By Neeraj Bajpai New Delhi/Varanasi/Kolkata, May 9 UNI | 2 months ago

Stealing the thunder, Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal today occupied centre-stage of the high octane campaign in Varanasi, a day before curtains fall on canvassing for Lok Sabha elections 2014.


Both BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress ramped up attacks on each other.

Regional satraps Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati ruled out any post poll truck with Modi in case of a fractured mandate.

Both Maya and Mamata smelt a rat in Modi's assertion that the BJP would not be averse to have an alliance with regional outfits after the polls notwithstanding words spewed during the electioneering.

Maya felt it was an attempt to confuse minority community votes on the eve of polling in crucial 41 seats in three states.

Mamata has already stated that the TMC would not lend support even if they ''beg.'' She was highly cut up with comments on her governance during electioneering.

Rahul Gandhi, in a public meet in West Bengal, visualised an alliance brewing between Mamata and Modi.

In another development, Mamata welcomed the Supreme Court order for a CBI inquiry into the Saradha scam and urged the Centre to stop all chit funds in the country.

She said that the state government has tried to return money to those duped by the scam.

'' Now, it is the task of CBI to return the money to those people,'' she observed.

Giving reaction on Modi stand on 'leaving the door open' for regional parties, including Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and the AIADMK, the Congress dismissed any possibility of NDA or the BJP attracting allies after Lok Sabha polls.

Head of the AICC media department Ajay Maken, reacting to Modi's comment, said, ''We don't see possibility of NDA or BJP attracting allies.

'' Regional parties do not want to ally with the BJP.''

In an interview to a TV channel last night, Modi said his party had 'left the door open' for regional parties like TMC, BSP and the AIADMK.

Modi stepped up attack on rivals in election meetings in Bihar where half a dozen seats will go to polls on May 12.

He accused the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and Nitish Kumar regime in Bihar of not taking care of farmers, pushing them into the vicious cycle of debt and forcing some to commit suicide.

In Motihari and Gopalganj rallies in favour of party candidates, Modi said farmers were exploited and pushed into a web of debt in the name of Minimum Support Price for their produce.

''Farmers are reeling under such a condition that they are not even able to pay back loans taken from banks and other private institutions or individuals,'' Modi said, adding that finding no alternative, a few of them even committed suicide.

He said the Congress had not fulfilled its promises made in 2009 of providing ten crore jobs, as only 1.5 crore people could get employment during the last five years.

''Such a hollow promise will not serve any purpose and people will not fall into the trap of Congress again,'' Modi affirmed.

Kejriwal's road show started from rural parts of the constituency and the crowd swelled as the cavalcade weaved its way on the streets with a sea of white caps in contrast to saffron flags yesterday.

Sporting a Gandhi cap, a beaming Kejriwal asserted that Modi would lose despite the '' fact that the BJP is doing everything it can, including playing communal as well as caste politics, violence and bribing media.''

He also said people in Varanasi are wondering how will a person, who comes on a helicopter for just two hours to campaign, serve them.

The chief of the Aam Aadmi Party travelled from Singh Dwaar to Lahurabeer Chowk during his road show. Modi had staged a road show yesterday amid controversies while both Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav are slated to have such programmes tomorrow to canvass for their parties nominees.

In Deoria, Rahul alleged that Congress believes in associating itself with the common people, while the BJP is doing caste and religion based politics and promoting communalism.

The Modi government in Gujarat, Rahul said, has favoured some industrialists and Gautam Adani is one of them.

'' He was provided land at very cheap rate, all thanks to the Gujarat government,'' the Congress vice-president commented.

Stumping reached a feverish pitch in 41 seats spread over Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar as gongs will fall silent tomorrow evening for the final and last phase of polling on May 12, wrapping up elections in all 543 seats of the 16th Lok Sabha.

Two of the 545 members of the lower house of Parliament are nominated. The verdict is set for May 16-Friday.

In this round of 41 seats, the performance of parties in 2009 was Trinamool Congress (14), BJP and SP (six each), BSP (five) Congress( four), JD-United (two), RJD and CPI( one each) and Independents (two).

There was frenzied movement of leaders and their supporters in all 41 constituencies today.

Vitriolic onslaughts on rivals was the hallmark of the virulent campaign.

In UP, having 80 Lok Sabha seats-maximum in the country-18 most crucial, dotting the entire Poorvanchal region, will go to the polls on Monday.

In 2009, SP had won six seats, BSP five, BJP four and Congress three.

The constituencies are Domariyaganj, Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Bansgaon (SC), Lalganj(SC), Azamgarh, Ghosi, Salempur, Ballia, Jaunpur, Machchlishahr(SC), Ghazipur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Robertsganj(SC).

(Posted on 10-05-2014)