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2009 Poll Prospects And Alignments-2
<!--QuoteBegin-Viren+Feb 19 2009, 08:16 PM-->QUOTE(Viren @ Feb 19 2009, 08:16 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Mohd Azharuddin joins Congress  to contest from Hyderabad?
Now he will fix election.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>During UPA rule, 55 million pushed below poverty line</b>
MJ Akbar
Instead of banning opinion polls during election time, the Government should ban subversive academic organisations like Kolkata’s Indian Statistical Institute. Opinion polls and exit polls are way off the mark, so why bother? A ban only betrays the nervousness of a Government anxious to come back to power, but uncertain about how this will happen.

It is true that the slightest shift in the electoral demographic could send a Government from the heaven of office to the hell of irrelevance. But does the Cabinet of Mr Manmohan Singh and the party of Ms Sonia Gandhi and Mr Rahul Gandhi actually believe that the Indian voter sits biting his nails before a television set in order to make up his mind about how he will vote?

<b>The really accurate psephologist is not a pseudo-scientist available on hire, but the social scientist whose name you do not know.</b>

The facts that are moulding the mood of the voter have been gathered by the <b>Indian Statistical Institute, based on data collated by the National Sample Survey Organisation from about 124,000 households across the country. Get ready for a sharp crack in your first illusion.</b>

The UPA Government, through its economic spokesman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, has sold us the bait that poverty has gone down under its watch. Fact: <b>The number of people living below the poverty line has actually increased by a horrifying 20 per cent. India had some 270 million people below the poverty line in 2004-5, when the present Government took office. That number has gone up by 55 million, or 20 per cent, after five years of policies named after the ‘aam admi’ (common man) but shaped for the ‘khaas admi’ (vested interests).</b>

The economic map of India has shifted the axis of tension. The old notional north-south line that divided the country into broad politico-cultural halves is passé. <b>There is a new poverty diagonal that separates the nation on a north-west to south-east arc. The India to the east is sinking towards Bangladesh and Burma; India to the west is rising, and becoming the stuff of popular aspiration and fantasy</b>.

If you want to know why Ms Mamata Banerjee could undermine the ramparts of the red fortress in Bengal, pore over the Indian Statistical Institute report. A <b>stunning 14 out of West Bengal’s 18 districts are among the 100 poorest in India, after three decades of Marxist rule</b>. The most indigent district in the country is not in Bihar, Orissa or Jharkhand, but in West Bengal — Murshidabad, capital of a principality that once included the whole of Bengal, Orissa and a significant part of Bihar.

<b>When Robert Clive stepped into Murshidabad in 1757 after victory in the Battle of Plassey, he looked around in wonder and exclaimed that it was richer than London</b>. Today he would look around and find women slaving away, making beedis at the rate of Rs 41 for a thousand, out of which the middleman keeps six rupees. In percentage terms, the rich pay far less to their middlemen.

<b>Muslim-majority Murshidabad has a population density of 1,102 per square km against a national average of 590</b>. Among its constituencies is Jangipur. Its Member of Parliament is the present Finance Minister of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee. Wouldn't it be ironic if the Marxists were pushed back in West Bengal but won Jangipur, as the law of accountability began to extract its price?

The job losses that could cross over a hundred million by March are going to have significant impact on voter mood. January saw a fall of 24 per cent in exports from last year. Realists consider the Reserve Bank of India’s projection of seven per cent growth optimistic.

Rising India might be under a cloud for the last six months, but Stagnant India has been in gloom for years.<b> There is little coverage of this gloom since media is driven by advertising;</b> advertising is interested in consumption, and the hungry do not even consume food.

It is extraordinary how political parties shy away from decisive facts, and chase ephemeral ones. <b>The extended BJP family is sending vigilantes to check on what the young are doing in their leisure time, but displays little interest in what the young really want — someone to worry about their workplace</b>. It is understandable when a ruling party shies away from the economy because it has no answers. Why should an Opposition party be averse? All it has to do is ask questions.

The political discourse, on all sides, is consumed not by issues that are relevant to the voter, but by posturing and negotiations for partnerships of convenience. The parties do not even pretend to have any ideology in common, or even a purpose that is vaguely similar.

Everyone knows that the negotiations for office after the results will have little to do with the manifestos that will be printed before the general election. There is only one weight that will be placed on the scales of judgement, the weight of numbers. The scales of justice have no place in politics. One is often reminded, while watching the pantomime, that when you dance with a bear you don’t stop. Those who stop get mauled before they can walk off.

A friend reminded me of an even more appropriate aphorism, and was kind enough to add that this had become relevant to the whole of South Asia. The quotation was from the Bible of South Asian democracy, Alice in Wonderland. If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.

-- MJ Akbar is chairman of the fortnightly news magazine Covert.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>India’s Terror Stance Vexes Obama Amid Voter Ire at Pakistan</b> <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A less cooperative India would hamper Obama’s effort to keep Pakistan’s army focused on fighting the Taliban and other guerrillas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

With all parties seeking votes by showing their readiness to get tough on terrorism, the biggest challenge to the Obama administration’s calls for moderation would be another attack similar to Mumbai, says Vikram Sood, a former chief of India’s main intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing.

In such a case, “India would have to make at least a symbolic strike” on Pakistani targets, Sood said in an interview. In such a case, Clinton “should go to Islamabad and tell them to quietly take what’s coming.”
Basically, telling them fool Billion Indians so that Congress can come back again.
Strange indeed!!! calling BJP more honest and bashing commies and COng.

Mayawati may become king-maker if not king herself after parliament election

The happiest news as the parliamentary elections are nearing is that the country’s poor Bahujan, unlettered, wretched of the earth, and yet the worldly-wise masses of India have finally killed all the “national” political parties like the Congress, BJP and CPI-CPM.

Why they killed the “national” parties? Because the Bahujans rightly feel that India is not a “nation”. Good for the country.

Look at the greatness of Bahujans. They have seen to it that no consensus is possible on any issue. Because the polity is so fragmented. This is certainly because of the hundreds of castes arranged in a pyramidical order, called the caste system, the holy Hindu Varnashram Dharma, which is the other name for Brahminism going by the deceptive name of Hinduism. Since the varna system is created by their god Krishna, no Hindu is ready to touch it.

Caste identity: Brahminism, dominated by the 15% upper castes led by the 2% Brahmins, refused to dismantle and destroy the caste system — based on the ascending order of reverence and descending degree of contempt. So much so the angry “lower castes” went to the other extreme resorting to strengthen each caste (their identity) which ultimately wiped out the numerically weak upper castes led by the Brahmins.

India’s only three “national” parties are controlled by the Brahmins against which the different oppressed castes and communities revolted by strengthening their identity. And this caused the death of “national parties”. Wonderful.

Brahmins hate Sonia Gandhi: In the last parliament election Congress, the original Brahminical party of India, and its child, the more honest Brahmana Jati Party (BJP) together bagged only 283 seats — a record low. A clear sign of the “national” parties dying. In the coming parliament election, they will suffer further drubbing. Wonderful.

This is because all the “national” parties are controlled by the 15% hated upper castes. The worst of the lot is the CPM which is a hard-core Brahminical party fortunately confined to W. Bengal and Kerala.

That is how the Congress, which got most of its votes because of Sonia Gandhi, formed the govt. in Delhi with the help of a coalition of parties called UPA. Since the Brahminical people hate Sonia Gandhi, threatening even to murder her if she became Prime Minister, she had to select a useless Khatri Sikh (now in hospital as this is written), a voracious bum-licker of the upper castes, who simply ruined the chances of Congress victory in the coming election.

The credit for making India a tail of America goes entirely to this capitalist-roader Khatri Sikh Manmohan Singh who, like M.K. Gandhi, puts on an air of simplicity but a great admirer of the corrupt rich.

The fellow is so out of touch with the masses of India that he can’t win even the lowest of the low panchayat election. That such a gigantic country, the second most populated in the world with a long history, is led by such a discredited PM clearly proves that the ruling upper castes love only an intellectually corrupt, weak leader who while asked to merely bend will simply prostrate before you.

Gave bomb instead of bread: That is how the country’s micro-minority upper castes love the Khatri Sikh. His greatest contribution is when the hungry masses begged for bread he gave them nuclear bomb. Fortunately, he is out.

India is world famous for its corruption. And our politicians are the leaders of corruption. That is how India is steeped in every variety of corruption. Bureaucracy, judiciary, media, temples, everything is corrupt. People themselves have been made corrupt through repeated elections. The principal cause is the country’s ruling Hindu upper castes (15%) are themselves corrupt. Exceptions prove the rule.

So the disgusted have-nots belonging to the SC/ST/BCs and Muslim/Christian/Sikhs (Bahujans) simply revolted against the upper caste rulers by resorting to a two-pronged attack. They simply killed the “national” parties by launching (1) caste-based parties and (2) regional parties.

Bulldozing Bharat Mata: Such caste-based and regional parties are ruling in many states either independently or in coalition with others. This is one of the most spectacular developments in the 61 years of India’s chequered history.

Dismantling the Brahminical Bharat Mata is silently but effectively going on. No “national” media will say this because it is not in the interest of their Brahminical “nation”. Brahmins are seriously worried.

Dalit Voice contribution in this surgical operation of the Vande Mataram India is substantial through its about 30-year long existence and injecting its “caste identity” theory into the veins of the castrated caste victims.

As the situation stands today three-broad coalitions are emerging: the Congress-led UPA, BJP-led NDA and the communist-led Third Front.

Of this BJP is a pure and honest Brahmin party but the Brahmins, who are its dictators, hate the Prime Ministerial candidate L.K. Advani, a Sindhi Khatri (DV Feb.1, 2009 p.8: “Advani used & thrown out?”). Their darling A.B. Vajpayee is too old and too incapacitated. So the party leadership is under confusion and this may effect its electoral chances.

Barking dog Bengali Brahmin: The Congress is too weak. The barking dog Bengali Brahmin Pranab Mukherji propping up an urban born, urban-bred and untested Rahul Gandhi (38) will add to the confusion. Sonia Gandhi is liked by the masses but she can’t understand the role the caste plays in deciding the country’s future. The Khatri Sikh is out. In other words Congress chances are not bright.

The CPM-CPI-led Left Front has roped in the powerful Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, the rising Dalit (Untouchable) iron lady with great promise. But she has refused to have pre-election pact with the Third Front.

Brahmins hate Mayawati: Brahmins still hate Mayawati despite her support to Brahmins. This is because Brahmins are India’s only people who know who are their jati friends and foes.

That is why in spite of admitting Brahmins into her party and giving them prime place in her UP State Govt., they still do not trust her. This is because they know very well that a community (Dalits) which they crushed and made mince-meat for centuries and centuries will never, ever forget and forgive them once it comes to power. Their fear is genuine.

They have not forgotten what Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar said bout Brahmins as being the principal enemy of the Untouchables. Brahmins (2%) are not only a problem of India but they are a problem unto themselves. Just as the Jews (2%) are a problem in America, the “Jews of India” (2%) are a problem in this country. Both are cousins.

That is why they don’t trust Mayawati. But the primary school teacher-turned iron-lady of India has captured the imagination of the masses all over the country. Quite a number of upper caste opinion leaders have said the young Chamar woman from UP, India’s politically most important state of which she is the Chief Minister, has every chance of becoming the next Dalit PM. Wonderful. Even if she fails she will be able to dictate the future shape of Indian politics. Even if she does not become the king, she will certainly become the king-maker after the coming election.

When a Black-cum-Muslim Obama can become the President of a White America, why not a Black Untouchable as PM of India ?

This itself will make every Dalit so proud all over India that it may lead to tremendous mental revolution leading to a political revolution in this chaotic country.

<b>State Pulse: New Delhi: Battle lines drawn for Lok Sabha elections</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Category »  Editorial Posted On Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The youth have the potential to usher in change and it is the responsibility of the leadership to provide them the opportunity- MK Dhar

The nation's two largest political formations Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and BJP-led truncated National Democratic--Alliance are joining the ensuing election battle pretty much divided and unsure of what the future holds for them. Revival of the Hindutva and Ram temple agendas has already created a schism with the BJP pitted against former allies--TDP, Biju Janata Dal, AIADMK and JD(U)--and a feeling has taken root that LK Advani does not have a winning agenda to fulfill his life-long ambition. Differences between the Congress, NCP and SP over seat-sharing and other matters seem to rule out the possibility of their fighting the elections untidily to prevent division of secular votes and attrition of seats.

Considering the state of the parties the BJP, on present reckoning is unlikely to reach its 2004 tally and the Congress may not achieve any spectacular gains to enable it to shake off dependence on allies in government formation. As BJP's recent Nagpur conclave revealed, pessimism is widespread in its rank and file which feels that it does not have a winning agenda to oust the UPA. Equally true the big Congress jumbooree in New Delhi witnessed plain-speak by grassroot workers about missed opportunity to widen the party's base and involve the youth in a big way; all pervading groupism, lack of unity at the organisational level and projection of controversial faces. The sum total of their plaints was that the party was as weak as it was five years ago and nothing much had been done by the leadership to revive and re-energies it.

The Government resisted the temptation of making election oriented tax concessions across-the-board without corresponding steps to raise revenues and the bridge the huge gap in revenue and projected expenditure. The country is already running a big current-account deficit due to shortfall in revenue and large sums committed for various rural development and employment generation programmes. Yet, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee was bold to announce a massive allocation of Rs. 131, 3I7 crore for various flagship programmes to spur the economy and benefit the common man, particularly the rural population. Besides committing Rs. 141, 703 crore for defence, in view of the deteriorating security situation owing to cross-border terrorism, he also announced massive spending on social sector schemes for the benefit of "aam admi" including Bharat Nirman, NREGA, rural infrastructure, farmers debt relief waiver and higher subsidies on food and fertiliser to protect the poor and increase farm production.

All this is in addition to the massive relief packages already announced with more to come to ensure liquidy of banks and the export sector, spur industrial growth and increase domestic consumption to mitigate the deleterious effects of the world financial crisis which has adversely impacted the economy and brought down GDP growth to 7.1 percent in 2008-09. The reduction in petroleum product and LPG prices has given substantial relief to the consumer and will spur demand. The remedial action taken by the Government has been fast, as well as, massive considering the resource crunch, in the hope that the people will not hesitate to make a little sacrifice to uplift the economy and resume the growth path.

The Government has also taken visible action to rebut the BJP's main election plank of playing soft on terrorism emanating from Pakistan. Through diplomatic means, it built up considerable pressure on Pakistan to own up the nationality and involvement of the Mumbai terrorists and promises to try them. Having thus lost the main election issue, the BJP campaign managers are now busy trying to invent new slogans and to prove that little development has taken place during five years of UPA rule Mr. Advani's slogans, such as, "pseudo-secularism", "minority appeasement", surrender before terrorism neglecting the poor are now too old and worm out to appeal anyone and the leadership's commitment to build temple to Lord Ram at Ayodhya is not taken seriously by anyone any more.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has sought a renewed mandate for her party so that it can continue to provide each and every Indian a life of security, dignity and prosperity. She has repeated her charge that the BJP has been misusing the name of Lord Ram for cheap electoral gain. Grave damage has been done to our secular polity society and economy by the BJP-led NDA. "Theirs is a voice of polarisation, of division, of hatred". The Congress, on the other hand, is a voice of social justice and communal harmony, she argued. She has expressed confidence in her party's ability to win the elections. While ruling out a coalition at the national level before the election, presumably to avoid too many claimants for the Prime Ministerial post, but favours local-level tie-up in some states out of compulsion but not at the cost of the party's growth.

This is relevant to the big demands for seats made by the Nationalist Congress party in Maharashtra and the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh which, if conceded, would reduce the Party's overall tally and weaken its bargaining position during the leadership contest. But she made no commitment regarding seat allocation for the youth in her party as a step towards rejuvenating it with the infusion of young blood and not relying too much on old fagged-out faces which are uninspiring and have become more of a liability and cannot be counted as an asset. The sooner they make way for younger, trusted and energetic persons the better it is for the party's future as a vibrant political force. Taking up their case, Mr. Rahul Gandhi pledged to end the domination of "recommendation" and money power over party politics. Though the youth worked very hard, it got no chance at the time of election. They have the potential to usher in change and it is the responsibility of the leadership to provide them the opportunity. ''Caste, money and religion will not be criteria -- only work will be", he promised. It remains to be seen how he succeeds in bringing about this transformation.

The Congress has tried to deprive the BJP of all its election planks and the saffron party has taken to personal attacks and highlighting "dynasty politics" which no longer clicks, except that Narendra Modi gets thus an opportunity to spit venom at the party which is most likely to return to power at the Centre. For a party that takes pride in being heir to a Hindu nationalist tradition strongly critical of Mahatma Gandhi, the sudden desire to lay claim to the Mahatma's legacy is inexplicable. The party leaders have not hesitated to revert aggressively to abrasive themes of the past that had caused it to lose considerable political ground in the earlier election. Mr. Modi cannot resist taking the usual potshot at the Muslims by alleging there was "inside help" to the terrorists involved in the recent Mumbai attack.

Doubts that Mr. Advani was trying to recast the BJP in a secular mould were removed when the returned to the temple theme asserting that his party "never left Ram". He is doing so under compulsion from the likes of Party President Rajnath Singh and others, in full knowledge that this is no longer a winning election slogan. Obviously, under instructions from the RSS, the leaders are trying to project the BJP as a true Hindutva Party even though, in the eyes of the people, it is presenting itself as an obscurantist party with a unidimensional agenda. But the party can hardly gain any momentum on the basis of this slogan and politically uninspiring platform.

The pledge to build the Ram temple has rattled BJP's allies with BJD and JD (United) dissociating from the slogan and insisting that the BJP was trying to commit hara kiri. Burdened with an ageing leader who hardly inspires the new generation of voters and whom the frontal organisations like VHP and Bajrang Dal do not like a bit, BJP does not summon courage to project a younger leader. The allies have made it clear that the temple is a BJP issue and did not bode well for the unity of the NDA, or whatever is still left of it with TDP and others having already walked out. <b>It underlines the tension the party faces seeking to tailor its secular concerns of development and governance with the religious pitch. It has given its opponents a convenient handle to rally Muslims against the BJP in the elections yet it cannot rally the Hindu vote in its favour. </b>The future looks pretty grim.

<b>PM should be from Lok Sabha, says Advani</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Leader of the Opposition L K Advani [Images] <b>today demanded that the Constitution be amended to make it mandatory for the Prime Minister to be a member of the Lok Sabha</b>.

"I am personally of the view that the Constitution should be amended to make it mandatory for the Prime Minister to be a member of the Lower House," Advani said on the last day of sitting of the 14th Lok Sabha.

Advani, choose to attack Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images], saying that by convention, most Prime Ministers in the past were members of the Lok Sabha but at present "we have had a Prime Minister who is not a member of the Lok Sabha".

"What devalued this Prime Minister's position further is that he was not in control of the UPA regime. <b>It was obvious to our citizens, MPs of the Congress and its allies in the UPA, and also to its ministers that 10 Janpath and not 7 Race Course Road was the true seat of power.</b>

"The latter (Manmohan Singh) held office, but with no authority, the former (Congress president Sonia Gandhi [Images]) had authority but no accountability to Parliament. This duality at the apex is the root cause of the UPA government's rudderless and indecisive performance," he alleged.

Yes, no more appointed joker as PM of India. PM should be elected.
They should also add "no Babu" clause.
<!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo--> "The alliance between JD(U) and BJP stands like a rock. There is no rift over seat adjustments for the coming polls," Kumar told reporters here.

"We would tell you the number of seats JD(U) and BJP will contest soon after the election schedule is declared," he said.

According to him, any seat-sharing arrangements among the UPA partners consisting of RJD, Congress and LJP will not affect the poll prospects of NDA in Bihar.

On LJP's parliamentary board chairman Ranjan Yadav's recent letter to Ram Vilas Paswan expressing displeasure over LJP's inclination towards aligning with RJD, Kumar extended his full support to Ranjan Yadav for raising his voice at this moment.

"In fact, Ranjanji is dead against any alliance with RJD, the party he quit long ago," he said.

<b>For whom the bell tolls..?</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->February 27, 2009 by janamejayan


Sharad Pawar quit the Congress Party after stating that  Sonia is a foreigner and cannot hold the office of the P.M.  He later formed the National Congress Party (NCP) whose strength lies only in his home state of Maharashtra.  However he did align with Sonia’s Congress and shared power at the centre with Manmohan Singh acting as P.M. while Sonia pulled the strings from behind.

With a sick Manmohan Singh having underwent a quintruple heart by-pass not only the P.M.’s job is up for grab but also the old alliance is getting reconstituted.  Sharad Power is once again staking claim for the top post.  He has already seemed to have got the nod of Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav. This has irked Sonia who is trying to project her son Raoul Gandi who is not only a novice but totally incompetant in the eyes of many.  So Sonia hit back at Mulayam when he garnered the support of Kalyan Singh to widen his alliance to face Maya.  Sonia tried to paint him as anti-Muslim.  It didn’t so much as cut any ice.

Now in the state of Maharashtra where the Congress has been hoping to win sizeable number of MPs, Pawar is trying to upset Sonia’s apple cart.  It looks like a certainty that the NCP-Shiv Sena would become a reality with some of the ex-Shivsenaites acting as the catalytic agent. In Maharashtra the BJP is also a force to recon but since the death of Mahajan, the party was sort of rudderless in that State.  The BSP and SP have also made inroads into that State.  They are unfriendly to the Congress to say the least and they can erode on the Congress’s vote bank.  In the mainly three cornered contest among the Congress, NCP-SS alliance and the BJP the Congress is sure to lose big time as also the BJP though it is too early to say who among these two will be the bigger loser.

Even in Andhra where the Congress had won big the situation is not that rosy.  It may be a case of easy come easy go in Andhra for the Congress for it is facing a double anti-incumbancy and the serious Telengana spectre.  So all in all, there is not a single state where the Congress can claim to have its domain.  It cannot however be said of the BJP which has quite a few strong States.  I am certain that the Congress Party would have its historical low in this election.  If the opposition can act responsibly post election it will be the death knell of the Congress party.

<b>NDA not untouchable, says JMM leaders</b>
<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo--> Madanapalli: Getting into an election mode, BJP's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani has said the NDA would launch a farm income guarantee scheme for small farmers and give pension to aged farmers if it is voted to power.

"A farm income guarantee scheme would be provided to small farmers," he said addressing 'Vijay Sankalp' rally here late last evening.

<b>A mad, mad political whirl</b>

Ahmedabad: The excitement of a forthcoming election was missing as the curtain rang down on the final session of the 14th Lok Sabha. Few MPs seemed to be enthused by the prospect of facing yet another poll in the dead heat of an Indian summer.

More so because the upcoming battle will probably be the toughest so far, with an outcome that has never looked so uncertain. Behind the public posturing and tall claims, the political class is bracing itself for badly fractured verdict, a hung Parliament to beat all previous hung parliaments. This was the buzz across the political spectrum last week. Privately, MPs of all hues admitted that they foresee a period of instability ahead.

They talked of a kichdi government and a mid-term poll in two years. There were few takers for the middle class dream of bipolarity, UPA versus NDA. Not while regional parties sprout like wild mushrooms among an electorate thoroughly disillusioned by the two national parties.

Interestingly, no-one expects either of the two known formations, UPA and NDA, to survive in the post-election scenario. All political parties are bracing themselves for a large-scale realignment in the scramble to form the next government. Consequently, everyone is talking to everyone, except perhaps the Congress to the BJP since both are claimants to lead the new ruling coalition. It's a mad, mad, mad, mad political whirl. How's this for starters? The Congress is in touch with BJP allies JD(U) in Bihar and BJD in Orissa. Congress ally NCP is in touch with BJP ally Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. The Congress has made contact with Left ally AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and JD(S) in Karnataka. The cherry on the pudding is that the Left and the Congress are once again talking to each other to kiss and make up if the situation so demands after the elections! As one MP confessed in a dark moment, it's all about power, not issues or ideology.

The near absence of talking points makes it a tough battle. Since there's no slogan to ride on, each candidate has to get his/her caste and community arithmetic right to win. Talk to any MP about his constituency and he will reel off exact statistics giving the demographic breakup, right down to the smallest caste.

Although the political class widely believes that the next prime minister will be from one of the non-Congress, non-BJP parties, it is hedging its bets on who will win the crown. It could one of those in the forefront of speculation like BSP chief Mayawati, NCP boss Sharad Pawar and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. Or it could be a dark horse like Deve Gowda, who emerged from nowhere when the United Front cobbled together a shortlived government in 1996. Then again, the electorate could surprise political parties and vote in a most unlikely combination, proving once again that politicians are no longer masters of their fate.

As political leaders filed into his chambers to bid him farewell on the last day of the final session of the 14th Lok Sabha, outgoing Speaker Somnath Chatterjee could barely contain his emotions. He had something to say to everyone who came but he reserved a special pat for Rahul Gandhi. ``We expect great things from you,'' he told the youthful leader who is the face of the future Congress.

Using the internal BJP survey and adding few of mine and others' analysis, I guess this is the current scenario and it can change once we get to know the contestants.

State         BJP -Low  BJP-Max  INC-Max  INC-Optimum  INC-realistic
Andhra           1         1        25        18            15
Arunachal        1         1         1         1             0
Assam            5         6         5         5             4
Bihar            8        11         3         3             2
Chattisgarh     10        10         1         1             1
Delhi            3         4         4         4             3
Goa              1         1         1         1             1
Gujarat         24        24         2         2             2
Haryana          3         3         4         3             2
Himachal         3         3         1         1             0
JK               1         1         1         1             0
Jharkhand        7         9         5         4             2
Karnataka       20        20         6         6             4
MP              24        24         5         5             4
Maha            18        18         8         6             5
NE-Uts-Islands   1         1         5         5             4
Orissa           6         6         6         5             5
Punjab           3         3         7         6             5
Rajasthan       15        16        10        10             9
Tamil Nadu       0         0         2         2             2
UP              18        20         9         8             7
Uttaranchal      3         3         1         1             1
WB               0         0         5         5             3
Kerala           0         0        13        12            11
Total          175       185       130     115            92<!--c2--><!--ec2-->
<b>Cong angling for tie-up with DMDK</b>

Congress has decided to hunt for new allies while retaining the old ones in its bid to return to power at the Centre after the Lok Sabha elections.

The grand old party’s strategy revolves around getting new alliance partners like the JDS in Karnataka, Trinamool Congress of Mamta Banerjee in West Bengal, DMDK led by actor- turned-politician Vijaykanth in Tamil Nadu, apart from the existing partners.

Congress is also in favour of not allowing much fissures in its existing alliance with the NCP in Maharashtra, RJD and LJP in Bihar, JMM and RJD in Jharkhand along with DMK and PMK in Tamilnadu.

Problems, however, remain in stitching an alliance in Uttar Pradesh with Samajwadi Party after claims and counter claims by both parties on several seats. The SP has already announced names for around 60 candidates so far out of 80 in the States, even as the Congress wants to contest in at least 25 seats.

In this election year, what has dented the regional parties’ aspirations for more seats in States, other than the ones in which they have primary influence, is the unilateral stand of the Congress Working Committee which stated in its last meeting that the party will only go for regional and not a national alliance.

AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad is on a trip to Karnataka to assess the ground realities and forge an alliance with JD(S) racing against BJP. He is also slated to visit Tamilnadu to strengthen the existing alliance with the DMK and PMK and also find some more allies.

‘An integration is taking place in the UPA ahead of the polls while the NDA is disintegrating,’ Chief spokesman of the Congress M Veerappa Moily claimed. He said the UPA alliance was stable and the experience of the past five years in running the coalition government is there for all to see.

Asked about an alliance with Mamta Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, Moily said she was definitely not going with the BJP. He, however, did not reveal the progress of seat sharing talks with her party. The Congress leader did not rule out an alliance with JD(S) saying the ‘secular electorate needs it’.

Moily also claimed that BJD in Orissa and JD(U) in Bihar were not in a ‘comfortable’ position with their alliance with BJP. Congress sources said all the alliances would be in place by the second week of March so that the list of the party candidates is out by 15 March.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Brahmins boycott BSP'S 'bhaichara' rally</b>

Varanasi: The Bahujan Samaj Party's 'Brahmin Samaj Bhaichara' rally organised here today turned out to be a flop show as most members of the community boycotted it in protest against the party fielding gangster Mukhtar Ansari from the holy city for the coming Lok Sabha election.

The rally, addressed by the BSP's general secretary and Mayawati's chief strategist Satish Chandra Mishra, MP, was attended by only a handful of Brahmins against the party's claim of participation by thousands of community members.

Asked about the thin attendance, one of the BSP's prominent Brahmin leaders said on condition of anonymity, "This has happened in reaction to the candidature of mafia don Mukhtar Ansari from this cultural city."

Professor Reva Prasad Dwivedi, former dean of the Prachya Vidya Dharma Vigyan faculty, Benaras Hindu University, told the Press Trust of India, "Brahmin rally for votes in the Lok Sabha election is totally immoral, and when it is for the mobilisation of voters in favour of a mafia don, it is really unfortunate."

Another professor, Narendra Rampati Tripathi, said the BSP will suffer in the entire state in the Lok Sabha election for fielding Ansari.


Ansari is not just a criminal, he is top islamist goon running the Azamgarh factory of jehadis. This can be a good chance of BJP to raise some real issue in eastern UP and regain its lost Hindutva plank in the state. They should bring Modi and do a serious campaign.
Ansari will kill/assassinate Modi. Congress and Islamist will open Champagne .
Modi should stay away from part of UP.
One by one all the candidates of 80 constituencies were called for the exam. While the candidate stood in front of Behenji in the one-to-one session, the coordinator and functionaries of that particular constituency were made to sit on her left. She fired questions at the candidate, asking him/her about the preparations and strategy, number of public meetings organised, problems being faced and plan for future. As the candidate replied each and every query, she verified answers with coordinators and took a feed back.


<b>SP-Congress poll tie-up is '99 percent off'</b>

Renu Mittal in New Delhi | March 04, 2009 19:01 IST

The long-awaited, much hyped Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance in Uttar Pradesh [Images] is "99 per cent off" said a senior congress leader as the Congress is all set to release a list of 24 candidates in Uttar Pradesh in the absence of Mulayam Singh Yadav [Images] giving his nod to the alliance.

Officially the Congress would wait for another couple of days before giving a formal burial to the alliance which was set to take on Mayawati [Images] but Congress leaders who have been involved in the exercise for the last couple of months say that the Samajwadi Party played dirty with them by announcing 64 seats out of 80 which is not done when two prospective alliance partners are involved in seat sharing talks.

Sources said that Sonia Gandhi [Images] had the list of 24 candidates ready with her since February 24 but had waited in the expectation that Mulayam Singh Yadav would "see reason" and agree to the Congress demands to adjust its senior leaders. But in the meeting between Gandhi and Yadav, the Samajwadi Party chief agreed to only 17 seats but these did not include the party's senior leaders who were not members of Parliament.

A senior leader said that if all the known and visible faces of the Congress party like Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Salman Khurshid, Begum Noor Bano, R PN.Singh and others do not contest the elections because "it does not suit Mulayanm Singh yadav that they should contest" then absolutely the wrong signal would go to the party's rank and file and
that was not acceptable to the leadership.

Party leaders said that with the elections having been announced and Holi round the corner, the Congress felt it should no longer wait for Mulayam Singh Yadav to give in to them. Before Holi a second list of is also expected taking the total number of candidate to over 40 if Mulayam does not agree to the Congress contesting the 24 seat. Senior leaders said this is the last opportunity for Mulayam to ensure that the alliance does not break.

Insisting that they did not want to "call it off", a senior leader said the party would not want to take the blame for the alliance not going through. The game plan would be to go on insisting that they were still keen on a tie up and it would not be impossible for Mulayam Singh to retreat on some seats.

Out of the 24 lists in the Congress kitty 15 are those on which Mulayam Singh has not announced any candidates and 9 are those where the Congress has fielded its senior leaders and where the Congress had been insisting on friendly fights with the SP even in an alliance.

Apart from the 8 sitting MPs, the list which released by the Congress includes Jitin Prasada from Dhaurara, Begum Noor Bano from Rampur, Salman Khurshid from Farukhabad, Ratna Singh from Pratapgarh, R P N Singh from Kushinagar, Nirmal Khatri from Faizabad, P L Puniya from Barabanki, Anu Tandon from Unnao, Bhola Pandey from Salempur, Sudha Rai from Ghosi, Harender Malik from Muzzafarnagar, Jagdambika Pal from Dumariaganj, Pravin Singh Aaron from Bareilly, Ram Babar from Fatehpursikri and Beni Prasad Verma from Gonda.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>BJP gets AGP support, deal with BJD in sight</b>
Kumar Uttam | New Delhi
With the Lok Sabha elections drawing closer, the BJP is furiously working out partnerships with new and old allies and, despite some hiccups, has either finalised them or is close to sewing up the deals. While the party has entered into an electoral understanding with the AGP in Assam, it is expected to sew up a deal with the BJD in Orissa in the next 48 hours. And a verbal scuffle among some of their leaders notwithstanding, the BJP and the Shiv Sena are on track to continue with their electoral pact in Maharashtra. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Arun Jaitley made campaign chief</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Arun Jaitley has emerged as BJP prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani's key strategist and chief coordinator of the party's election campaign.

In a fresh arrangement announced by the party after a meeting of top leaders, Jaitley will have overall charge of election campaign strategy, planning and execution - a role performed by the late Pramod Mahajan in the 2004 polls.

Jaitley is to be assisted by Ramlal Aggarwal, BJP general secretary in charge of the party organisation, sending out a message that Advani's chosen ones are working in tandem with party chief Rajnath Singh's establishment and the RSS.

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