Only a few days are left for polling in Madhya Pradesh. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the main Opposition party, the Congress, are betting big on their star campaigners. Among Congress members, after party president Rahul Gandhi, former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu (pictured) is in high demand. At least 10 district Congress committees have demanded that Sidhu campaign in their areas. On the BJP side, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is still the most popular face. In an interesting twist, some candidates from rural areas have requested Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to participate in public rallies in their regions. The party had to relent but it has allotted only four days to Adityanath to campaign in MP.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, who is often in the news for making controversial remarks, is back in the headlines — only this time for his effort to charm the people of his state. At a recent event in Agartala, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader surprised his audience with a popular patriotic song from the Hindi film Karma. His audience broke into a thunderous applause after Deb finished crooning "Dil diya hai jaan bhi denge, aye watan tere liye" at the closing ceremony of 6th North-East Youth Festival 2018. A video of the episode was shared on Twitter by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha member Somnath Saha.
Zika virus & MCC
You might think there couldn't be any connection between Zika virus and model code of conduct, but in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh there is one. After multiple cases of people contracting Zika virus, dengue and chikungunya were reported from Bhopal, the central health ministry despatched 0.3 million medicated mosquito nets to the state. But instead of distributing them, officials concerned stored them in warehouses because the model code of conduct was in force in the state. They assumed distribution of these nets would amount to violation of the model code of conduct. After the issue was highlighted in the media, chief electoral officer of the state V L Kantarao issued a statement that permission of the Election Commission was not mandatory to control a disease. The mosquito nets were distributed thereafter.