Although many see the elections in five states as a semi-final before the Lok Sabha polls next year, BJP leaders are looking at them differently. Although the party has relied on PM Narendra Modi’s image and cited his achievements at rallies in these states, some BJP leaders point out that the party has not “exposed” the PM too much this time. To illustrate, they cite the Assembly election in Haryana in 2014 and compare it with the one in Chhattisgarh, where the polls got over on November 20. While Modi addressed 10 rallies in Haryana in 2014, he attended just four in Chhattisgarh. Both states have 10 Lok Sabha seats and 90 Assembly seats. This, BJP leaders say, indicates that the party wants to be cautious in utilising the PM’s popularity.
On Tuesday, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC)-designate Sunil Arora was chief guest at the valedictory function for Development Journalism students of the IIMC — an institution he has been associated with in recent past. As Union Information and Broadcasting Secretary in 2015 and 2016, Arora was the chairman of IIMC. At Tuesday’s event, IIMC director-general K G Suresh mentioned that Arora was lucky for him, as he was appointed to the post during Arora’s tenure at I&B. In fact, he added, both IIMC and Arora have been lucky for each other. His appointment as the next CEO — Arora takes over on December 2 — came just before this event, and IIMC got approval to become a deemed university a few days ago, Suresh said. Arora later corrected Suresh saying that the latter became the D-G of IIMC after Arora had left the I&B Ministry, although it wasn’t by design.
Former President Pranab Mukherjee travelled to Bengaluru on Tuesday to attend several functions, including one at St Joseph College in the city. However, the primary reason for the trip was the release of the Urdu translation of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s book India Wins Freedom by former Railways minister C K Jaffer Sheriff. The event has been cancelled after Sheriff’s death. Mukherjee will pay condolences to his family.