To the question whether opposition political leaders had been invited to the Namaste Trump event to welcome US President Donald Trump (pictured) in Ahmedabad on February 24, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said the event at a cricket stadium was organised by the Donald Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti. It said this organisation would be finalising the list of invitees. In Ahmedabad, Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra said fewer than 200,000 people were expected to line up along the 22-km route of the roadshow of the US president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the city. On Tuesday, Trump had said: “He (Modi) says between the stadium and the airport, we’ll have about 7 million people. So its going to be very exciting. I hope you all enjoy it.” That would be the total population of Ahmedabad (7 million), a civic official said.
Amid the acerbic debates and a heated exchange of words between the Treasury and Opposition Benches in the Uttar Pradesh legislature, occasional light-hearted banter provides the much-needed relief to House members and eases the frayed tempers of the policymakers. In a recent episode during the ongoing Budget session, the Samajwadi Party (SP) expressed dissatisfaction at the reply of the Adityanath government to a question it posed. Thereafter, the leader of the Opposition, Ram Govind Chaudhary, announced he would be staging a two-minute walkout in protest. Since Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was due to speak shortly thereafter, House Speaker Hriday Narayan Dikshit advised Chaudhary to just take a round of the floor of the House and return to his seat instead of walking out. This amused the members across the party divide, including Adityanath and Chaudhary.
Gearing up for May 2021
The West Bengal Assembly polls are scheduled for May next year. The opposition is looking at putting together a “third front” in the polls against the ruling Trinamool Congress and the challenger, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This “third front” is likely to comprise the Left parties and Congress, which is a repeat of what happened in 2016. In that election, this alliance had split the anti-incumbency vote between itself and the BJP. The effectiveness of this “third front” will be tested in the upcoming civic elections in West Bengal. The CPI(M) and Congress are working on fielding candidates who are below 35, and even apolitical ones who are popular and have a clean image.