Now that the Congress has ended the suspense over Priyanka Gandhi Vadra contesting from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, another kind of speculation is gaining ground. Her fans and well-wishers in the party are now hoping that she will contest from Amethi. They believe party chief Rahul Gandhi will win from both Amethi and Kerala’s Wayanad, and argue that he should leave Amethi for his sister to make her electoral debut. Amethi is considered a safe seat and the traditional choice of the Gandhis.
The Election Commission (EC) received a letter from one of its former Chief Election Commissioners this week over the recent decision to countermand Lok Sabha polls in Vellore for abuse of money power. N Gopalaswami, who was the CEC from 2006 to 2009, has written to the three election commissioners suggesting that the EC pursue the cases filed against politicians and candidates in Vellore seat even after elections are over. Normally, once polls wind up, the state machinery takes over the investigation in all cases filed during elections. Gopalaswami is learnt to have told the Commission that while their decision to countermand is a welcome one, it should get its state chief electoral officers to keep meeting investigating agencies to track the status of cases, especially those related to attempted voter bribery, after elections are over.
Why is the Congress reluctant to take action against its former general secretary and Bihar state unit president Shakeel Ahmed, who is contesting as an Independent candidate against an official RJD-Congress alliance nominee in Madhubani? This is a question that is rankling many Congress leaders from Bihar. Many of those who lost the race for tickets are now asking what message the party is sending by allowing Ahmed to contest against the Grand Alliance’s official candidate. They surmise that Ahmed has the hidden blessings of the high command.