Crossovers & arrests form plot for poll potboiler

Opposition alleges this will be the last poll if BJP returns to power; BJP claims it’s a war against graft.
Last Updated 03 April 2024, 02:36 IST

The first vote in this Lok Sabha election will be cast in the third week of April. The Modi-led BJP and the Congress-led I.N.D.I.A. bloc is fighting a battle of wits.

The poll season has so far seen people withdrawing from the scene after the party gave them tickets, some defecting despite assured candidature, IT notices to the Opposition, and a CM behind bars. The Opposition has alleged that this will be the last election if the BJP returns to power while BJP is going to town calling this a war against the Opposition’s corruption.


A peculiar trend emerging is that of the reluctant candidate. People like BJP’s Gujarat MPs Ranjan Bhatt and Bhikhabhai Thakor have withdrawn from the race being chosen, citing lofty ideals. But many say it is opposition from the cadre that forced them to withdraw. Rohan Gupta cited his father’s health and infighting to leave Congress. Congress’ Bastar candidate Kawasi Lakhma said he went to seek a bride (ticket) for his son but was made the bridegroom.


Switching sides is not uncommon. But this time, some candidates from the Opposition are switching sides despite being assured of tickets. Ravneet Bittu, Congress’ Ludhiana candidate, chose to side with the BJP. AAP’s Jalandhar MP Sushil Kumar Rinku followed Bittu. In three years, Rinku will be fighting an election from a third party after Congress and AAP. On the contrary, three BJP MPs have crossed over to Congress after they were denied tickets.


The usual one during any poll season – and sometimes it comes abundantly – is from the Election Commission. But this time around, the I-T notices are the talk of the town. Congress has got tax notices running up to Rs 3,567 crore. CPM and CPI too have received the ‘love letters’, as they call it. I.N.D.I.A. claims this is to financially cripple them. They add this is not the sign of a confident BJP but a rattled one.


‘Bahubalis’ (musclemen) fighting elections from jail is no news. But jail has never become a campaign ground. This time, a chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, is in prison and this space is going to be if one goes by the episodes of his AAP colleagues already in custody, he is unlikely to get out before Delhi votes on May 25.


Not ordinary promises but ‘guarantees’ are the flavour of this election season. Congress has 25 guarantees from five promised ‘nyays’ while BJP is banking on ‘Modi’s guarantees’. At the I.N.D.I.A. rally, Sunita Kejriwal read out jailed Delhi Chief Minister’s six guarantees.


Varun Gandhi did not get renomination from Pilibhit but his 67-year-old mother Maneka Gandhi got a ticket once again from Sultanpur. Nirmala Sitharaman, who was speculated to be fighting Lok Sabha, too did not get a ticket with the Finance Minister saying she does not have money to fight the polls. Varun’s exclusion had a reason as he was not in the good books of party leadership. The question is why Nirmala didn’t get it?

(Published 03 April 2024, 02:36 IST)

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