The Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party is set to inaugurate its new “war room” for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. However, the day the bhoomi poojan was scheduled, journalists were told that the event had been postponed till April and the war room — in its Delhi state office on Pandit Pant Marg — would be inaugurated during Navaratri as it was more auspicious. Insiders, however, said the party had chosen the first date, assuming that the Delhi polls would be held in the first or the second phase. But when the Election Commission announced that Delhi would, in fact, vote on May 12, the sixth phase, it changed its mind to avoid having its supporters from lingering for a month or so. “This way we avoid paying the refreshment bills for supporters from all seven constituencies for an extra month,” said an insider. Also, some workers felt the new work culture in the party left little scope for a “war room”.
Jumping from pole to pole
Congress Spokesperson Tom Vadakkan on Thursday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Maharashtra Congress Legislative Party leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil could follow his son to the BJP in the coming days, sources said. However, former Uttarakhand chief minister B C Khanduri's son Manish is mulling joining the Congress. While Khanduri junior has refused to comment on the matter, Congress sources say he is set to join their party on Saturday at a public rally in Uttarakhand, to be addressed by Congress President Rahul Gandhi. While Vadakkan is seeking the BJP's Lok Sabha ticket in one of his home state Kerala's 21 constituencies, Khanduri junior could be the Congress candidate from the Pauri Garhwal seat.
Boat for Priyanka
The latest headache for the Congress party is finalising Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's travel plans in Uttar Pradesh. On Thursday, Congress party let it be known that Priyanka could travel by boat in the Ganga from Allahabad to Varanasi next Monday. However, by evening Congress party sources said her programme has been postponed to a later date, and not cancelled. This isn’t the first time that her itinerary in Uttar Pradesh has been changed. The Congress hopes Priyanka's boat ride would bring into focus the problems with government’s ‘Namami Gange’ campaign. Priyanka is her party’s general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh east, and responsible for 40 of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats, including Allahabad and Varanasi. Varanasi is the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In Varanasi, Priyanka was to visit the Dashashwamedh Ghat and Kashi Vishwanath temple, and pay a visit to the family of a CRPF personnel killed in the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir in February.