Sunday November 18, 2018
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Can Rahul Gandhi turn tables on Modi?

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By Tarun Pratap

New Delhi: The Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Monday began his ‘kisan Padyatra’ in Uttar Pradesh, saying that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was busy flying abroad, he and his party Congress would stand by the farmers through thick and thin.

Taking a jibe at the PM, he said, “Modi had promised that during his rule, the country would witness ‘Acche Din’. But we are yet to come across a single ‘good day’ under his regime. Ache Din will come when farmers, laborers and poor are happy.”

This campaign to highlight the plight of sugarcane farmers is apparently planned in the view of 2017 assembly elections.

Meanwhile, the BJP hit back at the Gandhi scion, saying that he would have to prove his innocence with regard to the allegations that his party was involved in “anti-national activities” in Punjab.

Congress Vice President also criticized the UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and urged him to work for the farmers for the rest of his remaining tenure.

Gandhi has been aggressive in his approach in of late. He did not miss a single opportunity where he could target the government, be it on the issue of Dadri lynching, Bihar polls, and Modi’s foreign visits.

It is being believed in Congress circles that a victory in Bihar has proved that Modi is not invincible and with the right approach and strategy flaws in his government can be brought out.

Though Congress is not the actual winner in Bihar, any loss to BJP paves the way for Congress to gain further strength.

BJP had criticized Rahul a lot for his 58-day absence earlier this year, but it seems that they also have given him a reason to hit back.

This government has been in power for hardly 18 months and still there are jitters. NDA has a clear majority and yet they have looked to be defensive in recent past. They have only themselves to blame for their predicament. More than Rahul or the Opposition, it is the BJP themselves that invited trouble on them with all the controversial comments and issues like beef, Pakistan etcetera. BJP has pushed itself on the back foot, giving an opening to the Congress and all of its opposition.

BJP won the 2014 elections on the basis of issue of development but since then the public has heard more of other things than the word they voted for.

The mention of phrase ‘Modi Wave’ in media has but disappeared. Maybe the wave is over or there never was a wave. Either way it is not an ideal situation to be in for the BJP. Bihar election is one big setback where BJP has lost a lot of ground.

Rahul Gandhi has been considered many a things since his arrival in politics. He has been ridiculed, laughed at, but he never has been feared. Neither the opposition nor public gave him a chance. On the other hand, Modi was always feared by his political opponents and he proved them right by winning the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, the Gandhi scion seems to be slowly turning the tables on Modi.

With the Winter Session of the Parliament approaching, it is important for BJP to get things right otherwise like the Monsoon Session, the opposition won’t let them work, wasting yet again precious time and public money.

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India, elections
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

India,India, elections
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)