If the first front is the UPA,then the second front is the NDA. The aim of the second front is to oust the first front. The aim of the third front is to defeat both the first front and the second front and capture power at the Centre. So why has a fourth front,consisting of Lalu Prasad Yadav,Mulayam Singh Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan,officially all members of the first front,cropped up? Simple. The fourth fronts real purpose is to act as a pressure group and ensure,at any cost,that Mayawati is not appointed the leader of the third front.
Neither Arjun Singhs son Ajay Singh nor his daughter Veena Singh managed to get Congress nomination to contest from Madhya Pradesh,but it was not because the party wanted to snub the ageing HRD minister. Rather,both siblings succeeded in sabotaging each others chances. The party had planned to give Ajay the ticket from Sidhi,the family seat,but it was opposed by none other than his father. Singh knew that two members of the same family could not get party tickets and Veena,who is his all-powerful assistant in handling the HRD Ministry,is his favourite. The Congress nomination went instead to Inderjit Patel,Singhs close confidant. When Ajay,a sitting MLA and former state minister,realised his nomination was scuttled by his own sister,he hit back and opposed her ticket from the neighbouring Satna constituency.
A video camera installed by the Traffic Police near the Delhi Police headquarters took shots of an SPG vehicle crossing the yellow dividing line. The fine for the traffic violation has been duly paid. Interestingly,the computer-generated photographs show that the driver was not an SPG driver but an SPG protectee.
Advani walks out
Narendra Modi has been known to end interviews halfway,if he finds that the questioner is being deliberately hostile,but for the statesmanlike and generally diplomatic L.K. Advani,it was probably a first. Last week,the BJP leader walked out of Karan Thapars Devils Advocate at the start of the recording. He took exception to Thapars brusque and taunting questions that the BJP had opted for tainted candidates,including admitting in its ranks the controversial former bureaucrat Neera Yadav. Incidentally,Yadav was subsequently denied entry into the party.
While seasoned politicians like Lalu Prasad Yadav have got into hot water for politically incorrect election rhetoric,Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,known for his rabble-rousing speeches in the past,has been weighing his words carefully. While his audience often raises the cry of Jai Shri Ram,Modi prefers to conclude his speeches with Bharat Mata Ki Jai. Modis campaign speeches are not about Hindutva but development and he is keen to repair his anti-minority image. Modi has appointed a Muslim as the top police officer in the state,the Imam of Ahmedabad has spoken in Modis favour,and A.I. Sayed,a former additional DGP who was a victim of the 2002 riots,was recently inducted into the BJP.
Third time lucky
In the last decade,Sushma Swaraj has been thrust twice into a thankless position by her party. In the 1998 assembly poll she was asked to lead the demoralised and discredited Delhi BJP. Sheila Dikshit won handily. In 1999,she was fielded against Sonia Gandhi in the Bellary parliamentary constituency in Karnataka,considered a Congress bastion. But the third time around,Sushma seems to have turned lucky. Not only was she nominated from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh,one of the BJPs safest seats,but her would-be Congress opponent,Rajkumar Patel,had to opt out of the contest because his nomination papers were rejected. Instead of sending the original form to the election officer,Patel simply faxed a copy and dispatched it so late that there was no time left to rectify the error. Furious Congresspersons claim his faux pas was deliberate. Patel,a former MLA and minister in the state,was familiar with the correct procedure.
For Swaraj,the removal of the Congress candidate from the fray means that her party can make use of her oratorical skills all over the country and she does not have to be pinned down to her constituency.
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