AAP in trouble over alleged malice to Maliwal as Modi's mudslinging slugfest with opposition continues amid election fever

Last Updated : 18 May 2024, 05:45 IST
Last Updated : 18 May 2024, 05:45 IST

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Hello dear readers! DH is back with yet another edition of Political Theatre, a weekly round-up of political shenanigans from all over the nation and across the globe. It is that time of the year when the atmosphere of the country is unusually heated up (if not because of the weather, then surely due to the ongoing Lok Sabha elections). Although the people have had some respite from the scorching climate - thanks to a few days of decent rainfall in considerable parts of the country, it is safe to say that election fever has gripped the entire nation and it will likely keep the temperatures soaring as of now.

A triad of elections - phase 4 of the Lok Sabha elections, the Andhra Pradesh, and the Odisha (phase 1) Assembly elections - were simultaneously held this week on May 13. The festival of democracy is indeed running at full throttle - with all its ferocity and fervour. And of course, how can we forget the high priests of this festival, the primary characters of this mega-series, the impact players of this slugfest - our beloved politicians? They have provided enough fodder this week for us mere mortals to ponder upon, and we cannot be more thankful!

So without further ado, let's roll back the clock and rewind the theatrics from the world of politics that we were fortunate enough to witness this week.

May the 13th be blessed!

On Monday, May 13, a triumvirate of elections were held in the country. Phase 4 of the Lok Sabha elections saw voting in 96 constituencies spread across 10 states and union territories with as many as 1,717 candidates vying for victory. A voter turnout of 68 per cent was recorded among a total of 17.17 crore people eligible to vote in the fourth phase, with usual reports of sporadic violence and leaders being booked for violations.

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While West Bengal clocked the highest voter turnout percentage with 78.44 per cent, Jammu and Kashmir recorded the least with 37.98 per cent.

It was double the burden for Andhra Pradesh and Odisha as the Assembly elections of these two states coincided with the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha polls. More than 78 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly polls - albeit not without incidents of clashes (quite synonymous with elections at this point).

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The first phase of the Odisha Assembly elections recorded a voter turnout of over 64 per cent. The following three phases of the Odisha Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in tandem with the remining phases of the Lok Sabha polls on May 20, May 25, and June 1.

However, the political turmoil this week spilled beyond just the elections. Let's take a look.

Assault, Allegations and Protests

The events that unfolded on May 13 weren't just limited inside polling booths. In a major blow for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Swati Maliwal, their own Rajya Sabha MP, accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's personal aide Bibhav Kumar of physical assault.

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Unsurprisingly, the incident sparked off a political row in no time, given the seriousness of the allegations. BJP was quick to jump on the bandwagon - leaders, workers, and members of its Mahila Morcha staged protests outside Arvind Kejriwal's residence, demanding an inquiry into the incident.

Maliwal, however, urged the BJP to refrain from politicising the matter.

Wrestling with justice

A court in Delhi ordered framing of sexual harassment, outraging the modesty of women and criminal intimidation charges against former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh based on sexual assault allegations against him made by a slew of women wrestlers.

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Apart from their obvious differences in ideologies, major political parties of this country unfortunately seem to have one thing in common - the tendency to have their leaders involved in alleged crimes against women. First it was Brij Bhushan, then came Sandeshkhali, and later the Prajwal Revanna case that shook the entire nation.

Father gets bail, son still on the run

Accusations against JD(S) leader Prajwal Revanna are piling up - the absconding MP from Hassan was booked in a new case for repeatedly raping an elderly woman hailing from Mysuru.

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Meanwhile, Prajwal's father and JD(S) MLA H D Revanna, who was arrested in the kidnapping and illegal confinement case of the same woman, was granted conditional bail by a special court on May 13.

Sandeshkhali turning bitter by the day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee traded barbs over the Sandeshkhali incident, which saw quite a few twists and turns in the last couple of weeks when videos surfaced of women claiming they were advised by the BJP to file false complaints against prime accused Shahjahan Sheikh.

"The PM is still peddling lies about Sandeshkhali. He should be ashamed as the BJP's conspiracy has now become public," Banerjee said, pointing fingers directly at Modi himself.

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The Prime Minister retorted back with his usual rhetoric. "All of us have seen what the TMC has done with the sisters and mothers of Sandeshkhali. The TMC goons are now threatening the women in Sandeshkhali as the name of the main culprit is Shajahan Sheikh... They are trying their best to save and protect him from legal action. Don't be afraid of TMC", he said, while addressing a public rally in WB's Barrackpore.

Bangles for Pakistan

PM Modi lambasting the opposition - a definite headline grabber this election season. This week hasn't been any different. During an election rally in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, the PM said, "The I.N.D.I.A. bloc seems to have leaders who are scared of Pakistan and have nightmares of its nuclear power".

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"If Pakistan does not wear bangles, we will make the country wear these. I knew they did not have foodgrains. Now, I come to know they do not even have adequate supply of bangles", he further added.

This came in the backdrop of comments made by Omar Abdullah regarding Pakistan's possession of atom bombs.

Modi gives himself clean chit

In an interview on May 14, PM Narendra Modi defended himself by claiming that he did not just talk about Muslims - rather about all poor families, when he made his "infiltrators" and "those with more children" remarks. He also mentioned that the day he starts doing Hindu-Muslim, he would be "unworthy of public life".

However, the Congress showed no intention of buying Modi's defense, with the party's general secretary Jairam Ramesh hitting out at the PM, claiming that "the outgoing PM is a pathological liar".

All road (show)s lead to the parliament?

Narendra Modi is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to his election campaigns across the country. In a first, Modi held a grand roadshow in Mumbai along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on May 15.

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Two days prior, Modi had led another huge roadshow in Varanasi, a place much more familiar to him, with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath by his side. The next day, he filed his nomination papers from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, which can safely be termed as his stomping ground.

Shah's Supreme Court verdict

AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court on May 10 after spending more than a month behind bars in relation to the liquor policy scam case.

The apex court's verdict, however, failed to impress Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He refused to label it as a "routine judgment", while also claiming that "a lot of people in this country believe that a special treatment" has been given to the AAP supremo.

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CAA underway

The government granted Indian citizenship to as many as 14 people under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the first time, two months after rules were notified for the law that omitted Muslims from neighbouring countries under its ambit.

Now let's take a sneak peek into the major happenings from around the world this week:

Bird's eye view of the world

In a shocking turn of events, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and seriously injured right after taking part in a government meeting. As per latest reports, Fico is conscious, but his condition remains critical.

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Meanwhile, the Israel-Gaza situation seems far from de-escalation, with Israel pushing further up into Northern Gaza and intensifying its military operations in Rafah. The death toll in Gaza has now surpassed at least 35,000, as per the latest information from Gaza's health ministry.

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That's all for the week, folks! See you all again next Saturday with all the tidbits from the upcoming week!

Exit Stage Left,

DH Newsletters Team

Published 18 May 2024, 05:45 IST

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