Month: March 2014

Kejriwal versus Modi

On 25/3/2014 Arvind Kejriwal announced his candidature against Narendra Modi for Lok Sabha from Banaras/Kashi/Varanasi. Banaras is the popular name. Kashi is the religious name. Varanasi is the official name. Kejriwal had announced he would take on Modi outside Gujarat. Then there was ambiguity. AAP leaders said they will put up a strong candidate who can even be a housewife against Modi. There was speculation that Kejriwal did not want to contest against Modi but some AAP leaders wanted it. On 16/3/2014 in Bangalore Kejriwal said he would go to Varanasi on 23 March and ask the people whether they want him to contest against Modi. The date was symbolic as it was the anniversary of hanging of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. However he could not make it on that day as there was no permission to hold a meeting supposedly due to Legislative Council election. He went there on 25/3/2014 and asked the people gathered there. Most of them said “Yes.” Many were AAP members or supporters. Some were curious onlookers.
Some talk as if Modi has already won from Varanasi and will be PM. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. Opinion polls were conducted before elections were declared or candidates filed nominations. Exit polls also go wrong. It is not over till it is over.
The picture in Varanasi will be clear after the date of withdrawal of nominations. Many parties have not declared their candidates. Digvijaya Singh wants to be Congress candidate from Varanasi. Modi is also a candidate from Baroda. Kejriwal can claim Modi is not sure of winning from Varanasi that is why he is contesting also from Baroda or if he wins from both constituencies he will dump Varanasi. Kejriwal thinks no party or coalition will get absolute majority and there will be elections within a year.
Kejriwal said he has no money to contest the election. Just like Madan Mohan Malaviya collected one rupee each from people to build Banaras Hindu University, he will collect money from people. One rupee was a big amount during the time of Madan Mohan Malaviya. BHU was founded in 1915.
Modi’s rise has made some people in BJP uneasy. Murli Manohar Joshi had to shift to Kanpur to make way for Modi. Rajnath Singh shifted to Lucknow because it was Atal Behari Vajpayee’s constituency when he was PM. Modi’s rivals within BJP will be happy to see him lose in Varanasi.
One candidate should contest from one constituency. Law should be amended for that. When a candidate wins from two constituencies he/she has to resign from one constituency and election has to be held there. That results in unnecessary expenditure and waste of time.
AAP members are confident Kejriwal will defeat Modi just like he defeated Sheila Dikshit. His detractors say AAP had base in Delhi, it has no base in Varanasi. Kejriwal is not worried about losing. He says it is not his fight, it is common man’s fight.

Jodha Akbar and Maharana Pratap

Jodha Akbar and Maharana Pratap are two serials which are full of fiction. Jodha Akbar has a disclaimer that this serial does not claim to be historical or true. It is an attempt at dramatic presentation of contemporary events. It is not intended to hurt any community. Jodha is known by some other names. Maharana Pratap does not have a disclaimer.

I missed some episodes of Maharana Pratap. I do not know how historical they were. What I watched has not much history. Pratap is a boy. He secretly joins battle and wins. He is son of Uday Singh, ruler of Mewad. Uday Singh has three wives. Pratap is the son of first wife. Third wife pretends to like Pratap but wants to kill him. Pratap’s mother Jaywanta wants to save Pratap and asks Uday Singh not to crown him as crown prince. He is sent to a distant village. He kills a tiger. He covers his face and fights against atrocities by Surtan Singh of Bundi. He defeats Bairam Khan and has an opportunity to kill him. Pratap and Akbar go to Dwaraka to meet Meerabai. Both are in disguise. Both meet, fight, and become friends. Such are the stories.

Jodha Akbar has many imaginary events. Jodha is credited with many things. She influences Akbar who abolishes marriage of children below 14 and slavery. Jodha drinks poison and saves Akbar. He goes on a pilgrimage like a common man. He refuses to pay a tax on pilgrimage and is put in prison. Akbar’s half-brother Mirza wants to marry Jodha’s sister who is in love with an employee and elopes with him on wedding day. There is election for the head of harem. On one channel there was one line report that Ekta Kapoor had disassociated herself from the serial.

Maharana Pratap should have a disclaimer that the serial does not claim all events are historically accurate.

PM candidates 2014

There are many who hope to become prime minister after Lok Sabha elections are over. Narendra Modi leads in opinion polls. Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal are competitors at national level. At regional level Jayalalitha, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Nitish Kumar hope to make it with the help of other parties.
AAP, BJP and Congress have not completed nominating candidates. BJP and Congress are in alliances. BJP had a chance to field candidates in all constituencies in Bihar and Tamil Nadu. Instead it went for alliances in those states. BJP members who hoped to fight elections in many constituencies were disappointed. In Maharashtra, Nitin Gadkari meeting Raj Thackeray offended Shiv Sena and BJP leaders had to pacify Uddhav Thackeray.
To be prime minister one needs 272 seats in Lok Sabha. Though Narendra Modi leads he is short of 272 mark. There is uncertainty about from where he will contest. Murli Manohar Joshi does not want to give up Varanasi. That has created a problem for Modi. Getting allies like LJP, DMDK, MDMK and PMK has boosted the morale of BJP. Ram Vilas Paswan who left NDA on the issue of Gujarat riots is back with NDA and shared stage with Modi. Modi has opposition from within BJP. Some of them hope BJP will not get enough seats and they will be acceptable as prime minister to more parties.
Congress does not seem to be in a winning position. Many MPs are reluctant to contest Lok Sabha elections. Manish Tewari, P. Chidambaram and G. K. Vasan are some of them. They want to go to Rajya Sabha as Kumari Selja did. One Congress politician Bhagirath Prasad joined BJP after getting Congress ticket. Many Congress members have conceded defeat even before filing nominations. Rahul Gandhi did well to begin primaries in some constituencies. If he holds primaries in all constituencies for Lok Sabha, Legislative Assembly and other local elections to decide candidates it will be great.
AAP has so far nominated 187 candidates. Its success depends on nominating 543 candidates. In some places, including Delhi and Nagpur, AAP members are upset that those who were with the party since the beginning are ignored and outsides are called and given tickets. There is no grassroots democracy. It is high command culture which Arvind Kejriwal had talked against. Ashutosh, Rajmohan Gandhi, Ashish Khetan, Gul Panag and many others are new entrants. Shazia Ilmi did not want to contest from Rae Bareli. Savita Bhatti was given ticket to contest from Chandigarh. She withdrew citing non-co-operation from local AAP members. Gul Panag jumped at the chance and grabbed it. Arvind Kejriwal made news for Gujarat and Bombay visits. In Bombay he travelled by autorickshaw and local train.
Jayalalitha has no appeal outside Tamil Nadu and has not fielded enough candidates. She has no realistic chance of becoming prime minister. She ditched Third Front also known as Alternative Front.
Mamata Banerjee’s dream suffered a setback when the rally at Ram Leela Maidan had poor response and Anna Hazare did not turn up. She may field candidates all over North India but not many are likely to win.
Crime has gone up in UP since SP formed government with Akhilesh Yadav as chief minister in UP on the Ides of March 2012. Muzaffarnagar riots have disillusioned many Muslims. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s chance is bleak. Raju Srivastava who got Kanpur ticket withdrew after some days claiming threat to his supporters from other SP members.
Mayawati’s chance rests on BSP getting 40+ seats and in a hung House getting support of UPA or NDA and some other parties.
Nitish Kumar is unlikely to win enough seats to head a coalition government. Some JD(U) members have left recently.