Bellwether round on Apr 30; Non-BJP parties talk of Third Front to checkmate Modi
With just three rounds to go, and only 194 seats at stake, major political parties are busy revisiting their strategy board to rejig the campaign for the last mile amidst fresh talk among non-BJP parties, including the Congress, about a possible third front scenario.
On the campaign trail, Priyanka Gandhi fired a volley of blistering broadsides on Narendra Modi and Uma Bharti returning the fire in equal measure gunning for Robert Vadra. Electioneering is now in full swing for balloting on April 30 (89 constituencies), May 7 ( 64) and May 12 (41).
A highlight of Friday was the frontal attack by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress party's new star campaigner in Rae Bareli, on BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, while Modi reached out to farmers at a rally in Ludhiana promising higher prices for crops.
'Kabhi ABCD, kabhi RSVP. Aur kabhi da se desh aur ka se kouva. ab isse band bhi to kariye. (Sometimes ABCD, sometimes RSVP. Other times D for desh (nation) and C for crow. Now please stop it)', she told him in an apparent reference to his recent jibes, and taunted him saying: "If you really want to empower the masses, tell them what specific plans you have in your 'model' for the welfare of farmers, and tell them why the labour wages are very low under your 'model' in Gujarat." And in Delhi, Ravi Shankar Prasad, the BJP stalwart returned the taunt asking her,"Let us know about Vadra Model." Picking up the same theme in Jhansi, the BJP's stormy petrel told a TV channel, CNN-IBN, that Robert Vadra would be punished 'irrespective of the Gandhis'.
Another BJP senior Arun Jaitely thundered: " It will be law centric (probe into Vadra dealings) and not individual (focused)." Rejecting the criticism over Modi show in Varanasi yesterday, Jaitley said that there was an enormous amount of goodwill for Modi even in Eastern and Southern parts leading to a significant increase in the BJP vote.
On his part, Modi found himself on the firing line of senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, the Union Law Minister, who took a swipe at his statement that he felt that he was called by Maa Ganga to Varanasi. "Maa Ganga is wise and can distinguish between the good, the bad and the ugly," he remarked and rejected his concern for Varanasi's handloom sector saying,"I want to ask him what has he done for the Handloom industry in Gujarat."
(Posted on 26-04-2014)