The Kerala unit of the Congress is facing a problem of plenty. There are at least four leaders who are nursing chief ministerial ambitions. The list includes a senior leader who has the ears of former party president Rahul Gandhi. The state has the largest number of Congress MPs in the current Lok Sabha and is crucial to the political relevance of the grand old party. Party sources say the support of the cadre and backing of the influential Nair community will determine the chances of the aspirants. And also the word of a former Union minister who is close to 10 Janpath.
A fascinating finding of the preliminary 20th Livestock Census is the sharp decline in the number of donkeys. India’s donkey population has gone down precipitously, at almost 62 per cent, between 2012 and 2019. Beyond the joke, the falling donkey population also points to the growing mechanisation of small transport in the country. The number of horses and ponies, which till some decades ago were some of the prime modes of transport in several small towns and cities across India, has also seen an almost 46 per cent drop between 2012 and 2019. Interestingly, UP has seen the biggest fall in the donkey population, at 72 per cent, among all states, the Census showed.
Red herrings galore
The down-and-out Opposition has put up a subdued campaign against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly by-elections in 11 seats. Staring at defeat, the Opposition Benches have started using red herrings to preempt finger-pointing after the polls. Samajwadi Party (SP) President Akhilesh Yadav has put the ball in the Election Commission’s (EC’s) court by urging it to conduct “free and fair” elections. He alleged that some BJP leaders were threatening voters and even Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had been talking about teaching the Opposition a lesson. Yadav said the people of UP were with the SP; it was up to the EC to ensure that the polls are not rigged.