Dynasties stand together
The alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress has come unstuck,but both parties have a perfect understanding on protecting each other’s dynasty. Mulayam Singh Yadav has repeatedly said the SP will not field candidates against Sonia Gandhi in Rai Bareli and against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. No one from the Congress has stated how they will reciprocate,but sources said the party is not going to field candidates against Mulayam Singh Yadav in Mainpuri,his son Akhilesh Yadav in Ferozabad and nephew Dharmendra Yadav in Badayun. The insiders insist that this unwritten agreement between the two parties will hold.
Homework saves the day
Secondary Education Minister Rangnath Mishra finally heaved a sigh of relief after his meeting with Chief Minister Mayawati on March 3. Mayawati had blamed him,among others,for the debacle in Bhadohi and had publicly announced that the guilty would be taken to task. Mishra collected details of booth-wise votes polled by BSP candidate Amar Saroj,compared these with the record of the 2004 election,and tried to convince Behanji that the number of Brahmin votes polled by the party had actually increased. Clearly,Mishra has been successful. He has been asked to take care of the coordination with the Brahmin Bhaichara Committees in 10 constituencies of eastern UP.
The National Dalit Front — comprising Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party,Udit Raj’s Indian Justice Party,the Republican Party of India and the Gondwana Party — is in tatters. Udit Raj,who is convenor of the NDF,is angry over the LJP deciding to field former Prime Minister V P Singh’s son Ajey Singh from Fatehpur without consulting him. Udit Raj himself was keen to contest from Fatehpur,but LJP argues that Ajey Singh will help it make inroads among the Rajput voters in Bihar,where the party is locked in a fight for supremacy against Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal. The LJP has simply ignored the NDF convenor’s grievance.
Relief at last
For over 48 hours that the Election Commission of India was in Lucknow,some of the officers were on the tenterhooks. In their meetings with the commission,political parties had described them as “agents of the government” and demanded that they be changed in the interest of free and fair election. But the commission said it will make its own inquiries and then take a decision. So the suspense continues. But most officers have heaved a sigh of relief. Since the model code of conduct is in force,no transfers for the next three months. The change is,naturally,welcome. “The coming three months are now dedicated to the family. It is a time to relax,unless the Election Commission sends me on election duty,” remarked an officer.
The babus,who always loved the limelight,have now started shunning it. The home page of the government website used to have pictures of Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh,Chief Secretary A K Gupta and the Director General of Police Vikram Singh at meetings with the Chief Minister. After the elections were announced,photos of all except the Chief Minister and the Governor have disappeared.
The Samajwadi Party’s website,which had been defunct since the last Lok Sabha elections,is being updated. It will have details of all candidates,their contact numbers and career profiles. The tour programmes of the star campaigners will be regularly posted there. The site will be ready for a fresh launch after Holi,said a leader.