Getting ready for 2019
Several youth leaders, in the spotlight in the last couple of years, are speculated to be making their electoral debuts in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. After rumours that former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) leader Kanhaiya Kumar will contest the Begusarai Lok Sabha seat in Bihar on a Communist Party of India (CPI) ticket, it seems Patidar leader Hardik Patel may also contest the elections. Patel had led the Patidar agitation in Gujarat in 2016 and 2017. According to sources, Patel may contest from the Rajkot Lok Sabha seat. Patel could not contest the Gujarat assembly polls in December 2017 because he was months short of 25 then. JNUSU student leader Shehla Rashid Shora has also announced she would campaign against the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the word is she might contest from Kashmir.
Opposition leaders believe Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader M K Stalin walked right into the trap of the Bharatiya Janata Party when he announced on Sunday that Congress president Rahul Gandhi will be the Opposition's prime ministerial candidate. They contend the BJP would want the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to be about Modi versus Gandhi rather than about issues such as lack of jobs and agrarian distress. The DMK leadership saw the folly in pursuing the line and have assured other Opposition leaders that Stalin would not repeat the mistake. Privately, Opposition leaders say Gandhi stands the best chance of becoming prime minister if the Congress — the only party with presence in nearly all states across India — does well in 2019, and the objection to Stalin's claim was more strategic than about competing egos.
A lesson in safe driving
The Constitution Club of India, a club for Members of Parliament, organised a car rally on Sunday. In its sixth edition, participants were required to visit every checkpoint according to the routemap given to them. Organisers said the rally was not a race, but precision driving in a given duration to highlight road safety. The members remembered former MPs who lost their lives in road accidents. The list was rather long: Former president Giani Zail Singh, Rajesh Pilot, Sahib Singh Verma and Gopinath Munde were among those who were killed in road accidents. In a statement, the club noted that politicians spend a major part of their lives travelling for election campaigns, meeting people in their constituencies, and given the pressure of time, they were more vulnerable to road accidents.