Month: March 2019

Who all will contest against Modi in Varanasi?

Varanasi_Contest
Tej Bahadur Yadav, Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Young Dalit leader and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan has announced his candidature against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.  He also held a road show on Saturday in the city and declared that “ the countdown for Modi’s defeat has begun”.

Mr Azad also accused Modi of waiving billion of rupees loans of the rich and harassing the poor and small borrowers, besides snatching jobs of more than two crores youth.

Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, though, suspects a conspiracy behind Azad’s contest against Modi. She thinks Azad is aiming at helping the BJP. She said the formation of Bhim Army itself was a BJP’s conspiracy to divide Dalit votes, reflecting  the castiest mindset of the saffron party.

Incidentally, Mayawati’s BSP has been founded on a strong Dalit votary.

A former Border Security Force (BSF) soldier has also expressed his desire to contest against Narendra Modi. Tej Bahadur Yadav from Rewari in Haryana was dismissed from service in 2017, following a video showing poor quality food served to BSF soldiers went viral.

“I had raised the issue of corruption but I was sacked. My first objective will be to strengthen and eliminate corruption in the forces,” he told reporters on Saturday.

At the same, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra recently retorted, “Why not from Varanasi?” when the media asked her if she was contesting the April-May Lok Sabha polls and which would be the likely seats for her contest.

It would be interesting to see how many more will join the fray against Prime Minister Modi and if any of them would be able give a fight.

In 2014, Narendra Modi had five opponents initially. But Samajwadi Pary candidate pledged his support to Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal. Modi garnered over 5,80,00 votes, and defeated Kejriwal by over 3,70,000 votes. BSP candidate secured over 60,000 votes and the Congress over 75,000 votes.

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Rahul Gandhi picks Wayanad as 2nd seat, sets up fight with CPM

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is set to contest from the Wayanad parliamentary constituency in Kerala, along with the Amethi seat in Uttar Pradesh in the April-May Lok Sabha polls.

Veteran Congress leader from Kerala, AK Antony, announced the news on Sunday. The announcement reiterated the speculation that was doing rounds in the media that the Congress is looking for a safer seat for the party president in a southern state.

With this decision Congress president will set up a fight with a Maha Ghatabandhan (Mega alliance) partner, CPM. Responding to the development, Kerala chief minister said “it is not a good sign”. But he expressed confidence that LDF (the alliance, of which CPM is a part) is capable of defeating Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad.

Rahul Gandhi’s opponent from the BJP in Amethi, Smriti Irani, had already ridiculed that the Gandhi scion was running away from a Gandhi pocket borough fearing a fight with her.

Incidentally, Amethi has been represented by a Gandhi ever since 1980, save for six years. Rahul Gandhi himself is a three-time parliamentarian from the seat, winning 2004, 2009, 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, his winning margin came down sharply in the 2014 polls. Besides, in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the Congress could win just one of the five assembly seats that fall under Amethi Lok Sabha constituency.

Commenting on Rahul Gandhi’s second seat, Union minister and BJP leader Rabi Shankar Prasad said that the ethnic profile of the demography in Wayanad was the main reason. “Only 49% of population in Waynad are Hindu. The rest are minorities,” he added.