Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Chief Mayawati on Tuesday criticised not just the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Narendra Modi government, but also the Congress and the UPA governments, for steep petrol and diesel prices. The Congress is negotiating a seat adjustment with the BSP in Madhya Pradesh for the upcoming assembly polls. However, the criticism has left the Congress a tad nervous. The party reckons that the key to defeating the BJP in 2019, and also in Madhya Pradesh, is an alliance between the Samajwadi Party and BSP in Uttar Pradesh. According to sources, the BJP is also reaching out to Mayawati. As part of this strategy and to mollify the upset Dalit community, the Modi government is mulling conferring the Bharat Ratna on BSP founder Kanshi Ram posthumously.
Election fever grips capital
Election season means long days of hectic activity. On Tuesday, there was much speculation that the Narendra Modi government might succeed in getting Vijay Mallya, jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi back to India. The Modi government has also scaled up its outreach to stakeholders, including the media. Off the record briefings by senior ministers have become the order of the day. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has asked its affiliates to make their presence felt. The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh is gearing up for protests and press conferences, including one on Wednesday. If the Bharatiya Janata Party is organising multiple press conferences in a single day, the Congress is working up its energy to match its opponent.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has got into the Durga Puja mood already. She has composed the theme song for one of Kolkata's puja committees where her minister Arun Banerjee is a member. It has been sung by singer-turned-politician Indranil Sen, who is a minister in her government. Last year also, Banerjee had composed a song for the same puja committee; but maybe she wasn't too happy with the end result. So this year, she has taken another shot at it and the lyrics, she said, have a more welcome feel to it.