Before the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress had accused Maharashtra's Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), led by Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, of being a B-team of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); now it appears the Maharashtra state unit of the Congress is in talks with the VBA for a pre-poll tie-up for the upcoming assembly election. Ambedkar is a grandson of the architect of India's Constitution, B R Ambedkar, and his party is backed by Hyderabad politician Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. The two fought the Lok Sabha elections together, notching up a sizeable portion of the votes, while failing to win even one of the 48 seats in the state. The Congress' desperation is understandable — there is a threat of a mass exodus, a la the Trinamool in West Bengal, with Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan alleging that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is calling the Congress' Assembly lawmakers and urging them to join the BJP.
Politics of business
The three-language proposal in the draft National Education Policy has become the focus of a heated political debate in Tamil Nadu, where it has quickly taken the shape of an anti-Hindi agitation by Dravidian parties. What is interesting is a tweet by Bharatiya Janata Party leader H Raja listing out the schools run by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leaders in the state. Raja has alleged that DMK leaders, including president M K Stalin’s daughter who runs a school, are up in arms because their business (of running schools) would be affected if the three-language formula were to be implemented. In Chennai city alone, DMK leaders and their family members run at least five schools, while across the state, close to a dozen schools are run by them, alleged the BJP leader.
Singur back on Mamata’s table
The Trinamool Congress' recent loss in Singur, part of the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal, has hurt the party perhaps the most. In an internal meeting, Trinamool President and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (pictured) reportedly told her colleagues the defeat was “a shame” for the party, and that “it is our fault that we lost Singur”. Understandable, because it was her agitation in Singur against the use of farmland to build factories that won her the CM's chair in 2011. The Left had sanctioned a Tata car factory there but the project was abandoned because of her agitation. The BJP's Locket Chatterjee won the seat. To regain lost ground, Banerjee will launch her Janasanjog Yatra or ‘a connect with the people’ campaign on July 21 as part of the Trinamool's annual Martyr's Day rally.