One achievement must be credited to him straight away. He has removed the screen behind which Congress and the BJP romance. Kejriwal has taken full advantage of the media attention – at the India Today Conclave, for instance – to tear into the Congress-BJP collusion. Will this considerable expose not have a bearing on the election? That the two parties are indistinguishable on economic and social issues cannot be lost on the electorate, particularly minorities. Look at the list of their candidates: they are both equally thick skinned on corruption.
A year ago, the media had hyped up a Narendra Modi versus Rahul Gandhi campaign. Modi rose to the bait but Rahul did not. Somehow, the Confederation of Indian Industry roped him in for an hour’s solo performance in April which did not set the Jamuna on fire. Word went out that he would concentrate on building up the party. The December 8 election results must have disturbed India Inc on several counts. The Congress was sinking; BJP did stand its ground in all four states but there was no discernible Modi magic. Upsetting all calculations, AAP came to power in Delhi within a year of being born.
Conventional wisdom being forged by lobbies is veering around to the view that there shall be either a UPA-III or an NDA-II after the 2014 General Elections. In which case why this high decibel clamour for Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi as prime ministerial candidates for the BJP and Congress respectively? Of course such a facile scenario would simplify matters for the talk show hosts, the TRP hunters: just place faces in those six boxes on the screen and trigger a daily diet of prime time cacophony, as riveting as a street brawl.
I have, by way of a diversion, looking at the deteriorating communal situation nearer home, in UP. Let me begin with Faizabad, the precursor of Lucknow’s great culture.
Tired of the escalating infighting in the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) over the leadership issue, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has decided to take the matter of deciding the next Leader of Opposition (LOP) into its own hands. According to sources, the Sangh has formed a committee under the leadership of its senior leader Madan Das Devi to select L K Advani's successor. Other RSS leaders who are in the committee include Shrikant Joshi, Madhubhai, Suresh Soni, and Indresh Kumar.
The world, including India, maybe facing a severe economic crisis but it seems that the Indian political parties are immune to the global economic slowdown. According to a recently released survey of Centre for Media Studies, around Rs 10,000 crores (USD 2 billion) will be spent on Lok Sabha Polls 2009. This does not include the cost of conducting assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. What is surprising here is that the amount to be spent (USD 2 billion) is more than what US President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates spent on their campaigns.
Bharatiya Janashakti Party leader Uma Bharti declared last week that she wholeheartedly supported BJP leader L K Advani's bid to become the next prime minister. In a letter to the veteran BJP leader, Bharti wrote that in the context of present political scenario, internal and external challenges that India faces, he is the best suited person to lead the country.