Congress leaders have started getting jittery in Delhi. Not only have the opinion polls broadly negated a fourth term to Sheila Dikshit but the feedback from their own ranks is also not making them happier.Now, an IB report on the potential outcome of the Delhi polls has added weight to these worries. A source told Firstpost that this report submitted to the political leadership at the Centre concluded that the BJP was inching closer to the majority in Delhi with 34-36 seats, the Congress lagging behind with 21-23 seats and the Aam Admi Party making a not-so-modest beginning with 8-10 seats. A rapid round of three rallies by Narendra Modi from noon today will aim at further denting the Congresss prospects.Worse, the Congress leadership is not doing it right to keep the morale of the workers high. Instead there are enough indications that despite its initial bravado, the party is unwilling invest any heavy duty energy to retrieve the situation. After a great deal of will-he-won't-he suspense, the party finally decided not to hold a rally by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have ironically come as his saviour. They are landing today for a six-day trip. The prime minister will be busy with the guests, Congress general secretary Kuljit Singh Nagra said. Sheila Dikshit too had cited his tight schedule as the reason for cancellation of his proposed rally.But didnt the party and the PM know about the foreign dignitaries' visit when they had initially fixed 30 November as the date for his rally?One other date had been tentatively planned earlier this week but was then postponed for Saturday in the Sikh and Punjabi dominated Tilak Nagar in West Delhi. The other reason cited for the postponement of his rally earlier was finding an appropriate venue with security in place.What Sheila and the Congress cannot talk about is the fear that they may not be able to drum up decent crowds for Manmohan Singh. The thin crowd departing early at Rahul Gandhis rally in Delhi has made Congress managers know of their vulnerability. At heat of electioneering the candidates dont like to waste their time and energy in doing something that does not translate into votes. The Delhi Congress president and chief minister have been at loggerheads for long. Pulling all stops to pull a crowd for Manmohan Singh is a task that perhaps nobody likes.More so, Narendra Modi will be in Delhi on Saturday, addressing three rallies from noon to evening at CBD ground Shahdara in East Delhi, Jalebi Chowk in Sultanpuri in North-West Delhi and the Parade Ground at Red Fort, Chandni Chowk. Modi was denied permission by the authorities concerned for a rally in New Delhi area. The Congress has moved Election Commission against a possible use of Red Fort replica at Modis Saturday rally. Red Fort is a national monument and government property which cannot be used by BJP for election campaign directly or indirectly, Secretary of AICC (Legal Department Cell) K C Mittal said in a formal complaint to Chief Election Commissioner. Whether or not the Congress legal department succeeds in containing Modi from swinging the public mood in his favour with or without the use of the highly symbolic Red Fort in the backdrop is anybodys guess.A Manmohan rally on the same day would obviously invite a comparison and one need not be a political genius to guess how embarrassing it would be for the Congress. There are no plans for any more rallies by Sonia and Rahul. The field is open for Modi in the last leg of electioneering in Delhi.The BJP is going ballistic about it, naturally so. In his post on social networking site Facebook, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley wrote: "Governmental authorities have denied to him (Modi) the permission to hold rally in the chief minister's constituency at Sarojini Nagar, New Delhi. Prime minister's rally scheduled for Delhi has been cancelled so that comparison cannot be drawn with Modi's rally on the same day. I have earlier commented that the Congress party is unable to deal with Narendra Modi. The Congress's undeclared prime ministerial candidate is making no impact. It has therefore resorted to some of its leaders confining themselves to tweets and press conferences."Three statements made by three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit in the past one week indicate that she has the feeling on not being on a sound footing. Her candid admission on CNN-IBN two days back about a possible post poll alliance with Aam Admi Party though she denied it later has already done the damage and the issue has become happy fodder for street corner chatter. Though Arvind Kerjriwal was quick to deny any future alliance with the Congress, Sheila's statement has put a question mark in minds of many on AAPs future standing.Last Friday in an interaction with women journalists in the Capital, Sheila said she was open to a larger role at the centre whether her party wins or loses the Assembly elections: "If we win, then it is for the MLAs and party high command to decide who will be the CM. If we lose, which is little less likely, then I will keep doing what I am doing. The parliamentary elections will follow and let us see what happens. If UPA III comes to power, then whatever the party plans for me, I will follow the command."Then came her willingness to abandon even dismantle per most favourite project, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System. She had so far withstood all kinds of criticism and public anger to carry on with this programme. Speaking at the Idea Exchange programme of The Indian Express she said "BRT, I am afraid and must admit, wasn't the kind of success we had hoped it to be. Therefore, the other six corridors that were supposed to be constructed have been stopped. I think we are going to close this... I don't think we were ready for it psychologically."The Congresss initial assessment that AAP would give a breather to the Congress by cutting into BJPs middle class support base and by taking a good share of anti-incumbency anti-Congress votes, has gone horribly wrong. As campaigning unfolded in Delhi it became apparent that Kejriwal was also cutting into its votes in slums, unauthorised and newly regularised low income group colonies. Residents of these areas had stood by the Congress and Sheila Government for long.
Around 50 percent of over 3.6 million voters cast their ballots Wednesday in the bypolls for two Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka, an official said.
Political leaders cut across party lines on Friday to condemn the gangrape of a photojournalist in Mumbai.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP N Harikrishna has resigned from the Rajya Sabha to protest against the formation of Telangana.
An all-out factional war has broken out between Harshvardhan and Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel, with both vying for the Chief Minister's post if the party comes to power.
It is a crucial day for the Congress in Karnataka as by-polls began in Mandya and Bangalore Rural constituencies on Wednesday.
Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said the platform alone cannot help win elections but gives new options of reaching out to public.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said the Centre was neither concerned about the economy nor the falling rupee but only worried about saving its chair.