n18
Menu
NEWS|Politics 
   |

The field has already gotten crowded in Varanasi, where the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is planning to harvest a second seat in the Lok Sabha.There are already three serious candidates apart from Modi Arvind Kejriwal of AAP, Kailash Chaurasia of Samajwadi Party, and Mukhtar Ansari, a jailbird and head of the Muslim-dominated Qaumi Ekta Party and one non-serious BSP candidate, Vijay Prakash Jaiswal, who is not given any chance in the fight.However, if the Congress manages to pull off a coup, the field will get sparser.This has acquired urgency with Sonia Gandhi meeting the Imam of Jama Masjid and making an appeal to the minorities to avoid splitting the so-called secular vote. Though this claim has drawn an uproar of protest over her return to votebank politics, it has to be seen in the context of AK Antonys recent call to political parties for a secular front to keep Modi out of power.The Economic Times suggests that the Congress party is in behind-the-scenes negotiations to get Ansari and Chaurasia to withdraw from Varanasi, leaving the field clear for a strong Congress nominee to take on Modi. Kejriwal, it is assumed, will not be willing to play ball, but he may not make too many waves in Varanasi, where he has failed to make an impact so far. With his Delhi base under threat, he wont return to Varanasi till after 10 April.So, if the Congress move succeeds, it will end up being a straight fight between Modi and its nominee, with Kejriwal largely playing the role of spoiler.Will a straight fight help or hinder Modis victory?Of Varanasis 16 lakh voters, three lakh Muslims can be ruled out of Modis corner. Their votes will go to the Congress, assuming the other players withdraw or are bought off.The battle will be for the Brahmin (two lakh), Vaishya (3.5 lakh), and Kurmi, Yadav, Bhumihar and Dalit votes each with around one lakh each.The Congress strategy, if it is to succeed in making it a more-or-less straight fight, will be to get at least two of the three major non-Muslim groups to vote for it. It will thus field either a Brahmin or Vaishya candidate but Kejriwal is in the latter category. Ajai Rai, who is said to have a strong base in the Brahmin and Bhumihar communities, looks like a more likely choice.If the Congress succeeds in fielding a combined candidate, Modi has a fight on his hands.However, the one factor that no one is talking about is this: if there is a so-called secular consolidation, there could be a counter-consolidation too. In 2009, Murli Manohar Joshi squeaked through because it was noted that Muslims were voting in large numbers for Ansari.This time too all calculations based only on caste combos may go wrong. There is likely to be a significant polarisation by the time Varanasi votes on 12 May.

Cauvery row: BJP to boycott all party meet called by Karnataka CM Siddaramaih

from firstpost

Cauvery row: BJP to boycott all party meet called by Karnataka CM Siddaramaih

Bengaluru: BJP has decided to boycott the all-party meeting called by Chief Minister Siddaramaih on Wednesday to discuss the future course of action following Supreme Court's order directing Karnataka...


Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu reallocates Cabinet portfolios

from firstpost

Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu reallocates Cabinet portfolios

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has shuffled the portfolios of his ministers following the hop-skip-and-jump politics in the state last week.Khandu, who defected along with 42 l...

Mulayam Singh Yadav takes strategic risks with Amar Singh before UP polls, but will his party back him?

from firstpost

Mulayam Singh Yadav takes strategic risks with Amar Singh before UP polls, but will his party back him?

The "outsider" who was written off as the collateral damage in the Yadav clan clash has returned andemerged victorious.Delivering a stinging blow to his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief M...

AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan arrested in sexual harassment case

from firstpost

AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan arrested in sexual harassment case

New Delhi:Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator Amanatullah Khan was on Wednesday arrested after a sexual harassment complaint by his brother-in-law's wife, police said."We arrested Khan today (We...

DCW recruitment case: Kejriwal named in FIR, lashes out at PM Modi

from firstpost

DCW recruitment case: Kejriwal named in FIR, lashes out at PM Modi

New Delhi:On Wednesday Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that ACB has registered an FIR against him at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the "administrative a...

Cabinet approves early Union Budget, merger of Rail Budget: Here's how it will impact

from firstpost

Cabinet approves early Union Budget, merger of Rail Budget: Here's how it will impact

The Union Cabinet has approved advancing the date for presenting the Union Budget by a month, paving way for one of the major overhaul of the budgeting exercise in the last several years, according to...

Navjot Singh Sidhu's Awaaz-e-Punjab will not be a political front, will be open for alliance

from firstpost

Navjot Singh Sidhu's Awaaz-e-Punjab will not be a political front, will be open for alliance

The fogaround Navjot Singh Sidhu's political future doesn't appears to be clearing any time soon as the former cricketer and Punjab politician seems to be sending mixed signals. Sidhu, who had recentl...