizing the mining mafia and imposition of advance tax on traders are some of these issues which could cost the ruling combine dear. Parkash Singh Badal is wooing

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

Court gave verdict in favour of farmers in 2012 but the Modi government challenged it in the Supreme Court. AAP leaders put this issue in the backdrop of the comments made by chief minister Badal that Sikh farmers were happy in Gujarat. The AAP has fielded senior advocate Mild ripples by AAP Himmat Singh Shergill who is The Aam Aadmi Party may not pleading the farmers’ case in the win seats in Punjab, but it expects to Supreme Court against the Modi draw a good number government. of votes helping it Another candidate in Ludhiana to become a HS Phoolka has earned formidable national party. The reputation by seeking justice for the buzz is that it has Sikh victims of 1984 riots for two not impacted decades in various courts. Justice for people outside riot victims is a sensitive issue in Delhi: the ground Punjab which again caught the reality in Punjab is imagination of Sikhs when the that it has Kejriwal government ordered created establishment of SIT to probe these infamous riots, for which no politician has been punished so far. The AAP is facing its own share of dissent among party workers on candidates’ nomination: it had to change its nominee in Chandigarh. Now film actress Gul Panag is pitted against BJP’s Kirron Kher, also a Bollywood actress. AAP candidates are raising the issue of tainted BJP and Congress candidates against whom criminal Shaheed Shaheed Shaheed charges are pending in Rajguru Bhagat Singh Sukhdev courts. Trying to hard sell fy[k jgk g¡w eSa vatke vkt] ftldk dy vkxkt vk;sxk the dream of corruption-free esjs ygw dk gj ,d drjk bUdykc yk;sxk governance, they are driving eSa jgw¡ uk jgw¡ exj oknk gS rq>ls ;s esjk home the point that price esjs ckn oru is feVus okyksa dk lSykc vk;sxk rise can be controlled successfully by eliminating corruption. Because of corruption neither good a minute storm in the electoral tea cup schooling is available to children, nor of Modi by raising the issue of Sikh good healthcare to people, they farmers’ plight in Gujarat. The issue is emphasise. And last but not the least, associated with a few hundred farmers they are invoking the names of from Punjab, who had settled in Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev Kutch since 1965. The Gujarat and calling people to join the ongoing government froze their land revolutionary effort to usher in clean ownership in 2010. The Gujarat High politics.< voters in the name of benefits the state is likely to get if the NDA assumes office at the Centre; the chief minister knows he will have to count more on the much-hyped Modi wave for the current elections than his government's performance.


BIHAR

BIHAR IN TRIANGULAR ELECTORAL FRENZY

Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti challenges her chacha Ram Kripal Yadav who joined the BJP throwing to the wind all his secular credentials and dumped his association with his mentor Lalu Prasad Yadav for the sake of safe seat Patliputra for himself. (PTI photo)

The contest this time in Bihar is going to be a triangular one with three groupings—BJP-LJP-RLSP, Congress-RJD-NCP and JD (U)-Left—vying for electoral prizes with equal frenzy and hope. Corruption, communalism, special status for the state and economic development are the four major issues that are being raised in the political debate. But these may finally be overtaken by caste-community combinations, a peculiar feature of Bihar politics.

By Umanath

olitics in Bihar, a state where a World Bank report puts nearly 50 percent of the population below the poverty line, is strangely colourful, kaleidoscopic and weighed by money power. A rare three-cornered contest makes the coming Lok Sabha elections all the more exciting. While the three major political alliances are busy crafting strategies to strengthen hold on their mainstay constituencies and break rival’s strongholds to emerge on the top, disgruntled heavyweights in all parties find it the most opportune time to switch sides to prime their flagging political career. All this has made the electoral scenario dramatic and challenging for established parties as well as the fledgling Aam Aadmi Party. The forthcoming poll is indeed a matter of life and death for major protagonists like chief minister Nitish Kumar, former CM Lalu Prasad Yadav, former union cabinet minister and Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan and for the BJP which came out of the shadow of the domineering CM in June, 2013 after playing second fiddle to him for years. The BJP’s hopes rest on trumpeted and well-advertised appeal of Narendra Modi across the castes, particularly galvanising the upper castes around the party, and a possible split in minority votes between the RJD and the JD-U. The saffron party looks determined to make a dent in Nitish Kumar’s mainstay, the Mahadalit and Most Backward Caste vote bank. With Ramvilas Paswan’s opportunistic entry into the NDA fold, the BJP now hopes to garner some Dalit votes as well. Paswan’s caste alone accounts for about 4 percent of the total electorate. People privy to the

P

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BIHAR fast-changing social and political dynamics in Bihar say that Nitish, who has been championing the cause of the Dalit community, now cannot get their support the way it had during several previous elections. Yet Nitish fervently hopes, his government's development schemes and freebies for the deprived sections will not be forgotten by them. He has been taking on the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate upfront. He has raised the issue of special status to Bihar forcefully and recorded remarkably high economic growth rate, higher than Gujarat has. He is part of the third front, which is sure to play a major role in the government formation in New Delhi in the event of a fractured verdict. Nitish hopes for substantial support from the Muslim community as well. Meanwhile, Lalu Prasad's RJD counts on his Muslim-Yadav (MY) vote bank, which constitutes 16.5 and 13 percent respectively of the state population. Till 2005, minorities were with the RJD helping it to rule the state continuously for 15 years. Later Muslims started deserting Lalu Prasad and gravitating towards Nitish, resulting in the abysmal performance of the RJD in the 2009 parliamentary and 2010 assembly elections. The BJP’s plan to get more than 200 Lok Sabha seats on its own depends much on how it performs in UP and Bihar. Hence the party is sparing no efforts in both these states. Narendra Modi has addressed the maximum number of rallies in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The BJP knows well that it cannot do any wonder

34

| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

without the OBC support. Hence Modi in his addresses in Bihar and UP never forgets to impress upon the OBCs which he himself belongs to. He made overtures to the Yadavs, the most dominating caste among all OBCs in both these states by relating the Yaduvanshis (Yadavs) to Dwarka, a place in Gujarat. With a number of Yadav leaders, especially Lalu’s trusted lieutenant Ram Kripal Yadav joining the party, the BJP expects to make inroads into this community as well. The BJP’s prepoll tie-up with Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the fledgling Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) of Upendra Kushwaha may have an incremental effect on the BJP’s vote share in the state. Kushwaha whose caste Koeri accounts for around 4 percent of the state population may help the party in some pockets, especially in central Bihar like Nalanda, Motihari, Buxar, Patna and a few other districts. In the given political situation the BJP hopes for its best-ever tally in the state. In 2009 the NDA had won 32 seats (BJP-12, JDU-20) when Nitish was part of it and Lalu faced the worst-ever situation bagging just four seats-a big climb down from 22 in

2004. Things might have changed in Lalu’s favour after his alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party. Last time the RJD and the Congress had fought elections separately, notching 19.3 pc and 10.26 pc votes respectively. The alliance now offers a formidable challenge. Much depends, however, on the Muslims who are as yet undecided, especially since Nitish has put his political career at stake for the sake of secularism. Lalu may still remind that it was he who stopped LK Advani’s rath, but the mood has changed a lot since then. Upper castes—Brahmins, Rajputs, Bhumihars and Kayasthas-- that together account for nearly 13 percent votes, who had been disillusioned with the Nitish government, now find a viable alternative in the BJP. However 131 Other Backward Castes and 130-odd Extreme Backward Castes, who together make up around 65 percent of the population, will seal the fate of parties.

Tussle over tickets and turn-coats Meanwhile, all political parties are confronted by unseemly tussle over tickets. Old guards are upset, accusing parties of ignoring them and favouring turn-coats. The BJP faces the biggest challenge in containing such elements after it joined hands with Ram Vilas Paswan and Upendra Kushwaha in the state, as party cadre’s aspirations for the 25 seats vacated by the JD-U


BIHAR

Total Seats General Seats SC Seats ST seats

: : : :

40 34 06 00

Total electors

: 6.21 crore Young voters (18-25 yrs)

: 15.86 pc Poll Schedule: 1st Phase : 10th April : 06 seats (Sasaram, Karakat, Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada & Jamui) 2nd Phase

: 17th April : 07 seats (Munger, Nalanda, Patna

Sahib, Pataliputra, Arrah, Buxar & Jehanabad) 3rd Phase

: 24th April : 07 seats (Supaul, Araria, Kishanganj,

Katihar, Purnia, Bhagalpur & Banka) 4th Phase

: 30th April : 07 seats (Madhubani, Jhanjharpur,

Madhepura, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Begusarai & Khagaria) : 7th May

5th Phase

: 07 seats (Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Muzaf-

farpur, Maharajganj, Saran, Hajipur & Ujiarpur) 6th Phase

: 12th May

: 06 seats (Valmiki Nagar, Paschim

Champaran, Purvi Champaran, Vaishali, Gopalganj & Siwan)

Performance of Parties in 2009 Seats

02

Party

02

12

20

Contested Won

Vote share

JD-U

25

20

24.04 pc

RJD

28

04

19.21 pc

BJP

15

12

13.93 pc

Congress

37

02

10.26 pc

LJP

12

00

06.55 pc

BSP

39

00

04.42 pc

Independents

304

02

12.12 pc

Other parties

212

00

09.47 pc

04 were high. The anger among several prominent leaders was so great that they refused to attend Narendra Modi’s rally. The new entrants who emerged front-runners made the situation much worse. Among them the former RJD MP Ramkripal Yadav is fielded in Patliputra against Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharati, who still calls

him ‘chacha’. Similarly, former home secretary R K Singh has been given ticket from Ara, former petroleum sectary R S Pandey from West Champaran, Bhojpuri singer-actor Manoj Tiwari from Buxar, Putul Singh from Banka, Sushil Singh from Aurangabad, Om Prakash Yadav from Siwan, and Ajay Nishad from

Muzaffarpur. Altogether around a dozen new entrants have succeeded in getting BJP tickets, besides 10 seats allotted to the LJP of Paswan and the RLSP of Kushwaha. The BJP was in a quandary when yoga guru Ramdev reportedly sought the Patliputra seat for one of his aides, but the party somehow managed to assuage the Baba. The JD-U of Nitish Kumar is also facing similar problem. Former RJD leaders Ghulam Ghous and Devender Yadav recently joined the party creating a flutter among its ticket seekers. The joining of four more RJD leaders—former minister Shakuni Choudhary, Ganesh Yadav, Abu Qaiser and Suresh Mehta-- made matters worse. Fearing rebellion in the party, Nitish did not attempt to expand his ministry although several portfolios were lying vacant ever since he severed his relations with the BJP in June 2013. Recently, when Parveen Amanullah, the sole woman minister in his cabinet resigned to join the AAP, he abruptly inducted Lessi Singh as substitute to silence his critics that there was no place for women in his government and announced that full expansion of the ministry would be made after the Lok Sabha poll. The anti-graft Aam Aadmi Party has not been able to make its presence felt in Bihar; however, it plans to contest all 40 seats. Ajit Kumar Singh, a district convener of the AAP, says: ‘It is true the party is short of funds and other resources, our volunteers are non-political and inexperienced; so our activities would not be visible to the media. But our volunteers are visiting every home. We have found that the mood among young voters is one of anger. They are disillusioned with the corrupt political system run on tonnes of black money. So they are likely to vote for AAP candidates.’ The party got a shot in the arm recently when several reputed citizens, including the social welfare minister Parveen Amanullah, joined the AAP.<

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JHARKHAND

KITH, KIN AND CAPRICIOUSNESS DOMINATE JHARKHAND POLL Jharkhand’s electoral politics has remained badly fractured. If we look at the figures of 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the independents and unrecognized parties walked away with 37 percent of the total votes cast, whereas the two national parties, the Congress and the BJP together could get only 42.55 percent votes. Will the picture change this time? The answer till today is emphatic ‘no’.

Yashwant Sinha, former union finance and foreign minister, known for forthright articulation of his stand on national issues as well as his party’s deviant attitudes, chose to remain away from the electoral fray this time. Many feel he has been sidelined by the coterie in the party working in close association with Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh.

By Lokayat Correspondent

he political picture in Jharkhand is as bewildering this time as it has always been. Kith and kin of all top leaders monopolise the electoral scene and party’s capricious decisions becoming hot cake for chatterati. Switching sides, volatility, betrayal and greed for power are on full display. That is why the state in 13 years of its existence has seen as many as 9 governments and despite possessing huge natural resources next only to Chhattisgarh, it remains poor. To utter surprise, Yashwant Sinha, who always spoke against dynastic politics, managed a ticket for his son Jayant from Hazaribagh, preferring to

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

stay away from the fray. Former union minister Subodh Kant Sahay, facing coal scam charges, has again been given ticket by the Congress from Ranchi. Making the fray more interesting—two former CMs of the state—JVM chief Babulal Marandi and JMM supremo Shibu Soren are well poised to stump each-other from Dumka, making it the most keenly watched fight in the state. It was Babulal Marandi’s guru Shibu Soren who had represented Dumka in 1980, 1989, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2009. Since Marandi had been maintaining his unwillingness to contest Lok Sabha election, his sudden plunge in the national fray took all by surprise. It is worth-mentioning that Marandi had in 1998 defeated senior

Soren and the next year his wife Rupi Soren. But both the times, he was a BJP nominee. Leading the BJP from the front in 1998, he had even won for the party 12 of the state’s 14 Lok Sabha seats. However, the first CM of the state Marandi parted ways to form his own party when he was replaced by his bête-noire and present party president Rajnath Singh’s protégé Arjun Munda in 2003. Presently Marandi represents Koderma constituency where political observers find that the CPI-ML has expanded its base making things awful for the former CM. While, Marandi is known for his clean image, Soren has been named in several scams. Still, Soren, also father of the present CM Hemant Soren, is the most influential leader in the state across the board.


JHARKHAND Coming back to Yashwant Sinha, people close to him say that the former union foreign and finance minister was in a fix over his own candidature till

Total Seats General Seats SC Seats ST seats

: : : :

he comes to know how Modi acts and reacts to his seniors in the party in case he becomes the PM. However, Jayant’s own profile is impressive. Apart from

29 19 06 04

Total electors

1.995 crore Young voters (18-29 yrs)

: 32.59 pc Poll Schedule: 1st Phase : 10th April Lohardaga & Palamu)

: 4 seats (Chatra, Kodarma,

2nd Phase

: 6 seats (Giridih, Ranchi, Jamshedpur,

: 17th April

Singhbhum, Khunti & Hazaribagh) 3rd Phase

: 24th April

: 4 seats (Rajmahal, Dumka,

Godda & Dhanbad)

Performance of Parties in 2009 Seats

01

Party

02 08

02 01

the last moment, as working under Narendra Modi whom he had publicly criticised earlier would be very tough for him. However, Sinha changing his stance later supported Modi’s candidature vociferously for the PM. Known for speaking his mind uninhibitedly, Sinha preferred to field his son Jayant instead. However, this move was opposed by party workers and leaders for obvious reasons. People in the power corridor say that Yashwant may opt for Rajya Sabha route once the picture after Lok Sabha elections is clear and

Contested Seats Vote share

BJP

12

08

27.53 pc

BSP

14

00

03.52 pc

Congress

09

01

15.02 pc

RJD

06

00

05.33 pc

JMM

08

02

11.70 pc

Independents

100

02

11.12 pc

Other parties

100

01

25.78 pc

being an MBA from the Harvard Business School, he had also done his B-Tech from the IIT, Delhi. He also has an MS degree in energy management and policy from the University of Pennsylvania. However, despite the perceived and much-hyped Modi wave, Jharkhand is not going to be smooth ride for the saffron party, as the Congress, the JMM and Lalu Prasad’s RJD have stitched a strong alliance with Congress contesting eight, the JMM four and the RJD two seats. In such circumstances, sources say that

the party wanted to re-induct Babulal Marandi pursuing the policy to bring all leaders back to the party fold who had deserted it due to whatever reasons. But efforts did not succeed due to Arjun Munda’s unrelenting opposition. Munda’s stubborn attitude has created many dissidents in the party, recently forcing Godda MP Nishikant Dubey, an MBA from FMS, DU, to go all out against him. Senior BJP leader and Lok Sabha deputy speaker Karia Munda representing Khunti, also finds himself out of loop in party’s decision making process. Giving due credit to the devil, under Munda’s leadership, BJP had won 8 out of the total 14 LS seats in 2009 elections. But, following the resignation of Arjun Munda (BJP MP from Jamshedpur) in 2011 to become CM, the Jamshedpur seat was wrested by former IPS officer Ajay Kumar of JVM. The JD-U is also in the fray with MCC led by former MP A K Roy, CPI and CPM in the state. The JD-U has been given eight seats—Giridih, Palamu, Khunti, Gonda, Singhbhum, Lohardaga, Jamshedpur and Koderma. The CPI has fielded its candidates on three seats including Hazaribagh and Dumka. The CPI-M would contest in Ranchi and Rajmahal. The MCC has been given Dhanbad. With the Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM) with its MLA Bandhu Tirkey and the Rashtriya Kalyan Paksha (RKP) with its MLA Chamra Linda merging with the TMC of the Mamta Banerjee, it hopes to give a tough contest on some seats. Strong leaders like Tirkey getting Lok Sabha ticket from Ranchi and Linda from Lohardaga have potential to disturb the electoral arithmetic of JMMCongress-RJD’s ruling combine. Giving yet one more jolt to the JMM, the food and civil supplies minister Simon Marandi quit the party in protest against his son Dinesh William Marandi being denied a ticket from Rajmahal.<

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WEST BENGAL

AFTER ANNA FIASCO, DIDI PLUMPS FOR ‘STAR’ POWER

Anna Hazare supporters during Trinamool Congress party’s Jantantra Rally at Ramlila Ground (PTI photo)

After the Anna-Mamata jugalbandi failed to materialize, the indefatigable Didi decided to depend on the more reliable Bengali cine star power to bag maximum Lok Sabha seats which alone would help her play an important role in government formation in Delhi next May. By Lokayat Correspondent

olitical equations in West Bengal have changed dramatically since the 2011 assembly elections which the Trinamool Congress won by an overwhelming margin. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the party had won 20 of the 42 seats in alliance with

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

The once invincible Left Front is hoping that the worst is over; it will now try and utilise the upcoming Lok Sabha poll to prove its relevance in West Bengal once again.

the Congress. Now the TMC is contesting all parliamentary seats from the state on its own. The 2014 Lok Sabha poll will be held in West Bengal in five-phases between April 17 and May 12 along with by-elections to six assembly seats. This time, the TMC has decided to


WEST BENGAL

Actor and TMC candidate Moonmoon Sen with Tribals at Bankura in West Bengal on Sunday during her party workers convention as a part of her election campaign for the Lok Sabha Poll (PTI photo)

Baichung Bhutia, former Indian football skipper

Supporters display placards and posters during Trinamool Congress party flag during the partys Jantantra Rally at RamlilaGround (PTI photo)

take on the Congress, the Left, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the BJP together. While the Left is fighting for survival, the faction-ridden Congress is finding it hard to spot even suitable candidates. Mamata suddenly found, like a godsend, a ‘certificate’ from Anna Hazare to promote her party’s

electoral chances in West Bengal and to get some foothold outside the state, but the much publicised Anna-Mamata rally at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi was a washout--hardly 2,500 people gathered. Getting wind of the poor turn-out, Anna did not want to show his face at the rally leaving Mamata high and dry.

Not long ago, Anna had endorsed Mamata for the PM's post, saying she was the only eligible leader in the country who ‘delivered’ while others just ‘talked’. Anna was exceptionally happy as Mamata alone had responded positively to his 17-point agenda for the nation. Feeling let down by him, she

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WEST BENGAL decided to go it alone hereafter. This was the second time in recent past when Mamata found herself abandoned while trying to emerge a player at the national level. She was dumped by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh in opposing the

have a say in national policy making. Three of them have never contested an election before. Indranil Sen, a singer of some repute, has been handpicked for Behrampore in Murshidabad. Even in the Congress’ emaciated condition, it

Few women candidates hough most vocal among political parties on passage of the Women's Reservation Bill, arch rivals Trinamool Congress and Left parties have failed to set an example when it comes to nominating women candidates in the parliamentary elections in West Bengal. While the candidate list for the 42 Lok Sabha seats announced by the Trinamool Congress has 11 women, the Left Front list has only six. In the 42-member Bengal ministry, there are only three women. There are 12 Muslims on the Left Front’s list for West Bengal compared with five in 2009. There are seven Muslims on the Trinamool Congress’ list. Around 27 percent of West Bengal’s voters are Muslims, and it has been seen in the past that if they vote en bloc, this community could determine the outcome in at least seven of the state’s 19 districts.<

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candidature of Pranab Mukherjee for the president. Mamata eventually supported Mukherjee. It is time Mamata realised that she owes her spectacular success in Bengal not so much to her own brand of politics as to the widespread popular disenchantment with and downright hatred for Marxist misrule. That is to say, a negative approval! She is yet to build a coherent, well-knit party set up with disciplined and dedicated cadre.

Actors in fray The Trinamool Congress’ list of Lok Sabha candidates features actors, singers, footballers and a Harvard University professor who is a relative of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The selection of celebrities seems to have been made with a purpose. Mamata Banerjee defended her decision to field as many as five actors—including current star Deepak Adhikary (who goes by the screen name Dev)— because she wants this fraternity to

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

Mamata has kept her ‘national ambition’ in abeyance till she finds an opportune time. If she succeeds in getting a good chunk of the state’s LS seats, she would revive her ‘Delhi chalo’ call. But for now, it is ‘ekla chalo’ for the TMC. would be sheer fantasy to think that Sen could dislodge Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress candidate from Behrampore. Soumitra Roy, a well-established singer, has been placed in Malda, which is again a Congress stronghold.

Former football skipper Baichung Bhutia has been selected for Darjeeling when Mamata Banerjee ought to know that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) would not support an outsider-Bhutia belongs to Sikkim. Besides, the GJM is now aligned with the BJP and winning in Darjeeling is unthinkable without GJM’s support. As for Moon Moon Sen, who has been put up in Bankura, her only qualification is that she is the daughter of the legendary actress, Suchitra Sen.

Manifesto with a ‘vision’ Mamata has kept her ‘national ambition’ in abeyance at least for now. But if she succeeds in getting a good chunk of the state’s LS seats, she might revive her ‘Delhi chalo’ call. She indeed claims that the TMC, and not the BJP or the Congress, is the ‘alternative in Delhi’! But for the moment, it is ‘ekla chalo’ for her. The Trinamool manifesto is in two parts: one dealing with a ‘vision for India’ and the other detailing the party's ‘vision for Bengal’. ‘Our manifesto is people-friendly, industry-friendly and agriculture-friendly,’ claims Miss Banerjee. The manifesto also calls for judicial and administrative reforms along with ‘roti, kapda aur makaan’.

Left faces tough battle Plagued by defections, rebellion and organisational glitches, the once invincible Left Front is hoping that the ‘worst’ is over and the upcoming Lok Sabha polls will prove its relevance in West Bengal. It hopes to gain from division of anti-Left votes amongst the Congress, BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress. The CPM will be contesting in 32 constituencies, leaving the remaining 10 to its allies. The issue that drove the voters away from the Left parties—forcible land acquisition—is still in rural voters' minds and may yet again play a spoilsport. If the Congress does badly in this poll, it will be primarily because it is friendless in the state.<


KARNATAKA

KARNATAKA TO PLAY A CRUCIAL ROLE The young and old alike are infected this time. All see these elections as perhaps the most crucial for the country. This explains the swiftness with which the BJP and Congress dumped Muthalik and Shetty, the controversial Sri Ram Sene leaders, within minutes of inducting them. Delhi. For one, Tamil Nadu is virtually out of the reckoning for them. The regional parties like the AIADMK, DMK, PMK, MDMK and DMDK are too strong to allow the national parties any leeway on their own. Secondly, Andhra Pradesh does not offer much hope or scope, post the creation of Telangana and Seemandhra. In Kerala, the BJP, on its part, is not known to have a major presence, rather influence there. And the Congress too without its local allies would have remained an

Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Muthalik addresses press conference (PTI photo)

By Lokayat Correspondent from Bengaluru

he alacrity with which both the BJP and Congress junked Pramodh Mutalik and Dinkar Shetty, the controversial leaders of Sri Ram Sene, minutes after inducting them this week, respectively, reflects the parties’ desperation this elections in Karnataka. The haste to declare the two Sene men as ‘outcastes’ was a clear attempt by the BJP and Congress to avoid what otherwise would have been nothing short of ‘harakiri’. With 28 parliamentary seats at stake, Karnataka is the only southern state where the

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Congress leaders in Mangalore welcomed Dinker Shetty into the party from Sri Ram Sene, but expelled him within hours after an outcry against him. Shetty had allegedly dragged women by their hair, slapped and manhandled them, and accused them of ‘loose morals’ during a pub-attack.

two national parties can hope to make a mark in the current general elections. On their own, that is! The two parties, willy-nilly, are banking heavily on Karnataka to realise their ambition of ruling New

embarrassment. This explains why the two national parties moved quickly to ‘correct’ the wrong, they were about to commit by inducting two rabid fundamentalists

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41


KARNATAKA whose supporters had thought nothing of abusing and terrorising the ‘Next Gen’ in Mangalore through moral policing between 2008 and 2013. Attacks by the two leaders and their supporters on pubs and restaurants were all too common under the BJP rule. The alienation of over ten million and more young voters could not be risked. More so, when the two national parties are leaving no stone unturned to garner as many seats as possible. In 2009, the BJP managed 19 seats with the Congress coming a close second with six and the JD-S accounting for the balance. This time in the Lok Sabha polls the Congress wants to wrest the state from the BJP, hoping for a repeat of its performance in the 2013 assembly elections. The party also seems confident considering its performance in the bypolls to three Lok Sabha seats earlier, in all of which it emerged the winner. The BJP, which did not hope to get even six Lok Sabha seats immediately after its rout in the last April assembly elections, suddenly feels confident of retaining at least the seats that it got in 2009 Parliamentary elections. The bravado stems from its belief that the country, as also the state, is witnessing a Narendra Modi wave. Inevitably, it feels the people would not worry about its poor performance during its rule in the state between 2008 and 2013. The party's argument gains importance if viewed against what Ananth Kumar, sitting MP from Bangalore South, told this correspondent recently. ‘Today, voters are not worrying about who our candidate is or the earlier government. They have a one-point agenda: to see Modi as prime minister.’ This also explains why the people here were keen to see former chief minister, BS Yeddyurappa, with huge support from the dominant Lingayat community, return to the party fold. ‘Everyone has to join hands to get Modi as PM,’ appears to be the refrain, if Kumar is to be believed. To help Modi attain that goal, BJP has to get the maximum number of seats from Karnataka. Conversely, the same logic applies to the Congress if it wants to dash BJP’s dream. This is why the two national parties have become more aggressive in their campaigning. The sight of sitting MPs like Ananth Kumar, for example, going door-to-door; even visiting restaurants to woo voters, is evidence of this. Something that was absent in the past. Another factor that has prompted the BJP to go on the offensive, in the IT city at least, is the Congress party's decision to

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

Total Seats General Seats SC Seats ST seats

: : : :

28 21 05 02

Total electors

: 4.47 crore Young voters (18-29 yrs)

: 25.14 percent Poll Schedule: : 17th April : All 28 seats (Chikkodi, Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bidar, Koppal, Bellary, Haveri, Dharwad, Poll Date

Uttara Kannada, Davanagere, Shimoga, Udupi Chikmagalur, Hassan, Dakshina Kannada, Chitradurga, Tumkur, Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Bangalore Rural, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, Bangalore South, Chikkballapur and Kolar)

Performance of Parties in 2009 Seats

03 Party

06

19

field former Infosys co-founder, Nandan Nilekani, against Kumar in the Bangalore South constituency. Another exInfosyian in V Balakrishnan is contesting against BJP’s PC Mohan from Bangalore Central on an AAP ticket. Both the software professionals are banking on support from young techies and other votaries of India against corruption. Significantly, this election has underlined one basic fact, evidenced during this correspondent’s travel across the state. One: the voter is aware of the importance that Karnataka

Contested Seats Vote share

BJP

28

19

41.63 pc

Congress

28

06

37.65 pc

BSP

28

00

01.66 pc

JD-S

21

03

13.57 pc

Independents

260

00

04.12 pc

Other parties

62

00

01.37 pc

will play in electing a new government at the centre this time, or contributing in its formation. Secondly, the electorate is determined to usher in a change, seeking to use its franchise to put an end to corruption besides voting for development and people’s empowerment. This explains the visible excitement over the emergence of Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party or about Namo. Or, for that matter, the promises that young Rahul Gandhi is making of ushering in a new era of politics—of empowerment.<


KERALA

IS IT CPM’S LAST

GAMBLE ?

CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat and State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan with other leaders at the closing ceremony of the Kerala Raksha March (PTI photo)

By Lokayat Correspondent

he state unit of the Communist Party of India-Marxist is in the unenviable position of having to scout for suitable candidates outside the party, even outside the Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by it, to fight the instant general elections. In its search, ironically, it had to do with two discarded Congress leaders, a decadent film star, an apolitical

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Will the CPI (M) in the state survive the latest crisis? The question is relevant because it never had to face a similar grave situation. It never had to fight a general election in such wizened physical and psychological condition. Outside Kerala the party now exists only in name; in this last ‘citadel’ it is in final throes. lawyer and a retired IAS officer! The irony is all the more glaring because the ‘guest artistes’ have been allotted five vantage seats out of the 15 the

CPI(M) kept for itself after denying them to junior constituents who have been clamouring for accommodation since long. As the big brother of the

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KERALA LDF family the CPI (M) not only ignored their legitimate claims, but even seized their traditional seats. To their chagrin the CPI (M) also used to take important policy decisions without so much as an informal t is rarely that the Congress Party in Kerala feels upbeat about elections, let discussion with them. But the CPI alone general elections. It is particularly remarkable because the party at the (M) failed to recognize that times national level is at the nadir of its confidence level and several central leaders have changed and it is no more the invent laughable excuses for not wanting to contest the 2014 parliamentary election. monolith it used to be. Its writs do not Usually this is the time when endless queues of supplicants for tickets appear in run even within its ranks. front of Congress offices and leaders engage in interminable discussions on who Factionalism and dissidence are the should or should not be nominated. This year the crowd is conspicuous by its rule rather than exceptions. So the absence. It is as if the Congressmen are admitting defeat even before the poll CPI (M) was shell-shocked the other started. But in Kerala among the incumbent central ministers only A K Antony day when the Revolutionary has opted out. Socialist Party (RSP), the third There are several reasons for the Kerala unit’s apparent euphoria. First, biggest constituent of the LDF after a long period the party is free of any visible dissidence or bickering which was denied a seat, walked and appears united. A conscious effort is being made to discuss and out of the alliance in protest. It coordinate matters between the two limbs—the government and the party. was miffed because despite The new KPCC president V M Sudheeran’s dynamic and no-nonsense assurances the two leadership ensures that. When Ramesh Chennithala was the communist parties divided Congress chief, the government’s refusal to take the party into the 20 seats between confidence on important policy matters was a frequent cause of them even without the complaint. usual seat-sharing The third important reason for the celebratory mood is discussions with other that the opposition Left Democratic Front is in total LDF partners. And, to disarray and neck-deep make matters more in trouble—cases painful, the CPI (M) gave involving scams and seats to five rank outsiders political murders. Many who had no special leaders are in are in jail, in credentials, or were assured hiding or out on bail. The winners! Kerala CM Oommen Chandy (PTI photo) situation is so acute that the CPI It was the last straw as far (M) has to recruit ‘guest artistes’ from open field and put them up as ‘independent’ as the RSP was concerned. It did not parliamentary candidates. Since they have no social commitment, party ideology or want to continue in an alliance which doctrinaire convictions, it is like sending cricketers and film stars to legislatures. disregarded the basic coalition dharma. The RSP was a foundermember of the LDF, formed in 1979 in the wake of the Emergency. It used to represent the Kollam seat in realized that the CPI (M) was erstwhile LDF ministry) to contest. Parliament for years until in 1999 the swallowing everything but its name, it The CPI (M) failed to foresee this CPI (M) just ‘seized’ it. Since then the said ‘goodbye’. devastating development. There was RSP has been demanding its return, in But what the RSP did next was much criticism within the party and vain. (The big brother also took away what appalled the CPI (M) most. It the LDF, of its thoughtless and five of RSP’s nine Assembly seats went ahead and joined the ruling insensitive attitude towards its minor over the years in similar manner.) United Democratic Alliance (UDF), partners. The general charge was that Other LDF partners’ experience with thereby strengthening its paper-thin in its eagerness to beef up its own the CPI (M) was not much different. majority in the assembly. The UDF, position vis-à-vis other constituents, In similar circumstances two minor ever vigilant to seize any such the CPI (M) had no qualms in partners—the Congress (J) and JD opportunity, welcomed the newcomer sacrificing left unity or secularism. (S)—had left in protest some years and straightaway restored to it the Anyway, the damage had been ago. The RSP expected the alliance Kollam seat for its candidate done, and it had to pay a heavy price leader to mend its ways. But when it Premachandran (a minister in the for the folly. Emboldened by the

Congress Upbeat!

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014


KERALA

Going by past experience, a total waste of people’s valuable votes. The Congress-led UDF received a terrific boost to its sagging morale when the Revolutionary Socialist Party walked out of the LDF in protest and joined the UDF. Apart from the added psychological comfort, it enhanced the precarious strength of the UDF in the state assembly. Riding on the rising strength, the Congress could deal firmly with unreasonable demands of its querulous alliance partners for more seats. The Indian Union of Muslim League had threatened to rock the boat unless it was shown ‘more consideration’ in the allocation of parliamentary seats in proportion to its strength in the assembly, but seeing that the Congress was in no mood to yield, it backed away. K M Mani of the Kerala Congress (M) was another leader who tried to extract undue advantage. He too was told his limits. Only the claim of M P Veerendrakumar of the Socialist Janata (Democratic) was found justifiable and he was accommodated with one seat.<

RSP’s telling protest, four much smaller partners of the LDF—the Indian National League (INL), the Forward Bloc, the Janata Dal (S) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)—all relatively unknown, raised the banner of revolt and demanded a seat each. Though shaken, the CPI (M) was in no mood to buckle, but eventually it ended up surrendering one seat to Janata Dal (secular) from its own quota. The other three jilted parties have threatened to field rebel candidates presaging more trouble.

The LDF is worried that the troubles in its camp may distract attention from the campaign trail. Already weakened by the unmitigated failures it suffered in the several struggles it mounted against the government, particularly against chief minister Oommen Chandy, it could not afford to fail at the hustings again. It knows that the Congress under the new KPCC president V M Sudheeran is on a stronger wicket today and it is an uphill task to match the formidable challenge being mounted by it. Apart from the fact that the CPI (M) is

foul murder and save top leaders from gallows, the party had instituted a sham probe. After long delays a court convicted and sentenced several conspirators, the party came up with the expected finding: there was no political conspiracy and no involvement of the party; personal grudge of a local party member had resulted in the crime. The ‘report’ became a laughing matter. There was no mention of member/s who conducted the probe, who were the witnesses quizzed, what were the terms of reference—all these

Kasturirangan Report Watered Down he Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats was big headache to the government from the word go because the farm lobby led by the powerful church (because the region is largely --and illegally-under Christian possession) was inflaming passions against it. The government has now got it watered down to the extent that, according to ‘green’ enthusiasts, the report is as good as dead. It is a great pity that yielding to profit-motivated, but extremely short-sighted demands, the central government should allow wholesale destruction of the very basis of long-term survival of people of an entire region.<

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totally drained by factionalism, practices alien to party principles and lack of direction, there is an acute shortage of strong and able leadership. There are only a handful of unruly satraps who are prone to commit mayhem and murder at the slightest provocation. To compound a complex situation the party chose to ‘release’ recently the ‘report’ of a phoney inquiry into the murder of the former CPI (M) member T P Chandrasekhar who had left and founded a rival outfit. In a deep conspiracy to hoodwink the public, distance the party from the

matters were not revealed. V S Achuthanandan, opposition leader rejected it and called for fresh, open inquiry. The murder- victim’s wife sought CBI probe to bring out the conspiracy behind, as suggested by the trial court, and went on a hungerstrike demanding it. The government had no option but to agree to it. Now the heat is on the party once again. What it feared most and wanted to forestall—the shadow of suspicion reaching the top— is looming large on the horizon. But how the whole thing will impact the poll in April is its immediate concern.<

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TAMILNADU

PENTAGONAL CONTEST MAY By Lokayat Correspondent

he communists blame Jayalalithaa’s perfidy for the untenable situation. They had discussed with her twice and got her consent before attempting to cobble a nonCongress, non-BJP alternative government at the Centre. They had even tickled her ego with the suggestion that she was their prime ministerial hope! However, Jaya accuses the communists of being too clever by half. They were really motivated by selfinterest, in the backdrop of their rout in

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

It is now fairly certain that Tamizhagam will witness tumultuous pentagonal contests for the 40 Lok Sabha seats on April 24 marring chief minister Jayalalithaa’s dream of making a grand stand at Delhi’s historic Red Fort. Jaya had rejected overtures of Prakash Karat (CPI-M) and A B Bardhan (CPI) and decided to go solo because she wanted a big bloc of MPs to help her play a decisive role in government formation in New Delhi in May. But the inevitable multi-cornered contests now emerging are bound to disperse seats among several parties denying advantage to any particular entity. The other electoral players who may upset Jaya’s calculations are: the BJP leading a front including Vijaya Kant’s DMDK, S Ramadoss’ PMK and the MDMK of Vaiko; Karunanidhi’s DMK heading four small parties; a forlorn Congress forced to go alone; and the two communist parties, the CPI and the CPI (M) forming the nominal left front.


TAMILNADU

UPSET JAYA’S DREAM West Bengal, to make a fast recovery before the poll; and what better way to do it than to ride on the back of an ‘alliance’, and that too under the cover of elections? Initially, Jaya was genuinely enthusiastic about the ‘third front’ idea. She received the communist leaders warmly and discussed the modalities of cooperation twice in early February. She agreed to participate in the proposed 11-party meeting in New Delhi on February 5 and sent Thampidurai, a senior AIADMK leader on her behalf. But something happened in Delhi that made Jaya unhappy but wiser. According to insiders, the communists played a double game: as they played on Jaya’s ego in Chennai, they humoured Mulayam Singh Yadav also on his prime ministerial ambition. This buzz reached ‘Amma’s’ ear and she called it quits without so much as saying ‘goodbye’ to the duplicitous red leaders. Virtually within hours of snapping ties with the reds Jaya announced AIADMK candidates for all 40 parliamentary seats (39 in Tamilnadu and one in Puducherry) and she was out on non-stop campaign trail. Starting in the maximalist mode Jaya’s programme covered all the constituencies, unmindful of the killing dust and heat. While on the tour she heard on the airwaves Mamata Banerjee telling an interviewer that she had no problem supporting Jaya as the next PM. The shrewd Jaya lost no time in calling the West Bengal chief minister, and after exchanging pleasantries discussed the emerging national political scene.

Jaya’s novel marketing techniques Jaya is an extraordinary campaigner. What strikes observers

most is her subtle marketing technique. Names of all consumer goods produced in Tamilnadu and freebies distributed by her government invariably carry the prefix ‘Amma’, which in the state context means ‘Jayalalithaa’ loud and

public relations. It addresses concerns of the people of Tamilnadu and (with the larger canvas in mind) of the entire nation, separately. She proposes to extend to all Indian households the freebies she distributed in Tamilnadu. And they are substantial—colour TV

DMK chief M Karunanidhi handing over copy of party’s manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, to his daughter Kanimozhi, at party office (PTI photo)

clear. Similarly, all development projects in the state also carry the same distinct appellation. With this word stridently dinned into people’s mind, with such relentless ‘brainwashing’ Jaya has become a demigod in Tamilnadu. It was the same master-stroke she showed in ‘trying to free’ the three assassins of Rajiv Gandhi a day after the Supreme Court commuted their death sentence to life imprisonment. She knew that the state had no power to do it, but with the very ‘show’ of concern and readiness to act she turned the entire Tamil vote banks in her favour. Jaya’s election manifesto is another masterpiece of thoughtful

sets, mixie-grinders, computers to students, school uniforms and books to the needy, wedding gifts to the poor girls and so on. Instead of food security she moots universal public distribution system. No income-tax up to five lakhs is another generous suggestion. She would withdraw the power to decide petrol-diesel prices from oil companies and vest it with the union government. Making her national political ambitions clear, Jayalalithaa vows to modernize the defence forces, to make them on a par with those of the super powers. She castigated the UPA-II government’s inability to control prices of essential items, its

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TAMILNADU

Radical promises in the manifesto hile the AIADMK has promised to extend various welfare schemes and freebies given in Tamilnadu to the entire nation, it has spoken of making radical changes in some policies. One is related to retrieving of Katchatheevu. It claims that this alone can give a permanent solution to the problems of the Tamilnadu fishermen. It may be noted Jayalalithaa had filed a case in 2008 in the Supreme Court to declare ceding of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka null and void on the ground it that constitutional amendment to this effect was not carried out in Parliament. The case is still pending in the court. Another radical announcement is that her government would stop disinvestment of public sector units which was started during Atal Behari Vajpayee government in a big way and was carried on by the Manmohan Singh government with equal gusto. She has also made a bold announcement regarding natural gas pricing formula, which became even more controversial when Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal ordered an FIR to be filed against Mukesh Ambani and union petroleum minister Veerappa Moily for doubling the gas price. He is repeatedly challenging BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to speak his mind on this issue of doubling natural gas prices from April 1, but he is maintaining studied silence on the issue. The AIADMK manifesto has promised this price increase would be reviewed. The manifesto has argued that the natural resources of the country should be made available to the countrymen at a fair price. To enable this, a transparent natural resource policy would be formulated. <

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ineffective economic and foreign policies, foul dynastic rule and pervasive corruption.

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Compared to the AIADMK’s meticulously planned poll campaign, confusion and uncertainty prevail in

the DMK stable. Following expulsion of Karunanidhi’s eldest son M K Azhagiri from the party, workers in southern Tamilnadu, Azhagiri’s turf, are languid. There was talk of Azhagiri forming a new party, but now he is not sure. While Karuna’s younger son M K Stalin runs the DMK establishment dexterously (the trouble in the DMK household is over Stalin’s exclusive control of the party and the aging father’s tacit acknowledgement of him as his political heir) Azhagiri, who has no such skill, is jealous and desperate. But Azhagiri is a bully and can create trouble for DMK candidates. Rejecting overtures from the Congress and the BJP, the DMK has finalized its list of candidates. While dropping many sitting MPs it retains all loyalists including T R Balu and the two tainted former ministers, A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran. Of its four small allies, better known by their acronyms, PT, MMK, VCK and IUML, the first two have been given one seat each; the other two are holding out demanding a bigger share of the pie. Since every single party in Tamilnadu is avoiding the Congress like a horrid contagion, it is forced to go alone. That by itself is a great pity for an old party with great history. But a greater shame is that big guns like P Chidambaram, G.K Vasan, and Jayanthi Natarajan etc are refusing to contest! Such a calamity is simply unthinkable. It will make little difference to the party’s final tally, though. In recent years with allies, the Congress could barely manage seats in single digits, without anybody, it may bag nothing. The fate of CPICPI(M) duo may not be different. The BJP has had no footprint in Tamilnadu so far; this may change now that it has joined hands with the DMDK, PMK and MDMK, all with some political presence (PMK’s partnership is not final). If this alliance makes even a modest gain, it will be the end of Jaya’s dreams.<


ANDHRA PRADESH

FIGHT BETWEEN PRO AND ANTI DIVISION PROTAGONISTS

Kiran promises reunification

Kiran Kumar Reddy

iran Kumar Reddy, who quit as chief minister in protest against state's division, launched Jai Samaikyandhra Party with ‘footwear’ as its symbol. During the party launch, he symbolically displayed a piece of the wall which was broken for the unification of Germany to drive home the point that Seemandhra and Telangana can come together again. Reddy said the struggle for reunification of Andhra Pradesh would start from Telangana region as it stood to lose heavily with the state’s division. Reddy said UPA and Congress high command had disrespected the sentiments of Seemandhra people by dividing the state. MPs G V Harsha Kumar and Sabbam Hari, A Sai Pratap and Lagadapti Rajagopal, who were recently expelled from the Congress, have joined Reddy’s party. Although it is too early to assess what impact the new party will have on the politics of the state, according to senior analysts, it will definitely play spoilsport for Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress.<

K Jagan Mohan Reddy

The fight for power is being fought between the protagonists of separate Andhra and united Andhra. Ex-CM Kiran Reddy’s new party after resigning as the chief minister as well as the Congress party may play spoilsport for the YSR Congress and the TDP.

By S Santhanam

he Lok Sabha and assembly elections to Andhra Pradesh, scheduled to be held in two phases on April 30 and May 7, will be fought between the protagonists of separate Andhra and Unified Andhra. In Seemandhra the poll campaign is all about who is responsible for division of Andhra Pradesh, while it is the reverse in Telangana, where all contenders for power are seeking votes by claiming credit for carving out the separate state.

T

After refusing to merge or even have an alliance with the Congress, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is trying to emerge as the sole regional party representing the interests of Telangana, which will come into being as a separate state on June 2. Political parties are still looking at different permutations and combinations for alliances that could get them maximum seats. All the 17 Lok Sabha and 119 assembly constituencies in 10 districts of Telangana, that will form the new state, will go to the polls in the first phase. Elections for 25 Lok Sabha and 175 assembly constituencies in 13 districts of the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh will be held in the second phase. Both the regions together have 42 Lok Sabha seats. The polarisation of votes across Andhra that has marked the run-up to the passage of

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ANDHRA PRADESH

the Telangana Bill in Parliament is so extreme that it is expected that the successor states will vote overwhelmingly for one party, Telangana for Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and Seemandhra for Jaganmohan Reddy's YSR Congress. There has been a huge shifting of loyalties among MLAs, post-Telangana formation. As many as 65 Congress MLAs who won in the 2009 general election are contesting on behalf of YSR Congress, the TD and the TRS in the

Cine Stars Cast A Spell olitics in Andhra Pradesh never lacked the glamour quotient ever since the legendary actor NTR floated the TDP three decades ago. With the campaigning picking up, more and more stars from the Telugu film industry are taking a plunge, setting the stage for a fierce battle among the top stars. Like politicians, actors and actresses have also switched their loyalties since the 2009 elections. Actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strong anti-Congress stance and his support to the BJP, as well as the Modi factor have emboldened the BJP to bargain for more seats in its alliance with the TDP. The TRS did not keep its promise of merger with the Congress given the antiincumbency wave. TRS believes it can win more seats without the Congress liability. (TRS won 2 of 17 LS seats in Telangana in 2009 while Congress won 12.)<

P

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

alliance for the Lok Sabha and assembly elections. TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao had proposed merger of TRS with Congress to secure statehood for the region. With its goal of separate state achieved, TRS is now trying to emerge as a formidable regional party and the vanguard of the new state's development. KS Rao (PTI photo) The Congress is finding itself on a sticky wicket as its hopes to reap a rich harvest by granting separate statehood upcoming elections while 22 TDP were dashed by TRS's volte-face. MLAs who had won in the last election Accusing TRS of betrayal by going will contest from the Congress, the TRS back on its word to merge the party and the BJP. The candidates are the after formation of a separate state, the same, the constituencies are the same Congress is hoping to win people's but the parties have changed. 'sympathy'. As many as 33 Seemandhra The alliance between the Congress MLAs have joined the YSR TRS and Congress did not Congress and 27 Seemandhra Congress materialise mainly because MLAs joined the TDP. Six Seemandhra both parties wanted their TDP MLAs have joined the YSR candidate to be chief Congress. minister. Having ruled The Congress had swept the out merger and even 2009 polls in the state winning an alliance with the 33 of those 42 seats. But five Congress, the TRS years later, the Congress is in has sought to tatters in the state. Regional reach out to CPI parties like the TDP, TRS and which is being YSR Congress are sure to pull wooed by the the cosy rug from under Congress also in view of the left party's Congress's feet. crucial support base in Promising a separate Telangana. state in 2009, then Chandra Babu Naidu CPI had four backtracking, and then MLAs in the dragging its feet on an issue outgoing Andhra as emotional as this, has left Pradesh legislative Congress loyalists hurt and assembly, all from betrayed. The time period was Telangana region. CPI more than sufficient for the TRS has consistently taken a to re-think its strategy for survival pro-Telangana stance. in 2014 elections, for Jagan YSR Pins Hopes on Reddy to whip up enough emotion Defections in 13 districts of Seemandhra and Jagan Reddy is the for the Telugu Desam Party, the biggest threat to strong main opposition, to find a rather ground-based parties like narrow but nevertheless a middle the Telugu Desam Party. path in this entire fiasco. Voters did not buy the TRS ditches Congress corruption allegations In a severe setback to the against him and helped him Congress, the Telangana Rashtra win 15 of the 18 assembly Samiti (TRS) dashed its hopes of an seats in the by-polls in June


ANDHRA PRADESH

Telangana will be born on June 1

Total Seats General Seats SC Seats ST seats

: : : :

I

42 32 03 07

Total electors

: 6.238 crore Young voters (18-25 yrs)

: 16.59 percent Poll Schedule: 1st Phase

: 30th April

: 17 seats (Adilabad, Peddapalle, Karimnagar, Nizamabad,

Zahirabad, Medak, Malkajgiri, Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Chevella, Mahbubnagar, Nagarkurnool, Nalgonda, Bhongir, Warangal, Mahabubabad and Khammam)

2nd Phase

: 7th May

: 25 seats (Araku, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram,

Visakhapatnam, Anakapalle, Kakinada, Amalapuram, Rajahmundry, Narsapuram, Eluru, Machilipatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Narasaraopet, Bapatla, Ongole, Nandyal, Kurnool, Anantapur, Hindupur, Kadapa, Nellore, Tirupati, Rajampet and Chittoor)

Performance of Parties in 2009

01

tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s now official. Telangana, the 29th state of India, will be born on the midnight of June 1 and the division of the consolidated fund of both the states will be created with the division of the Andhra Pradesh treasury. The Centre has also set up a committee headed by former Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha for division of all India service cadres in Andhra Pradesh between the Telangana and residuary Andhra Pradesh state. The 126-year-old Saifabad Palace of the 7th Nizam will be a casualty of the formation of the new state of Telangana. The palace will be razed to ground and converted into a parking lot for the new secretariat of the 29th state. The stage is set for division of the Andhra Pradesh secretariat in the heart of Hyderabad. The Roads and Buildings Sub-committee says that the secretariat spread over 18 acres will be divided between Telangana and residuary state of AP for the time being. Almost all buildings will be divided on a 58:42 ratio between Telangana and Residuary AP for the time being till the residuary state leaves for its own capital complex in the next ten years. Two separate gates will be created for the secretariats. The present secretariat is based in Saifabad Palace that dates back to the year 1888 and is situated near the Hussain Sagar Lake. It was built during the reign of Mir Mahbub Ali Khan, the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad. The palace with its red wood stair case was chosen by Telugu Desam Party founder N T Rama Rao during his reign. The dilapidated palace is now deserted after it was tagged as heritage structure and even the demolition process was kept pending following protests by local heritage campaigners. As per the plan, the high court has finally permitted the demolition of the palace and the new state can use it as a parking lot. A metal fence is likely to be installed in the middle to separate the blocks.<

01

Seats 02 Party

06

33 2013. While the TRS spearheaded the bifurcation movement and is hailed in the 10 districts of Telangana, the YSR Congress has filled a similar political vacuum in Seemandhra, emerging as the face of the United AP movement. The YSR Congress is pinning its hope on defectors from other parties in Telangana. The party has no candidates in a majority of assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in Telangana except Khammam, Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Mahabubnagar and

Contested Won Vote share

Congress

42

33

38.95 %

TDP

31

06

24.93 %

TRS

09

02

06.14 %

BJP

41

01

03.75 %

CPI

02

00

01.58 %

CPM

02

00

01.27 %

Independents

224

00

03.30 %

Other Parties

218

01

20.08 %

Nalgonda. Out of 119 Assembly seats, the party has candidates for only 45 seats. For the cadre-based and techsavvy TDP, it's YSR Congress that's a rising concern. Naidu's recent meetings with Narendra Modi sparked off speculation whether TDP will once again ally with NDA. TDP has reportedly (at the time of filing this report) sealed an alliance with the BJP, giving the saffron party 8 LS seats and 45 assembly seats.<

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NORTHEAST

NORTH-EAST GOES THE NATIONAL WAY

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi

By Lokayat Correspondent

ith diverse ethnic groups, languages and religions, NorthEast presents picturesque political spectacle. With regional political forces repeatedly failing to prove themselves and demand for all round development gaining momentum, prospects are getting brighter for both the national parties, Congress and BJP. The Congress has always been a strong force here, presently ruling in Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. Remaining three states are ruled by smaller parties. The CPI-M led Left Front rules Tripura, the NPF-led Democratic Alliance Nagaland and the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) Sikkim. Out of 25 MPs in all the eight states, BJP has just four (all in Assam) and out of 566 MLAs the party has merely five in Assam, three in Arunachal and one in Nagaland. However, recognizing the importance of each and every seat, BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi visited N-E twice for rallies and

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AIUDF leader Badruddin Ajmal

Parliamentary constituencies in North East Assam : 14 Arunachal Pradesh : 02 Meghalaya : 02 Tripura : 02 Manipur : 02 Nagaland : 01 Mizoram : 01 Sikkim : 01 Total :25 Political performance of parties in 2009 Congress : 13 BJP : 04 (in Assam) CPI-M : 02 (in Tripura) NCP : 01 (in Meghalaya) AGP : 01 AIUDF : 01 Bodoland Peoples Front : 01 Naga People’s Front : 01 Sikkim Democratic Front : 01 Total :25

reportedly received good public response, giving impression that the party may improve its position. Assam with 14 seats has naturally become cynosure of all eyes where a direct contest between the ruling Congress and the BJP appears to be on the cards on majority of the seats. Though, Badruddin Ajmal's All India United Democratic Front (AUDF) which wields a lot of clout in Muslimdominated districts of the state where the contests are likely to be three cornered. On the whole Muslims constitute around 33 percent of the population. Though, political observers suggest a clean sweep in favour of the Congress in Assam—the only state after Punjab where the grand old party appears to be bettering its prospects, some disruptive activities by fringe Muslim groups and BJP’s strong pitch against Bangladeshi migrants may polarize Hindu voters in favour of the BJP. In some constituencies even four cornered contest is also possible, as the AGP stood second in four parliamentary constituencies in 2009, besides winning one seat. The problem for the BJP is that unlike 2009, it has no pre-poll alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). Its top leaders deserted the party to join the BJP, which has become the biggest stumbling block in initiating an alliance between them. The first prominent leader to desert the AGP was former student leader Sarbananda Sonowal who is now BJP’s state unit chief. He was soon followed by Chandramohan Patowary and Hiten Goswami who were party's foundermembers and former powerful state ministers. The growing BJP is said to be eating into moribund AGP’s vote share. The first phase of the election was held on April 7 in Tezpur, Kaliabor, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur constituencies of Assam, which saw


NORTHEAST

SANGMA BRINGS TOGETHER 10 PARTIES : 14 : 11 : 01 : 02

Total Seats Former speaker of Lok Sabha P A Sangma

General Seats SC Seats ST seats

Total electors

1.872 crore Young voters (18-25 yrs)

merging as the leading voice of the NorthEastern states, former speaker of the Lok Sabha PA Sangma has formed an alliance of 10 regional parties involving 21 parliamentary seats. North-East Regional Political Front (NERPF) is fielding candidates in 21 of 25 Lok Sabha seats in the region. Formed in the name of safeguarding territorial, cultural, social, political and economic rights of the people of the region, the Front is vigorously taking on Congress. Political observers say Sangma being close to the BJP will end up supporting the NDA to form the government at the Centre. The BJP had supported PA Sangma the 2012 presidential elections.<

E

several stalwarts fighting for their political survival. The fate of union ministers Paban Singh Ghatowar from Dibrugarh and Ranee Narah from Lakhimpur has been sealed in the EVMs. In 2009, Tarun Gogoi’s younger brother Dip Gogoi had won from Kaliabor constituency, but this time the CM chose to field his son, Gaurav Gogoi whose charisma is at test here so

: 16.6 pc Poll Schedule: : 7th April 1st Phase Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur)

: 5 seats (Tezpur, Kaliabor, Jorhat,

2nd Phase

: 3 seats (Karimganj, Silchar,

: 17th April

Autonomous District) 3rd Phase

: 24th April

: 6 seats (Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta,

Gauhati, Mangaldoi & Nowgong)

Performance of Parties in 2009 Seats

01

01

04 Seats

Vote share

BJP

07

04

16.21 pc

Congress

13

07

34.89 pc

AGP

06

01

14.60 pc

Independents

73

00

07.59 pc

Other parties

59

01

10.61 pc

Party

Contested

07

also that of the state BJP chief Sarbananda Sonowal in Lakhimpur. Some people have made it at electoral issue that he has married an English girl Elizabeth Colburn. Earlier the buzz was that former President of India Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed’s son Parvez Ahmed would fight on AIUDF ticket against Gaurav, but at the eleventh hour, Ahmed returned its ticket and chose to fight on Trinamool

Congress’ ticket from Barpeta. In 2009, the Congress had bagged seven, AIUDF one, BJP four and AGP one of the 14 seats in Assam. While, the Bodoland People's Front retained its stronghold of Kokrajhar, the AGP, which once talked of the glory of Assam, has been reduced to an insignificant force, relegated to the third place in the 2011 Assembly poll, on account of the fast-rising AIUDF.<

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CHHATTISGARH

BJP HAS MINOR EDGE IN CHHATTISGARH Going by the 2013 assembly elections the BJP assumes it can corner most of the 11 Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh. But a Lokayat survey does not support a rosy prospect for the party. If anything the honours could be evenly distributed with a slight margin in favour of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

By Chhattisgarh Bureau

hattisgarh seems settled to witness fierce battle in all eleven Lok Sabha constituencies but the outcome is anything but predictable. Most parties are pinning hopes and concentrating on caste-based vote banks. A Lokayat survey team visited various constituencies to plumb the mood of the people. It found that the Congress was ahead in Bastar, Mahasamund, Bilaspur, Korba and Sarguja and the BJP was maintaining its lead in Raigarh, Janjgir-Champa, Kanker, Rajnandgaon, Durg and Raipur. It is a major shift from the results of the two previous parliamentary elections when the BJP had won 10 of the 11 seats in the state. What becomes clearly visible on the ground is that Congress workers are in an aggressive mood after the drubbing it received in the 2013 assembly elections. Under its new state president Bhupesh Baghel the party is more united and this fact is expected to reflect on its performance in the poll. The dynamism of the leader of the opposition in the assembly TS Singhdeo also has helped in galvanizing party men in no small measure. Rahul Gandhi came and addressed a rally in Kondagaon on 31 March and it

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress president Bhupesh Baghel

sent vibes of renewed hopes among party workers in this Naxalinfested area. Narendra Modi also came here. Interestingly both accused the other of shedding crocodile tears for tribals. But the inordinate delay shown by the Congress in ticket distribution created some avoidable confusion in several constituencies. The BJP has been circumspect about two sitting MPs, Madhusudan Yadav (Rajnandgaon) and Sohan Potai (Kanker) who were denied tickets. Two more new candidates were required for Bilaspur and Surguja, following the death of the sitting MPs, Dilip Singh Judeo and Murarilal Singh. The Raipur and Durg Lok Sabha constituencies are very large having as many as 9 assembly seats each. The slugfest is likely to be the maximum on these two seats. The BJPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s six-time MP and former union minister (and currently the party whip in the Lok Sabha) Ramesh Bais has represented Raipur since 1989. Factionalism has raised its ugly head here now but fortunately it is not of the dimension that can make the seat unsafe for Bais. The Congress party has been embarrassingly slow and indecisive in announcing its candidate for the Raipur seat. First it fielded Chhaya Verma but after some workersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; vigorous protests the former minister


CHHATTISGARH

Congress president Sonia Gandhi with party leaders celebrates Holi (PTI photo)

Satya Narain Sharma got the nod. The party initially wanted to field a candidate who could draw backward Kurmi, Lodh and Sahu votes. A highly confident Bais took pot shots at the Congress for not being able to finalise its candidate against him. Interestingly the 2013 assembly elections had polled a large number of ‘NOTA’ votes here showing people’s disenchantment with Bais. In 2009 the current Congress president Bhupesh Baghel had fought against him but could not defeat him despite getting 41.39 percent of total votes cast; Bais got 49.19 percent votes. Here the elections would be held in the third phase: on 24th April. Backward caste politics is predominant in Durg as well. Here both the BJP and the Congress are roiled by intraparty rivalries. Feud between supporters of sitting minister Prem Prakash Pandey and Saroj Pande has made an unenviable situation for the BJP. Saroj Pande had won the seat last time with a margin of over

10,000 votes. The national treasurer of the Congress Party Moti Lal Vora is influential here. Former opposition Congress legislature party leader Ravindra Choubey and Pradeep Choubey who had contested the previous Lok Sabha election are other influential leaders in this constituency. Bhupesh Baghel takes active interest in the backward classes’ politics, thereby improving Congress prospects. In the assembly elections of 2013 the BJP had won 7 and Congress 2 assembly segments of the Durg Lok Sabha seat. The Congress has fielded a new candidate Tamradwaj Sahu this time. The BJP has re-nominated the sitting MP Saroj Pandey who had secured 31.27 percent votes last time. The burgeoning unemployment is a big issue in the area as the Bhilai Steel Plant is not able to generate enough new employment due to saturation of its potential and the educated youth have to go out to Pune, Mumbai or abroad seeking employment.

LOKAYAT ESTIMATE: CHHATTISGARH Lokayat team visited various constituencies in Chhattisgarh to assess the mood of voters. This has given inkling that the BJP is strong in 6 seats and the Congress in the remaining 5. Constituency BJP-Vote Congress-Vote Sarguja 34 % 53 % Raigarh 44 % 40 % Janjgir-Champa 36 % 34 % Korba 35 % 43 % Bilaspur 39 % 41 % Rajnandgaon 42 % 41 % Durg 41 % 38 % Raipur 45 % 43 % Mahasamund 41 % 42 % Bastar 39 % 40 % Kanker 39 % 41 %

Notably, Bhilai is an education hub in the state. The BJP maintained its lead in the 2013 assembly elections as well winning 7 of the 9 assembly segments compared to 2 of the Congress. Yet, Saroj Pandey’s situation is not strong enough at present. Sensing this she herself had sought ticket from either Bilaspur or Korba. Tarachand Sahu, who had won this seat four times in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004 for the BJP, but was expelled from the party three months before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections for alleged anti-party activities, fought as an independent candidate and got 28.92 percent votes. He had founded Chhattisgarh Swabhiman Manch as a

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CHHATTISGARH third political alternative in the state. After his demise his son Deepak Sahu has now joined the BJP. Still the seat remains difficult for the party to win. The trend, however, may change any time. The Bilaspur seat is attracting substantial attention this time as former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece Karuna Shukla, who was forced to leave the BJP alleging neglect by and arrogance of party leaders, has been fielded by the Congress in Bilaspur against the BJP’s Lakhanlal Sahu belonging to a backward community. The constituency has a very large number of SC and backward caste voters. In 2009 the formidable Dr Renu Jogi, wife of former chief minister Ajit Jogi, was defeated here by the BJP veteran and popular tribal leader Dilip Singh Judev by a narrow margin of 2.61

to do so. Karuna Shukla told Lokayat that she was making a vigorous campaign targeting Dr Raman Singh that he had concentrated all his attention on the capital city of Raipur and neglected Bilaspur totally. The rivers in Bilaspur are badly polluted, for example. Though it is the second largest city of the state, neither is it on any national highway, nor is an airport near it. She is confident that the OBC card of Lakhan Lal Sahu would not work there. There is a wide spectrum of OBC communities present there and some of them are supporting the Congress. She also clarified that she would not be using the name of Vajpayee; she is fighting the election in the name of Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. There has been no ‘Congress MP’ here since 1996; this time voters will give one. Earlier this constituency was a reserved one. The BSP is very active

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece Karuna Shukla in the middle Janardhan Dwivedi (right)

percent of the total votes cast in the constituency. He expired in August last year. The contest this time too is very tough for both the national parties. The BJP is worried at the flagrant feud among Dharam Lal Kaushik, Amar Agrawal and Punnulal Mohle. In the 2013 assembly elections the BJP won 5 of the eight seats here. Meanwhile the BJP has unleashed an unsavoury tirade against Karuna Shukla that she had been in the party for 32 years and yet was not loyal to it; how could she be relied upon by the Congress. BJP leaders are admonishing her not to ask votes in the name of Atal Behari Vajpayee as she has lost her right

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

here and this fact may turn out to be a spoiler for the BJP and the Congress . A reserved seat for scheduled tribes, Sarguja looks a cake-walk for the Congress as Murari Lal Singh who defeated the Congress’ Bhanu Pratap Singh by over one lakh votes in 2009, is no more. He passed away in December last. The Congress has now put up Ramdev Ram against the BJP’s Kamal Bhan Singh. This seat historically was a Congress bastion which elected Babu Singh as many as five times. But since 2004 the BJP has occupied it. Now Ramdev Ram may regain it for the Congress. He was found a front runner, especially in Premnagar, Bhatgaon,

Samri Ambikapur and Sitapur assembly constituencies. The BJP is ahead in Pratappur, Ramanujganj and Lundra. The Gondwana Ganatantra Party is very active in Bhatgaon and Pratappur and may dent the chance of the Congress somewhat. Arti Singh of the Congress is pitted against the BJP’s tribal leader, outgoing MP and the party’s new state president Vishnu Dev Sai in Raigarh. He had defeated Congress candidate Hridyaram Rathia by 55,848 votes in 2009. In a way the BSP’s Bahadur Singh Rathia had contributed to this defeat by securing 37,972 votes. The Congress changed its candidate on this seat supposedly due to caste consideration. Earlier Dr Menaka Singh’s name had been announced and she had even started campaigning; then suddenly Aarti Singh’s name was announced replacing her. Sources say it was done keeping in mind the winnability factor. Korba seat will witness triangular fight between union minister of state Dr Charandas Mahant, Dr Banshilal Mahato and Heera Singh Markam, president of Gondwana Ganatantra Party formed in 1991 to fight for the rights of the Gondi people. In 2009 Dr Charandas Mahant had defeated BJP’s Karuna Shukla (now in the Congress) by 20,737 votes in a straight fight. Hira Singh Markam had fought against Dr Mahant in 1998 also, but was relegated to the third place. Mahato will find Madanpur, Manendragarh and Baikunthpur new terrain for him. The BJP and the Congress are matching forces in Korba, Rampur and Katghora. Tanakhar and Marwahi are two assembly segments where Amit Jogi has ample following; this would certainly help Dr Mahant to score over his rivals. There have been frequent media reports that Dr Mahant and Jogi do not see eye to eye, but party officials say they are just motivated rumours. Currently they are fighting the elections in complete unity. Mahasamund is also witnessing an interesting fight. The Congress has fielded former chief minister Ajit Jogi against the sitting MP of the BJP Chandu


CHHATTISGARH Bhaiya (Chandulal Sahu) who had defeated Motilal Sahu of the Congress in 2009 by 51,576 votes. The fight here would really be tough as the BJP looks strong in at least three assembly segments viz., Saraipali, Khallari and Bindranawagarh. Bastar, the Naxal-infested constituency, would also be watched with great interest. Here the Congress candidate Deepak Karma, son of Mahendra Karma of Salwa Judum fame may emerge the winner. The situation has changed greatly here since 2009 when Baliram Kashyap of the BJP in a triangular fight had won the seat with fabulous margin, securing 44.16 percent of the total votes cast. The CPI candidate Manish Kunjam and BSP candidate had proved spoiler for the Congress candidate Shankar Sodi then. The BJP has given ticket to Dinesh Kashyap, who was elected in the bye-election in 2011 (when the seat fell vacant

Total Seats General Seats SC Seats ST seats

: 11 : 06 : 01 : 04

Total electors

1.752 crore Young votes (18-25 yrs)

: 29.11 pc Poll Schedule: 1st Phase

10th April:

1 seat

(Bastar)

2nd Phase

17th April:

3 seats

(Rajnandgaon, Mahasamund

24th April:

7 seats

(Sarguja, Raigarh,

& Kanker) Satya Narain Sharma finally got the ticket from Raipur to fight election against formidable six-time MP Ramesh Bais

3rd Phase

Janjgir-Champa, Korba, Bilaspur, Durg & Raipur)

Performance of Parties in 2009

01 Seats

10 following his father’s demise) by securing 47.45 percent votes. But the defeated Kawasi Lakhma of the Congress had improved his vote from 26.40 to 32.74 percent. Kanker constituency falls in the plains of Bastar division, which has a large number of backward castes. Fulo Devi Netam is the joint choice of both the stalwarts, Ajit Jogi and Bhupesh Baghel. The BJP has fielded the current MLA (from Antagarh) Vikram Usendi, who is a veteran political manipulator. Lokayat team has found that he may not get much support this time even though it is his own assembly segment. In the Janjgir-Champa Lok Sabha seat the Congress has fielded a new candidate Premchand Jaise against the outgoing MP Kamladevi Patle. Jaise is being opposed as an outsider and this fact may give advantage to the BSP, whose candidate Dauram Ratnakar had got 23.86 percent vote in 2009 while the Congress’ Dr Shiv Kumar Dahariya and the BJP’s Patle got 29.14 and 40.96 percent votes respectively. Akaltara and Janjgir-Champa assembly constituencies may favour the Congress while Sakti, Chandrapur, Bilaigarh, Kasdol and Pamgarh will witness contest between the BJP and the BSP. The Jaijaipur assembly

Contested Won

Party

Shri Ramesh Bais

seat is already with the BSP. This party is expected to get not less than 25-27 percent votes this time. Rajnandgaon is a prestigious seat for the BJP as chief minister Raman Singh’s son Abhishek Singh is contesting from here. The Congress has given ticket to Kamaleshwar Verma considering the very large number of Lodh and Kurmi votes in the constituency. Denying ticket to the BJP’s outgoing MP Madhusudan Yadav who had won the 2009 election for the party by getting a splendid 52.70 percent votes will have some

Vote share

BJP

11

10

45.03 pc

Congress

11

01

37.31 pc

BSP

11

00

04.52 pc

Independents

97

00

09.85 pc

Other parties

48

00

03.29 pc

negative impact on Abhishek’s chances as some 90,000 Yadav votes would get scattered. This loss, however, may well be compensated by some local Congress leaders changing side and joining the BJP. The BSP and the Gondwana Ganatantra Party have also fielded their candidates which would also impact the electoral outcome as both these parties can claim not less than 5 percent votes each. Thanks to Dr Raman Singh’s personal influence, the situation favours the BJP in Khujji, Mohla-Manpur and Khairagarh.<

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ODISHA

NAVEEN SUCCEEDS IN POACHING GAME BJD is heavyweight in the electoral contest and would retain its supremacy as the largest party to form the government on its own strength and get majority of the Lok Sabha seats also. As Congress is bitterly riddled with factionalism leading to exodus of its several important leaders to the BJD, there is a possibility of the party losing on many seats it had won the last time.

party back to square one. Patnaiks have the legacy of ruling Odishaâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;be it Biju Patnaik-Naveen Patnaik or Janaki Ballabh Patnaik on the other side. After being three time chief minister, JB Patnaik got gradually marginalised after the defeat of his party and subsequently sent as governor of Assam. However, his close relative Niranjan Patnaik and his son-in-law and the media baron Soumya Ranjan Patnaik wielded influence for some time till the former was replaced by Jayadeb Jena as the president of the state unit. Jagdish Tytler was replaced by BK Hariprasad as the AICC incharge for the state. But new leadership of the state Congress party proved incapable of

Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik

By Ashok B Sharma

f anyone is successful in systematically eliminating the opposition by absorbing them into the party fold in recent times, it is the Odisha chief

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

minister, Naveen Patnaik who ranks second to his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi in this exercise. Naveen is not only to be blamed. It is also the inability of the state Congress party to retain its flock. Being out of power in the state for last 15 years, the party was on the path of resurgence, planning its strategies, under the leadership of the then AICC incharge Jagdish Tytler and then president of the state unit Niranjan Patnaik. But the abrupt change of guards brought the

tackling discontentment within the party. The union minister of state Srikant Jena too proved ineffective as many senior Congress leaders of the state were allergic to him. He is still considered as an outsider coming from Janata Dal. Naveen took advantage of the discontent in the Congress and poached key leaders like the Congress legislative party leader Bhupinder Singh, Nayagarh District Congress president Hemendra Singh, senior Congress leaders like


ODISHA Kamala Das, legislative party secretary Anup Kumar Sai. Naveen has given the new entrant Anup Sai to contest from Brajrajnagar assembly seat. Congress leader and Hema Gamang, wife of the former Odisha chief minister Giridhar Gamang, who crossed over to the BJD has also been rewarded with the ticket to contest Laxmipur assembly seat. Discontent in the Odisha Congress went to such an extent that the former minister Ramakrushna Patnaik, his wife exMP Kumudini, daughter Anita and former MLA Umesh Swain from Jagatsinghpur district quit the partyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;former three to join BJP. Former Congress chief minister Hemananda Biswal refused to contest. Deputy leader of the Congress legislator party Chakradhar Paik also quit the Congress on being denied ticket. Naveen's poaching did not remain confined to Congress party alone. The BJD also lured leaders from the JMM as well. The state president of JMM Sudam Marandi who recently joined the BJD was awarded ticket for Bangiriposi assembly seat, while another former JMM leader Bhadab Hansda is slated to contest from Saraskana assembly seat on BJD ticket. Naveen has not spared the BJP either. Senior BJP leaders like former ministers Golak Naik and Bimbadhar Kuanr joined the BJD. Former deputy mayor of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation Urmila Mohapatra also joined the BJD. Golak Naik has been nominated to contest from Udala assembly seat while another former BJP leader is slated to contest from Jaleswar assembly seat. This apart, as many as 16 independent councillors joined the ruling state party. Independent MLA representing Talcher Braja Pradhan was given a ticket to contest from BJD after joining it. Having succeeded in his game of poaching, Naveen is confident of increasing his tally of Lok Sabha seats from the existing 14. Odisha has 21 Lok Sabha seats. He is also confident about retaining his power chief minister after the assembly polls. The state is going to polls to elect members of Lok Sabha and the state assembly in two phases on April 10 and 17.

Total Seats General Seats SC Seats ST seats

: 21 : 13 : 03 : 05

Total electors

: 2.89 crore Young voters (18-25 yrs)

: 13.45 percent Poll Schedule: 1st Phase : 10th April : 10 seats (Bargarh, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Bolangir, Kalahandi, Nabrangpur, Kandhamal, Aska, Berhampur and Koraput) 2nd Phase : 17th April : 11 seats (Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri and Bhubaneswar)

Performance of Parties in 2009 Won

01

Contested Won

Party

06 14

The Congress party which had 27 seats in the 147-member last assembly is likely to decrease its tally further and the BJP which had six seats is likely to increase its tally marginally. It aspires to emerge as the principal opposition party in the assembly. The BJP looks for winning one or two Lok Sabha seats. It had none from the state in 2009 elections. The Congress campaigning has not picked up the desired momentum in the state due to its weak leadership and exodus of important leaders to the BJD camp. Even the national leaders of the Congress party have given scant attention to the state. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is slated to campaign in

Vote share

BJD

18

14

37.23 pc

Congress

21

06

32.75 pc

BJP

21

00

16.89 pc

JMM

04

00

01.75 pc

BSP

19

00

01.90 pc

CPI

01

01

02.57 pc

Independents

35

00

02.33 pc

Other parties

38

00

04.58 pc

Koraput and Nabrangpur on March 31 where the tribal have given a boycott call. Richer with the bounty of exodus from other parties, Naveen had to cleverly accommodate newcomers while he denied tickets to 35 sitting MLAs and 6 MPs. He fielded four Rajya Sabha MPs, Dilip Tirkey, Rabi Narayan Mohapatra, Sashi Bhushan Behra and AU Singhdeo for Lok Sabha and assembly seats after assessing their winnability. While Tirkey is in the fray from Sundergarh Lok Sabha seat, Mohapatra is to contest Ranpur assembly seat. Sashi Bhushan Behra is in the fray for Jaydev assembly seat and AU Singhdeo is contesting from Bolangir seat.<

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RAJASTHAN

SHIFTING SAND DUNES...

Soaring mercury, sand storms and shifting sand dunes… this is part of life in Thar. But well ahead of the summers, the poll scenario in Rajasthan is caught up in a different type of storm. One of the most prestigious battles is awaited in Barmer, the second largest constituency in Rajasthan. It is an interesting contest between two sons of the soil, rolling out a sort of royal battle of egos, and insistence for scripting a new identity.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi with Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje

By Abha Sharma

t may not be easy for the two—neither for former union minister and nine-time MP Jaswant Singh nor for Col. (retd) Sona Ram Choudhury. Until a few days ago, both were veteran members of the Bhartiya Janata Party and the Congress respectively. Col Sona Ram is now a defector from the Congress, who had lost the 2013 assembly polls. The BJP welcoming him, he couldn’t have asked for more. The state BJP chief and chief minister Vasundhara Raje saw in him a winnable candidate and was paradropped in front of

I

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| LOKAYAT APRIL, 2014

the central election committee, to ensure that the lotus blooms in the desert. After the huge and historic victory Raje got in the last assembly election, did the BJP really need to resort to such a tactic as giving seats on the basis of caste consideration humiliating an old guard and encouraging defection? The move, however, too distressing for the former BJP veteran whose son Manvendra Singh is a sitting BJP MLA from one of the assembly constituencies in Barmer. Curiously, Jaswant Singh, a nine-time MP (four terms Lok Sabha) and former external affairs minister had never contested from Barmer throughout his political career. Instead of recontesting from Darjeeling, he thought of contesting his ‘last election’ from the native place. Manvendra Singh had won his debut Lok Sabha election from Barmer in 2004 defeating Col. Sona Ram. But now that the powerful Jat leader, who recorded a hat-trick in 1996-1998 and 1999 general elections, is a member of the BJP, is being seen as potential threat to Manvendra’s future career in parliamentary politics. Jaswant Singh’s decision to defy party is also likely to impact

Manvendra’s future in BJP. The senior also expected a ministerial berth for his son but Raje didn’t oblige him. Jaswant Singh despite stern warning from the party filed his nomination as an independent candidate and as expected was

BJP veteran Jaswant Singh (PTI photo)

expelled from the party for six years, which saddened him so much as to break-down in a TV interview. He described the party was losing its mission and it had remained no more the party that Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat had envisioned it. The fielding of a defector candidate of ‘questionable public record’ was met with a lot of opposition from some party workers who burnt effigies of Vasundhara Raje and tore posters of Narendra Modi in Barmer. It is however pertinent to remember that Jaswant Singh has been expelled for the second time. In 2009 he was expelled for his book on Jinnah, but was taken back in the party within a


RAJASTHAN year at the initiative of party patriarch Lal Krishna Total Seats : 25 Advani. General Seats : 18 Jaswant Singh has charged the current SC Seats : 04 Total electors leadership of the party frittering away its virtue for ST seats : 03 4.07 crore temporary political gain. But, the battle of Barmer is Young voters (18-29 yrs) not a clash of egos and ideologies alone; it is about : 28.42 percent winning elections at any cost. Barmer constituency Poll Schedule: is known for rivalry between Rajput and Jat voters. There is also sizeable number of Muslim voters which can play a vital role here. Chief minister 1st Phase : 17th April : 20 seats (Ganganagar, Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Vasundhara Raje, however, is not leaving any stone Sikar, Jaipur Rural, Jaipur, Ajmer, Nagaur, Pali, Jodhpur, Barmer, Jalore, unturned to secure BJP victory in Barmer because it Udaipur, Banswara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Bhilwara, Kota, Jhalawar & Baran) is she who had opposed the ticket to Jaswant Singh 2nd Phase : 24th April : 5 seats (Alwar, Bharatpur, Karauli-Dholpur, and to win here is obviously her responsibility. Dausa & Tonk-Sawai Madhopur) The contest now has become a heated battle in Barmer and both veterans have to sweat it out. They both belong to Barmer and it is their home turf but Performance of Parties in 2009 it is a different conflict. While it may be emotional for Jaswant Singh, ethical issues may be haunting 01 Seats the Congress defector. It is a new quest for both as 04 they try to search a new identity for themselves. Col. Sona Ram has been very vocal in criticizing former chief minister Ashok Gehlot over Vote share Contested Won Party Barmer refinery in the past and now he has all the 36.57 pc 04 25 BJP more liberty to fire salvos against his former party. 47.19 pc 20 25 Congress Chief minister Ashok Gehlot and in fact, the 03.37 pc 00 24 BSP Congress in general is demoralised after the massive 01.26 pc 00 03 CPM defeat in assembly polls. 09.31 pc 01 186 Independents The new PCC chief Sachin Pilot has hopes that 02.30 pc 00 83 Other parties 20 the Congress party will be able to regain its lost ground. While he has to retain his seat in Ajmer parliamentary constituency, he also has the hitting chief minister Vasundhara wand, which he doesn’t have. arduous task of mobilising party Raje for her allegedly stopping Sachin Pilot’s only strong point is, workers. Though party vice pensions and free medicines in the he is young and his presence rouses president Rahul Gandhi’s state in the name of reviewing party workers, especially young first election rally in Devli, policies. His task is not easy— ones. But he has to devote Tonk was wound up in six first, because, he doesn’t have considerable time in his own minutes, Pilot has been experience to run state party constituency where he is trying his trying his best to organisation. Secondly, best to talk to people about continue aggressive because his appointment development and taking potshots at campaigning in his came at a time, when the chief minister Raje. constituency. He defeated Congress was The BJP is upbeat and focused has been on its Mission-25. The Congress is dismayed and run out of truly concerned over retaining its steam and demoralised existing tally of 20. Sachin Pilot even while the Lok Sabha elections were has indeed a tough task cut out for round the corner. After him: he has to offer a creditable fight to stop the so-called Modithe unexpected drubbing in the Raje juggernaut in the state. This assembly election, election is sure to throw some surprises. Keep fingers crossed to Sachin Pilot could have know the outcome. Nobody knows perked up the party Congress candidate Sachin Pilot addresses supporters (PTI photo) just now—oont kis karwat mood or its poll baithega?< prospects by a magic

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UTTARAKHAND

DIVIDED CONGRESS MAKES ITS TASK DIFFICULT The Congress had won all the five seats in 2009, but this time it has made its task difficult by its own dilemma and delays in announcing candidates. By Rajiv Sharma

ongress is facing an uphill task in finding suitable candidates from all five seats in Uttarakhand. While, the BJP finalised its candidates much earlier, who have even completed canvassing in more than half of their constituencies for the May 7 Lok Sabha poll, Congress was still in a state of confusion as to who should be fielded from where. The new chief minister Harish Rawat, who was made the CM as the last ditch effort to salvage the party by Rahul Gandhi, is finding it increasingly difficult to bring together all warring factions in the party. Earlier, the situation was troublesome for the BJP however it timely overcame the problem by fielding all three former chief ministersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri and Bhagat Singh Koshyariâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in the electoral battlefield, giving various claimants no option to come out against with their grudges. This has given psychological advantage

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UTTARAKHAND

Total Seats General Seats SC Seats

: 05 : 04 : 01

Poll Schedule:

Poll Date

: 7th May

: All 5 seats

(Tehri-Garhwal, Garhwal,

Almora, Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar and Hardwar)

Performance of Parties in 2009 Seats

05 Party

over the Congress. The problem in Congress got compounded when its top leaders sought tickets for their sons and daughters rather for themselves. Moreover, state unit of the Congress is rudderless since last December, which has only worsened its woes. The former state unit chief and cabinet minister in Harish Rawat ministry, Yashpal Arya, who is also the Dalit face of the party in the state, is currently officiating as the PCC president. The Congress high command had sought Arya’s resignation in December, but having

Contested Won

Vote share

BJP

05

00

33.80 %

Congress

05

05

43.14 %

BSP

05

00

15.24 %

SP

02

00

01.83 %

UKKD

05

00

01.23 %

Independents

29

00

02.74 %

Other parties

25

00

01.92 %

failed to find a suitable choice, he was asked to officiate as the president. Earlier, the Congress stood good chance from at least three constituencies—Haridwar, Nainital and Tehri, as they have sizeable number of the minority communities. However, despite pressure from the party, the former CM Vijay Bahuguna who was replaced by Rawat due to his failure to give timely assistance to the victims of the flash flood which took hundreds of lives, is reluctant to contest from Tehri which he represented in the

15th Lok Sabha before his elevation as the CM. Sources say Bahuguna fears sabotage from Harish Rawat faction, hence he wants the seat for his son Saket Bahuguna who lost the by-poll which had caused much embarrassment to senior Bahuguna. As if it was not enough, the sitting Congress MP from Pauri Satpal Maharaj gave the biggest jolt when he joined the BJP with his thousands of followers. Sources say Maharaj who has great influence in especially Pauri also wanted a ticket for his son but the Congress was not willing to oblige him. Since, Harish Rawat and Satpal Maharaj don’t see eye to eye for years, it finally forced Maharaj to strike a deal with the BJP. Sources say under the deal after Lok Sabha election, he would be made CM of the state with the support of some Congress MLAs who owe allegiance to him. Ironically, Lt General Gambhit Singh Negi who is Sonia Gandhi’s choice for replacing Maharaj finally refused to accept his nomination as he is close to Maharaj. Not only the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party also found it difficult to announce names of its candidates as number of applicants was unmanageably high. The party is sanguine about its performance in this hill state as literacy rate and level of awareness is high here. Moreover many famous names in intelligentsia, namely the first woman director general of police in the country Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya, Uttarakhand Mahila Manch president Kamla Pant and popular folk singer Narendra Singh Negi among others have joined the party. The party suffers from lack of funds, and even volunteers yet it is expected to get good number of votes. If luck favours, it may win one or two seats also as it is successfully exposing corruption cases of both the major parties and people find them credible. However, most political analysts say, it would only turn out as a spoiler party.<

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DELHI

BJP FRUSTRATED AT AAP ATTACK ON MODI The results of the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi will indicate which party would form the next government in the capital city where Arvind Kejriwal suddenly resigned as chief minister after the BJP and the Congress joined hands to oppose his government. By Lokayat Correspondent

he signs of frustration in the BJP leaders were visible on the very first day when the fledgling Aam Aadmi Party won 28 seats out of 70 in Delhi assembly ruining saffron party’s chances of coming back to power in the state capital after 15 years’ wait, but it is only mounting day by day as the polling date for Lok Sabha is approaching. It is more upset at AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal’s exposing Gujarat model of development in Varanasi when he in a rally declared his candidature against him. Not only he, but AAP’s more than 400 candidates contesting Lok Sabha elections are busy creating awareness about the true nature of BJP politics including the need to cleanse politics tainted by communalism and corruption across the country and are puncturing the inflated hype about Modi generated by electronic media and allegedly paid surveys across the country. But the big question lingers in the mind of many voters in Delhi if AAP would be able to show similar stunning performance in 7 Lok Sabha seats of Delhi, it showed last December during the assembly elections. Most political analysts believe that Delhiites may vote him again in the assembly elections, but for the Lok Sabha they may prefer national parties only. Meanwhile the Congress has recovered some of its lost

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ground in Delhi. It is trying to retain its Muslim support by seeking support of Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Abdullah Bukhari. The grand old party had won only 8 seats out of 70 in the assembly elections. Some surveys have revealed that goodwill for AAP remains intact despite high decibel combined propaganda of the BJP and the Congress against it that CM Kejriwal ran away from shouldering the responsibility of running the government in just 49 days. But the AAP is trying to counter it by saying, it is the BJP and the Congress, who ran away from facing fresh assembly elections which could be held with the Lok Sabha elections without any

additional expenditure. Kejriwal had recommended dissolution of the Delhi assembly and fresh elections. But the UPA government at the Centre did not accept the recommendation. This has been challenged by AAP in the supreme court. The residents of Delhi remember several good things which Kejriwal government had done during a short period of 49 days, like reducing electricity bill by half and supply free water upto a limit. The corruption too had declined. But this alone may not prompt Delhi voters to vote for AAP candidates in the Lok Sabha election. They think that the AAP at this stage has no role at national level however by fielding more than 400 candidates across the country, with Kejriwal often mentioning that his party would win 100 seats, an impression has been created about its relevance at national level. But AAP’s campaigning is suffering from lack of funds and volunteers as many of them have been sent to other important constituencies. The BJP has fielded its chief ministerial candidate Dr Harshvardhan for Chandni Chowk seat where union Telecom minister Kapil Sibal is valiantly fighting. Famous TV journalist Ashutosh has been fielded here by the AAP. The East Delhi seat is also witnessing a tough fight where the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Rajmohan Gandhi has been fielded by the AAP. Former chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s son Sandeep Dikshit is trying to regain his seat here. Former Delhi minister Rakhi Birla, whose ticket was cancelled initially after some protest by AAP members, again got it when the announced candidate later declined to contest. Overall, the fight is direct between the BJP and the AAP on many seats.<


CAMPUS

HOMEOPATHIC COLLEGES ON SUICIDAL COURSE Allowing homeopathic doctors to prescribe allopathic medicines is preposterous as the basic philosophies of the two systems of medicine and their approach to diagnosis and treatment of patients are vastly different. Yet the private homeopathic college lobby in Maharashtra has been able to pressure the state government to create legal provision to do so. Professional bodies are up in arms because such a step is patently wrong and suicidal.

By Dr Sushil Vats

he Maharashtra cabinet has given the green signal to homoeopathic doctors to prescribe allopathic medicines, but with a rider that homoeopaths in the state would have to undergo one-year certificate course in allopathic pharmacology. The

T

state has around 62,000 homoeopaths who are looking forward to this measure to help them practice allopathy legally. It is an open secret that more than 90 per cent of homeopaths in Maharashtra practise allopathy illegally. Knowledgeable people say that it is the reason why Maharashtra has the maximum number of homoeopathic

colleges in the country. Those who cannot get admission to MBBS programme, come here to become a doctor by joining a homoeopathic college. Those passing out with a homeopathic degree invariably start allopathic practice with impunity and make money. There is furore over the new measure of the Maharashtra government. The Indian Medical Association’s Maharashtra chapter has registered its strong opposition. It has termed the cabinet decision not only bad in law but also an unwarranted interference in medical education which is beyond the purview of the state government. The IMA’s state branch says an MBBS student learns pharmacology in the initial three years of the four & half-year long course; how can a homeopathic doctor cover this vast course of study in just one year. Sources say the Maharashtra government was pressured by the strong private homoeopathic medical college lobby to create some legal safeguard for the 60,000-odd homoeo practitioners’ community, which has been illegally indulging in allopathic practice. Their argument is that if practitioners of Ayurveda and Unani systems were legally allowed to prescribe allopathic medicines under the Maharashtra Medical Council Act and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, why should not homoeopathic doctors enjoy the same privilege. Not surprisingly, most homoeopathic colleges in Maharashtra are owned by politicians and, of late, they have been worried about dwindling admissions in their institutions. So politicians of all hues and descriptions ganged up and virtually forced the government to take this wrong step. It is believed that since homeopaths can now legally prescribe allopathic medicines, admissions to BHMS course in Maharashtra colleges will swell hereafter and help this ‘industry’ prosper.

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CAMPUS FILMWORLD But many well-wishers of homeopathy call the government measure nothing short of murder of homeopathy. They argue that homeopathy and allopathy are two different sciences, and their approach to treating patients is diametrically

The West Bengal government also has, by an order, on Feb 6, 2014 provided that Ayush doctors can prescribe allopathic medicines. But they have been allowed to prescribe only those medicines which are included in various National Health Programmes, not those 22 drugs that are specified for the National Cancer Programme. opposite. But regrettably a few members including the vice-president of the Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH), a body meant to regulate homeopathic education in the country, violated the basic spirit and ethics of their profession and lobbied strongly for this change. State health minister Vijay Kumar Gavit argued in the state assembly that there was acute shortage of allopathic doctors, and to tackle this situation, homeopaths should be allowed to practice allopathy provided they undergo one-year study of allopathic pharmacology. He suggested that Maharashtra Medical Practitionersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Act should be modified to this effect. He announced that the state government would start a oneyear course in allopathic

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pharmacology for homeopaths and the Central Council of Homoeopathy would be requested to include the subject of allopathic pharmacology in its courses. Some politicians were of the opinion that homoeopaths practicing in rural areas were at a disadvantage vis-Ă -vis Ayurvedic and Unani doctors who were allowed to practice allopathy legally. It may be recalled that not just the current NCPCongress government, but a decade back Shiv Sena-BJP government also had passed an order allowing homeopaths to practice allopathy. However, the order did not see the light of the day because of certain inherent technical lacunae. Maharashtra has the distinction of having the maximum number of homoeopathic colleges in any one

state, but interestingly there is not even one under the government patronage. Not even a government dispensary! On the other hand, in most private homeopathic colleges in Maharashtra patients are routinely given allopathic treatment. In such a scenario one wonders how, if any, genuine homoeopathic knowledge and training are imparted to students there. The result is there for all to see: hundreds of complaints are filed against homoeopaths for endangering patients by administering allopathic medicines. In a case involving one Dr Ashwin Patel the Supreme Court ruled that homeopaths could not practice allopathy and violation of this law was a criminal offence. The apex court was categorical in stating that doctors should practice only the

system of medicine in which they are qualified. The Bombay Homeopathic Practitioners Act, 1959 does not allow registered homeopathic doctors to practise any system other than homeopathy. A senior homoeopath in Delhi said that starting a refresher course in allopathic pharmacology was not within the purview of a state government, as this was the prerogative of the Medical Council of India (MCI). Many doctors feel, the instant action of the Maharashtra government under pressure from the powerful homeopathic college lobby in the state is a mistake which will invite censure not only from the MCI and the CCH, but also from the courts. They argue that if homoeopaths are allowed to

Short term courses in pharmacology without adequate knowledge of microbiology, biochemistry and other associated subjects that are in the MBBS syllabus is a risky proposition which may result in indiscriminate dispensing of allopathic medicines, and endanger lives of patients. practise allopathy in Maharashtra, other states may follow suit and very soon a situation would arise when everyone with a homeopathic degree will be practising allopathy. The Central Council of Homeopathy president Dr Ramjee Singh termed the action of the Maharashtra government as patently wrong and against law, especially against existing CCH and MCI Acts.<


FILMWORLD

KOCHADAIIYAAN TO BE RELEASED IN SIX INDIAN LANGUAGES By Our Film Critic

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or the first time in the history of Indian Cinema, much-awaited film 'Kochadaiiyaan' featuring Tamil superstar Rajinikanth and Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone in the lead, would be released in six different Indian languages: Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Punjabi, Bhojpuri and Marathi. Later for international market it would also be dubbed in English. Directed by Rajnikanthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s daughter Soundarya Rajini, the film is told to be as one of the costliest ones to be made in Tamil, reportedly on a budget of more than Rs 100 crore. The film is about three kings and their wars through various generations showing victory of good over the evil. To give special effect motion capturing technology has been used, for the first time in any Indian film. Rajini has played a dual role, that of father and son. Two year long shooting for the film was reportedly completed by the end of February last year, then postproduction work was taken up in the United Kingdom, the United States, Hong Kong, and China. The film is scheduled to be released during the summer season. Karbonn Mobiles, one of the movie's sponsors, is planning to undertake a massive marketing campaign for the film. Hoardings and banners of the movie will be displayed at 3,650 petrol outlets in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The music is scored by A R Rahman. The movie has actor-politician R Sarathkumar, Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff, Tamil actors Adhi, Nasser, actress and danseuse Shobana also.<

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FILMWORLD

I AM LEARNING ACTING EVEN NOW AMITABH BACHCHAN says that he does not like to be called the King of Bollywood

Excerpts from a conversation: By Jyothi Venkatesh

What is your role in Bhoothnath Returns?

Amitabh Bachchan launched the first look and theatrical trailer of his upcoming film ‘Bhoothnath Returns’, jointly produced by Bhushan Kumar, Kishan Kumar and Renu Ravi Chopra under the banner of TSeries and B R Studios, at PVR Juhu.

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revise my role of a friendly ghost along with Boman who plays a politician and the film’s child artist Parth Bhalerao who plays the role of Akhrot. The national award winning actress Usha Jadhav plays Akhrot’s mother in the film. Bhoothnath Returns is an attempt by Renu and Ravi Chopra to take forward with Bhushan Kumar of T Series such a popular character of Bhoothnath with kids. This part is for all age groups and will get funnier with all of us playing really very hilarious characters. I am thankful to the producers to have approached me for the sequel again

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Can you elaborate on your role? hoothnath Returns’ is an entertaining tale of good against evil, weak against powerful, and past against future. This small kid Parth is the only one who can see me in the film. In this film, he is the hero and I am zero. I am being sent back to earth from Heaven after being taunted and severely admonished that I am a useless ghost if I cannot even scare even a small kid and what forms afterwards forms the crux of the story. The film has been directed by Nitesh Tiwari, who had earlier directed ‘Chillar Party’ along with Vikas Bahl, whose next film ‘Queen’ is all set for release shortly.

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Your association with B.R Films started long back! es. My association with B R Films started long back, even before I was signed to play the lead in ‘Zameer’ along with Sairaji and Shammiji. B R Films is a massive institution thanks to people like BRji, Yashji and Kookie (Ravi Chopra). During the two days I was here in Bombay when I had come to the Filmfare Madhuri Talent Contest, I went to a party by B R Choprasaab at his house at Nepean Sea Road. It was a great honor for me to be there at his party. Though I was rejected by the Filmfare Madhuri guys after the preliminary stage, every time I was in Bombay I used to make it a point to go and meet Mr Chopra.

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FILMWORLD

How do you react when you are hailed as the King of Bollywood? do not believe in the tag of Bollywood King and do not like to be foisted with it. If you want to learn acting, you have to be a good observer. I have been almost for 45 years in this industry but I have still not learnt acting. I would say that even now I am learning acting every day by observing others on the sets. I remember as we used to feel that if we wear red clothes over our capechaddhi, we can also be supermen in real life.

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What do you think about the new generation of actors today? rankly speaking, when we started our careers, all of us never used to do such good job as actors in our first films. I am amazed and impressed at the way the young actors are doing their job. The child star Parth, with whom I am acting in ‘Bhoothnath Returns’ has done an amazing job in the Marathi film ‘Killa’, which was showcased at the recent Berlin International Film Festival.<

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BUSINESS & FINANCE

POLITICAL RALLY IN STOCK MARKET Sentiments matter more than the actual economic numbers in the stock market. The current rally is being fueled by the hopes that Narendra Modi may be the next prime minister. This sentiment has been boosted by various surveys. But the experience of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections is a proof that voters of the country may also give a rude jolt to such hopes. Caution is warranted in such sentiments based market movements. By Janmesh Jain

here were several bad news for the stock marketâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the national growth rate came down to 4.7 percent amidst government assuring claims that it would not go below 5 percent, price rise refusing to come to the comfort level of the RBI, which doggedly continued to retain hawkish monetary policies. More than any other thing, the decision of the Federal Reserve of the US to taper its quantitative easing programme by incremental reduction of $ 10 billion each month in bond purchases, sent a wave of jitter among investors. Things would not just stop there, bad economic data from China poured in. By the time investors could discount all these bad wibes, suddenly Ukraine crisis erupted, threatening its disintegration and resultant return of the cold war between the US and Russia. It became fashionable for commentators to declare India as one of the fragile five countries, which can create chaos in world markets. They would even go to the extent of bracketing it with South Africa and Turkey.

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Despite all this, suddenly to the dismay of those who had sold a lot of stocks, the market in the first week of March suddenly became bullish, transcending repeatedly the previous highs. What was behind this miracle? Election surveys were responsible for it. They had crystallized the view that with the BJP as the largest single winner of seats in the forthcoming general elections for the Lok Sabha,

Narendra Modi, known as business friendly leader would form the new government. Even otherwise pre-election rallies are common. This is evident in Thailand and Indonesia as well where the stock market has become bullish. Market watchers say that market players do not wait for events to happen, they anticipate and react to it. They discount the possibilities in advance. This is the reason the stock market jumped and within 7-8 sessions reached a dreamy Sensex figure of 22,000. But as ever Indian investors, more specifically the small investors, remained aloof from the rally. The Indian stock market remains fully controlled by foreign institutional investors (FIIs). Whatever upheavals, they are inflicted by them. When they suddenly pump in money, it soars beyond any reasonable calculation, similarly when they decide to take out some money, the market gets rapturous jitters. All this makes Indian investors befuddled. This is the reason at least small investors have spoken good bye to the stock market despite efforts were made in the two central budgets to ensure their participation. The current pre-election rally thanks to FIIs returning after a month in the Indian market is treacherous. The rally is limited to only those shares


BUSINESS & FINANCE that are included in various indices like Sensex, Nifty, and Bank Nifty etc. FII buying is concentrated on the ‘economy’ stocks.” He was referring to those in the capital goods, banking and state-owned companies’ sectors. Most other shares are still languishing, especially of the mid cap and small cap companies, keeping many general investors still unhappy as they find many of their shares have not gone up despite the so-call Modi rally. Problematic behavior of Indian investors is that they always participate in the rally when it is too late and market is on the verge of reaching the peak. Quite often no sooner did they start buying, profit booking

and correction mode sets in. The freakish behaviour of the market, much owing to the smart money of the FIIs, has sapped the confidence of the Indian investors. No wonder they like to keep their savings in fixed deposits. This time around there is another risk involved. The current rally, based on election expectations presented by mood surveys may turn out wrong. And if that happens, especially instead of Narendra Modi government, a wobbly third front government is formed, then the market may punish those badly who have decided to buy stocks now. Surprises are not uncommon in elections. We have already seen past two elections of Lok Sabha in 2004 and 2009, which went against the narratives various surveys had presented then. There is another set of market commentators who blurt out that no matter what government, the worst for the Indian economy is over and sooner than later the growth is set to pick up. They argue that GDP number has started showing some uptick though just a miniscule 0.1 percent point, current account deficit thanks to efforts of the finance minister P Chidambaram has dramatically come down and aided by the drop in food prices, the latest Consumer Price Index-based inflation for the month of February fell to 8.1 percent the second lowest since its launch in 2012. The foreign exchange situation of the country generates the confidence that the much feared US tapering will not impact India like other emerging economies. According to proponents of the positive view, the current breakout after six-year consolidation is based on sound logic. They also say that even a weak coalition government would not be the end of the road for the markets. There may be a sharp initial setback, but the markets would regain their composure soon.<

Three worrying factors here are three worrying things for the Indian stock market. One is related to gold imports. The finance minister had imposed a lot of restrictions on the import of gold to improve the current account deficit data. He did succeed in his endeavour and brought down gold imports from 3 percent to 1.6 percent of the GDP, but restrictions on gold import cannot continue for a very long term. Whenever it would be freed, it would impact again the current account especially if the export growth does not materialise the way it is expected in view of the improving economy of the US. The second is the US taper as it would make the dollar stronger and FIIs may be tempted to draw money from India to deploy in US treasuries. They have already reduced their investments in Indian bonds by $ 15 billion during last 9 months. The third worrying factor is the Chinese economy, which is displaying signs of slowdown. Nobody expects that Chinese economy would crash, but the debt level of Chinese companies is mounting.<

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SPORT

FINANCIAL BONANZA VERSUS For all its accessibility and technical advancement, sports as a spectacle or an avenue for excelling in skills and team spirit, seems to have reached its peak. Watch any of the sports channels and you find the spectacle of near-empty stadiums and much less boisterousness. Where have all the crowds gone?

Ramu Sharma

he English Premier League, which till a couple of years ago had the most spectacular viewership, now faces the fate of half-filled stands and tense players and

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coaches. There is unpredictability to the way the teams are faring. There are no clear leaders and it’s difficult to guess who would have the trophies. Midway through the season one finds players and even coaches being given marching orders. One finds the team owners in the stands and gesticulating and the players looking to them for approval, or for their survival. And these owners seem to come from as diverse fields as ousted Asian politicians on the run, American hedge fund owners to Indian chicken hatchery conglomerates. There are the inevitable baby-faced middle-eastern oil tycoons.

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Now a Malaysian baron in dark glasses can also be seen on the stands. Almost towards the end of the season, one cannot spot a clear winner. There is a seesaw going on and any of the three or four top teams

can clinch the title. In this scenario one cannot but notice some interesting patterns. For instance, Tottenham Hot Spurs suddenly sacked their high profile coach Andre Vilas Boas and asked the assistant coach Sherwood to take over. A former player with a low profile, the new coach just gave a pep talk to his players and reminded them of the way they used to play when they were young, kicking a ball in the streets without a thought. He didn’t unravel any intricate plan, didn’t bring any laptop to the field, and didn’t engage any video crew to record the games of the opponents and analyze their strategies and work out the counter. He just sat back. The first match after this homily was an eye-opener. The once flamboyant Emmanuel Adebayor, who till then was playing a listless game, never moving out of the box and waiting for the wingers to feed him, started playing all over the field. And that spirit caught on and


SPORT

THINNIG CROWDS hereafter it was a transformed Empty seats during a gam team. Adebayor was all of a sudden among the goals. There is a lesson in this experiment, and it certainly might not be a lasting one. Earlier, in a previous year, another stopgap coach had also taken the Chelsea to Munich and helped it beat Bayern Munich. Benitez had been asked to take over from the celebrated Ancellotti who was dismissed midway. If temporary coaches are able to motivate players what is the need for high-profile managers, the owners seem to think. They do not care for the crowds or the players even if the teams bring some silverware at the end of the season. If this is the scene in English Premier League one can explain thin crowds and the sense of fatigue that seems to have Zenit, CSKA Draw in Empty Stadium enveloped the stadiums elsewhere. It is all over Europe except perhaps Germany where they take their game seriously and it matches are being televised so is not totally given over to the market slipshod and stadiums are so bare one forces. The stands are full and the wonders what purpose all this does ticket prices are much less than in the serve. recession-hit England and other On top of that is the euphoria European countries. created over India winning the bid for There is a lesson the Under 17 world cup tournament somewhere here for India. in 2017. Already FIFA experts The whole planning have inspected one of the here, as far as football stadiums and given their is concerned, is so thumbs up sign. Which are askew that it would the other venues and how are need a spook to unravel they shaping up is not clear. the mystery. The newly What about the preparations introduced Indian Premier for putting up a team that would League was somehow survive the preliminary rounds and conducted, the I-League chugs along, reach at least the quarter final stage? and now the Santosh Trophy Have the boys been selected, has there tournament is being held in so many been any talent spotters working places that one cannot keep track. The quietly and going round the country?

Are there any boysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; level tournaments, apart from the Subroto Cup? Do schools have any inter-state or even inter district level tourneys? Unless the nucleus of the team is selected well in advance and given enough coaching, it would be an uphill task for the hosts to put a decent show. They have to be exposed to big matches and made to play against better equipped teams. With the World Cup, to be held in Brazil, just months away and the whole world expecting this spectacle, it is time we also prepare not only the venues, but also the team for the youth tourney. We have the experience of having made a mess of the Commonwealth Games with all its dire consequences to learn from. It is time that the right leadership is found and talent to match and make a good show, and not wait for some stopgap coach to work a miracle. In these lean and depressing times that would give us something to cheer.<

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SCIENCE

CASTE SYSTEM BEGAN 1900 YEARS AGO

Scientists have found evidence after studying nearly one million genetic markers in 73 ethno-linguistic groups that modern Indians are products of mixing of diverse groups over thousands of years. Checks on inter-marrying came only after casteism took firm roots some 1900 years ago. The message is clear: the current discrimination in the name of caste and region has no scientific basis, and all Indians, regardless of region or caste, possess more and less the same genesâ&#x20AC;Ś

By Vinod Varshney

he caste system in India creates fresh bias and hostility today, especially in the election season, because more and more sectarian groups make demands for job reservation in government and educational institutions. But seen in the light of genetics, there is not much

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difference amongst its population. The difference exists in only one percent of their genes. With immense advances in science, it is now possible to trace the history of various population groups. Some recent studies point out that the caste system in India is not very old. Ancient literature does provide some evidence, and genetic studies endorse it. The caste system, as it is practiced now, is more about restriction in marriage between diverse groups and perpetuating the divisions for the sake of securing privileges. But genetic studies reveal that marriages among diverse population groups were the norm in ancient India. This means no group can

No one can claim that one is purely a South Indian or North Indian. The genetic evidence based on Reich's 2009 study, which analysed 25 different Indian population groups, suggests that initially there were indeed two main strainsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Ancestral North Indian (ANI) and Ancestral South Indian (ASI). The ANIs were related to Central Asians, MiddleEasterners, Caucasians and Europeans while ASIs were primarily from the subcontinent. They might have lived side by side for long but did not intermarry. The genetic mixing through marriages started some 4,200 years ago and continued till about the first century AD. claim any genetic purity. No one can say he or she is a pure Brahmin or Vaisya etc. The trend of marital mixing continued until about 1900 years ago. Ancient literature provides evidence that the period between 2200 BC and the first century AD was marked by tremendous demographic and cultural exchanges among Indian population. The Indus Valley civilization shifted eastwards owing to vagaries of the monsoon. People who engaged in agriculture settled in small groups along the Ganges belt. It was they who gave rise to the Vedic culture. This seems to be the period when inter-marrying began in a big way.


SCIENCE

Genetic studies also show that there was no migration from west Eurasia to India during the time of the said massive admixture of populations between 4,200-1,900 years from now. The RigVeda, a collection of hymns nearly 3,500 years old which mentions chieftains with South Indian names, is literaturebased proof of intermarriage between ANIs and ASIs. Another study found that there was no shared ancestry between the ANIs and groups in west Eurasia within the past 12,500 years. It means West Eurasians might have come to India before that period only. People migrated in multiple waves. There is no evidence of genetic mixing prior to 4200 years from now. Population groups might have lived side by side but there is no sign of inter-mingling. Inter-marrying became common thereafter and continued up to 1900 years ago. Then suddenly it stopped. Why? A genetic study undertaken jointly by the Harvard Medical School and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad on 571 carefully selected individuals from 73 welldefined ethno-linguistic groups in South Asia (71 Indians and 2 Pakistanis), has revealed that inter-

Manusmriti gave the caste system anusmriti is dated between 200 BC and 100 AD which gave caste system in as much as it codifies professions and social conducts of people pursuing those professions, giving rise to strict social stratification. Prescription of social conduct meant many restrictions also. Originally these preferable conduct and restrictions were linked to one’s profession, but later became linked to birth. It became a tool of discrimination, oppression and exploitation. The Shudra were specially treated inhumanly.<

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If the new genetic information is put in the backdrop of ancient texts, one can say with some certainty that class distinctions (varnas—Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Shudra) emerged in India 3,000 to 3,500 years ago, and profession-based caste divisions became strict and birth-based 1,900 years ago. marrying stopped around 1900 years ago. This was the time the caste system started in India and put a bar on marrying outside one’s caste. That there was no caste system prior to 1900 years from now is also evident from the part of the Rig Veda that was written in an earlier period. No mention of castes there. There was plenty of social movement, meaning persons of one population group were marrying into those of other population groups. This explains the presence of a wide variety

of genes in Indian population. But by the time Manusmriti was written several centuries after Rig Veda, the trend of inter-marrying in diverse social groups had stopped. Within just a short period the caste system had got firm roots in society. This was shown on the basis of linguistic and literary proofs, as well as genetic studies. Four classes (varnas)— Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra-find mention in the Rig Veda parts written later.<

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NEW GADGET

4K TVS ARE HERE, BUT…. Ultra High Definition TV, nicknamed 4K TV, revolutionizing TV-viewing experience with four times sharper pictures has come in Indian markets…. but on account of nonavailability of telecast content of compatible quality, they are of no use here immediately. By Manish Dixit

echnology advances at a furious pace, it is virtually uncontrollable. It was not long ago when people took understandable pride in their High Definition TV sets. They came in the market a few years ago. Despite hard sell about a revolutionary experience in TV viewing, many were slow in switching over to the remarkable new technology. This, however, did not deter or decelerate the TV technology: the juggernaut rolled on at an accelerated pace. The latest dingus to come is Ultra-High Definition TV, nicknamed 4K TV. A 4K TV picture is four times clearer and sharper than the familiar High Definition TV. The new 4K TVs have come to India too—Sony is the first to introduce them here. Samsung, LG and Toshiba followed it quickly enough. Many people here have not heard about it, or know what difference it makes to TV viewing. Simply put you get sharper, clearer, more colourful picture—truly lifelike. But the moot question is: what use is this revolutionary TV in India? Such Ultra-High Definition TVs are useless if telecast content of matching quality is not available here. Television broadcast in India is mainly in Standard Definition (SD), matching with the existing display resolution of the ordinary TV. We have to remember that TV came to India in the early 60s and it telecast only black and white contents until the early 80s. Doordarshan was the only broadcaster. Colour broadcasting started during the New Delhi Asian Games. Today there are hundreds of TV channels in India, but only 27 channels telecast their content in full High Definition (HD) range. And, nearly all, barring a few cable operators, can be accessed only by satellite-based DTH (direct to home) receivers.

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NEW GADGET There is no 4K DTH telecast available here. The point is, if there is he number of horizontal and vertical no 4K telecast, it lines in the picture tube defines the resmakes no sense in olution of pictures on TV screens. For buying a 4K TV easy understanding we will stick to the vertical scanning set. lines. Most old tube TVs and even flat screen TVs have Yes, there 625 lines. This is what is referred to as Standard Definition are people who (SD); but this does not give much detail and sharpness to like to access pictures. Then came the High Definition (HD) TV. The limited 4K- level entry-level HD TVs have 1366 lines (HD Ready) and the content through best HD TVs today have 1920 lines (Full HD). But the broadband. They movie industry, especially the digital Multiplex relish such highMovie Theatre projection went ahead with a end TVs. The latest higher resolution with 4096 lines. The 4K 4K TV sets do have term is derived from it.< powerful in-built

What does 4K mean?

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processors to upscale full High Definition content to viewable Ultra-High Definition resolution. But for this grand viewing one has to pay a high price! Currently a 4K TV set comes in the range of Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 24 lakh depending upon the screen size. Once 4K content becomes available in plenty, companies may be encouraged to produce small screen TV sets of 4Kdefinition range for Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000.<

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HEALTH IS WEALTH

SLEEP EATING–A STRANGE LIFESTYLE DISORDER stage only. Sleep eaters are known to often walk out for eating during the night, impacting their sleep adversely, and therefore, their day-time

Symptoms of the disorder

By Dr P K Mukherjee

lthough many of you must have heard about sleep walking but very few may actually be aware of sleep eating. Some people tend to eat in their sleep. There are two types of sleep-eating— one is conscious while eating during sleep, but the other is not. Both these sleep-related eating disorders are actually lifestyle disorders. Medically, one is known as Night Eating Syndrome and the other one is known as Nocturnal Sleep-related Eating Disorder (NS-RED). Although NSRED is not as common as sleepwalking, it is often known to occur during sleepwalking. The common behaviour is the person would go to kitchen or the fridge during sleep-walking and eat. The next morning she would not realise that she had indeed done so. There may be a number of reasons behind nocturnal eating disorder. People who diet rigorously during the day may be tempted to binge in their sleep. Alcoholism or nicotine addiction could also be a contributing factor. Extreme stress could be another reason for this disorder. Sleep eating mostly occurs during deep sleep. This stage of sleep is known as delta stage when the mind is known to have minimal control over the body. Most sleepwalking and sleeptalking are likely to occur during delta

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as it might greatly interfere with his or her nutrition pattern also. Actually, the patient of this disorder has virtually zero control over his eating during sleep, resulting into obesity.

functioning gets severely affected due to lack of proper sleep. This syndrome may be quite annoying for the sufferer

Since the sufferer does not remember of his sleep-eating, it is discovered by presence of food or utensils left out at unusual places, may be just near the bed. Such people may have very little or practically no appetite for breakfast, sometimes not much of an appetite throughout the day. If the disorder is discovered by a person, it won’t be advisable to shrug the situation off or shy away from taking consultation, for it might require medical intervention. According to medical practitioners, sleep-eating disorder is quite a mysterious condition for which proper diagnosis is required. An extensive sleep evaluation is the first step in order to diagnose the basic problem. As sleep eating often gets induced during times of stress, the person should learn to manage his stress.<



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