Amid the fast-changing political scene, especially after Congress General Secretary (in charge of Uttar Pradesh) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra upped the ante against the Adityanath government in the state, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) President Mayawati is making quick amends. She has removed the party’s Lok Sabha leader Danish Ali and replaced him by Ritesh Pandey, a Brahmin, to woo the upper castes. Interestingly, this is the fourth time in eight months that the Dalit czarina has effected such a rejig. Mayawati has termed the recent replacement balancing caste equations, since a Muslim, Munquad Ali, is currently the party’s UP unit president. However, her critics have pointed out that another Brahmin, Satish Chandra Misra, is already national general secretary of the party.
Many players in Delhi polls
The Delhi Assembly polls look like a two-cornered fight between the Aam Aadmi Party, the party in power, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but also a three-cornered one if one factors in the Congress as well. But a whole lot of smaller parties are also trying their luck. The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), an ally of the BJP, announced on Tuesday that it would contest all the 70 seats and released its first list of 15 candidates. Not just the LJP, some other Bihar-based political parties, including the Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Janata Dal, are keen to field candidates as are parties that primarily have an influence in Uttar Pradesh, such as the Samajwadi Party. The Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), the BJP’s coalition partner in the Haryana government, is also mulling fielding candidates in seats bordering that state. Last heard, the Delhi Pradesh National Panthers Party Working Committee met in New Delhi earlier this week and discussed whether the party should participate in the elections.
Protests in the sky
The protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the National Register for Citizens, and the National Population Register (CAA-NRC-NPR henceforth) are set to dominate Uttarayan, one of Gujarat’s most popular festivals, when the state hosts an international kite-flying contest. In Ahmedabad, members of civil society have distributed around 35,000 kites with anti-CAA-NRC-NPR slogans, primarily to the underprivileged. The kites carry slogans such as “Save Constitution, Save India” and “Hindu Muslim Bhai Bhai, CAA & NRC Bye Bye”, and will be flown on Wednesday. Since Ahmedabad is the epicentre of the festival and “arbitrary imposition of Section 144 and rejection of applications for peaceful protests” are very common there, those behind the idea see this as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone — get more visibility during a high-profile event and circumvent the restrictions. “If it’s not possible on the ground, we will take the protests to the skies,” said a protester.