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NO COUNTRY FOR CONGRESS

By Nora Chopra

Congress is supposed to have conceded defeat both in Haryana and Maharashtra even before the results are out. The general secretaries in-charge of Haryana and Maharashtra Shakeel Ahmad and Mohan Prakash have submitted their reports to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and are supposed to have made the submission that the Congress does not stand any chance to win in any of the two states. Both the general secretaries are believed to have told Madam that in both states they are likely to come at best third. Infighting and sabotage have been quoted as the main cause for the defeat in both the states. Both the chief ministers’ failure in taking the party workers and leaders of their respective states along is also considered as another cause. Besides, anti-incumbency of fifteen years in Maharashtra and ten years in Haryana and the lack of proper campaigning both by Rahul and Sonia as well as by the state leaders will also contribute to the party’s likely underperformance. Both the secretaries have also blamed Sonia and Rahul for not doing enough rallies unlike Narendra Modi as one of the many causes for their likely poor performance.

 

CHAUTALA COULD TAKE HARYANA

 

Despite PM Narendra Modi’s pre-poll campaign bombardments in Haryana, it is Om Prakash Chautala’s party INLD that is likely to emerge as the single largest party in the state. If   surveys and satta bazaar are to be believed, then it is Chautala all the way. Modi, who  addressed rallies in about every district, has failed to make it. Sources in the party claim that the RS did not work for him because they are unhappy with Modi over his self-promotion. In post- election scenario, the BJP, which is expected to come second, is unlikely to partner with the INLD. Chautala’s party does not want to have anything to do with Modi’s BJP. If INLD runs short of some numbers to get a majority, Chautala, who is expecting to get about 40-plus seats, is likely to tie up with Kuldeep Bhishnoi’s Haryana Vikas Party and Venod Sharma’s Jan Chetna Party. Before going back to jail, Chautala had two rounds of talks with Bishnoi. Chautala is under pressure also from his friends of the ex Janata Dal not to tie up with the BJP.

 

BENGAL OUT OF BILLION-DOLLAR CLUB?

 

The chit fund scam is not the only thing that is worrying Mamata Banerjee. Equally worrying is the disenchantment gradually replacing the support she enjoyed when she took over in 2011.  Besides the dip in her credibility resulting in the rise of BJP, no investment coming has only added to the fast decline in her popularity. India this year will be getting one hundred billion dollars of investment of which 30 billion will come from Japan and 30 billion from China and 40 billion from the United States of America.  But West Bengal gets no share in this.

 

PRITHVIRAJ LETS DOWN MAHARASHTRA CONGRESS

 

The outgoing Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan is under the scanner for failing to take all state leaders together during the campaign. The state leaders are extremely upset with Chavan for projecting himself as the only leader of the party in the state and the future CM. Chavan is the only Congress leader of Maharashtra who can be seen in TV ads or on posters. He only talks about himself and is not sharing any space with any other leader.  Even Rahul and Sonia Gandhi were missing from his ad campaign. The Maharashtra leaders of the Congress have also complained against the CM for his lack of cooperation. Chavan did not campaign for anyone is the complaint against him. As a consequence of his self-projection and image building exercise, other CM aspirants have been left high and dry, thus intensifying infighting and sabotage. Complaints have been lodged with the central leadership against Chavan who was given a free hand on the condition of taking everyone along.  Even when there are little chances of the Congress returning to power, the fight for the top post of Maharashtra has begun. Narayan Rane, former chief minister who joined the Congress on the promise of being made the CM and is currently the chairman of the campaign committee, has been openly saying that he’s very much in the race. Then there are Balasahab Vikhe Patil and Balasahab Thorat. Even ex Congress CM Ashok Chavan, though has been kept out of the campaign because of the charges against him, continues to have hope. But with everyone nursing hope for the top job and all of them upset with self-projection of Prithviraj Chavan, there’s only sabotage.

 

ODISHA HOME MINISTRY IN SHAMBLES

 

The home ministry of Odisha is running on an ad hoc basis. Though officially the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik holds the home portfolio, but the ministry is being run unofficially by two of CM’s confidantes — IAS officers VK Pandian (principle secretary to CM) and Upendra Behera (was home secretary till recently) giving rise to discontent among the entire police department. There are four DG rank posts in Orissa 1 cadre and 2 ex cadre) but after Prakash Misra moved over to the centre as in-charge of internal security, there is only one DG Sanjiv Marik but three DG rank posts, one cadre rank post and two ex cadre rank posts that are lying vacant. An additional DG Benoy Behera with an impeccable record and man of integrity has been waiting for two years to become DG. His name has also been cleared by the DPC for the post of DG six months ago. But just because he cannot run after the CM or the home secretary, the home minister cum chief minister Naveen Patnaik is yet to issue the notification. In the home guards, one IG P Acharya has been promoted from IG to additional DG, but is yet to get his posting. Similarly six IPS officers have ben elevated to the rank of IGs but are yet to take charge. Four IG-rank officers are heading four police administrative ranges while the posts are of DIG rank.  As the morale of the IPS officers has gone down badly because of the apathetic situation in the home ministry, two controversial officers of ADG rank, BK Sharma and KB Singh enjoy plum postings, heading the crime and the vigilance departments when  honest officers like Behera  are still languishing  as ADGs.

 

STAKEHOLDERS BATTLE FOR J&K POLLS

 

The Election Commission is under tremendous pressure from the Congress to hold Jammu and Kashmir polls in January. The Congress that does not have a leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha is also under the threat of losing its LOP Ghulam Nabi Azad in Rajya Sabha if elections are not held in time or before time. The Congress leadership is keen to have elections in Jammu and Kashmir as early as possible. Apart from not giving enough time to BJP and National Conference to prepare for elections, the real reason is that the Rajya Sabha terms of both Azad and Saifuddin Soz, the party president of J&K Congress, would expire in February 2015. If elections are delayed in keeping with the wishes of Omar Abdullah, then Congress will not only lose two of their most important leaders in Rajya Sabha, but will even lose their leader of opposition. Meanwhile, on the issue of early elections, the Congress also enjoys the support of Mufti Mohd Sayeed’s PDP. But both Omar Abdullah and the BJP want the elections to be postponed. While Omar is not sure of returning to power because of the people’s apathy towards him and his government, the BJP wants to impose presidents rule in the state once the tenure of the government is over and gain indirect control before the elections are scheduled. (IPA)

 

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