Gandhi family loyalist and prominent Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan created ripples when he switched sides to join the BJP. But it’s not going to be easy to leave his past behind, especially not on social media.
There are years of anti-BJP tweets that could be potentially embarrassing for him now that he has joined the saffron team. For instance, just ten days before he shifted to the BJP, he had retweeted something which could possibly rebound. It said: “When there are IT/money laundering issues against a politician, what do they do? They join BJP.”
An article posted along with the tweet was revealing. It was on recent BJP entrant Jay Panda’s Bahamas transactions being on the radar of the income tax department. Panda was formerly with Naveen Patnaik’s BJD.
Where does this tweet put Vadakkan? Hopefully not with those who cross the floor when they are being investigated by government agencies!
Vadakkan flagged national security issues as one of the chief reasons for joining the BJP. But the buzz says he has been promised a Lok Sabha ticket to contest from Trichur. For years he hoped that the Congress would nominate him for the seat. In fact, some years ago, a leading priest from the Roman Catholic church in the area had apparently approached the Congress on behalf of Vadakkan. But the party declined, saying that he was needed in Delhi. Congress circles don’t know what to make of Vadakkan’s decision to jump ship on the eve of elections. He had been spending his days at the Congress party’s headquarters on Akbar Road. Just the night before he switched sides, he had retweeted something from Priyanka Vadra’s Twitter handle. There was nothing to suggest that he was negotiating with the “enemy” camp.
Vadakkan seems to have deleted his Twitter account which described him as national spokesperson of the Congress party. But as we all know, what’s put out in cyberspace never disappears. It can be recalled any time.
Prime Minister Modi’s inauguration spree resulted in comical competitiveness. Several days after the PM inaugurated the newly built Jalpaiguri circuit bench building in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee also inaugurated it. Her argument was that the state government had paid for the construction, so the privilege of inauguration belonged to her, not the PM.
Interestingly, because Modi’s visit was hurriedly organized and squeezed in between other inaugurations, he did the honours alone. Mamata was missing naturally. But so were the Calcutta High Court chief justice and the state governor. All three were notable absentees.
On the other hand, when Mamata went to inaugurate the building, she made sure that both the High Court chief justice and the governor were present.
But the comedy doesn’t here. Some days later, CPM’s Ashok Bhattacharya inaugurated a water pumping station in Siliguri where he is mayor a few hours after Mamata had finished the opening ceremony of the same facility. She did it in the morning. Bhattacharya inaugurated it the same afternoon.
He used the same argument as Mamata. He said the Siliguri municipal corporation paid for the pumping station. So the inauguration rights belong to the mayor, not the chief minister.
All in the family
JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda shed many tears over media reports accusing him of nepotism and indulging in dynastic politics.
But his tears are misplaced. As many as three members of his family are in the fray for the Lok Sabha elections. Considering the JD(S) is contesting just eight seats as part of its alliance with the Congress in Karnataka, this amounts to more than a 40 per cent share for the family.
Deve Gowda himself is likely to contest. The seat has not been decided yet. It could be Bangalore North or Tumkur, which JD(S) snatched away from the Congress in the seat-sharing talks despite the sitting MP being from that party.
One grandson, Prajwal Revanna, is contesting from Hassan. The other, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, will fight from Mandya.
There are already three members of the family in the state assembly. Deve Gowda’s younger son Kumaraswamy is of course the chief minister. His elder son HD Revanna is PWD minister. Kumaraswamy’s wife Anita is an MLA.
The Deve Gowda dynasty lives on in Karnataka with some help from the Congress. While the Congress top leadership has decided to indulge Deve Gowda’s ambitions for his family, state leaders seem to be quite upset by the way the alliance has shaped up. There are concerns that the alliance may not work on the ground.
Confusion in Delhi
Confusion persists over the much talked about Congress-Aam Aadmi Party electoral alliance in Delhi. Is it on or is it off?
Last week, former Congress Delhi chief and aspirant for the New Delhi seat, Ajay Maken, showed up in the Capital’s elite walking ground, Lodi Garden, for a spot of breakfast. The event was supposed to kick off the Congress party’s election campaign for this prestigious seat.
The assumption was that Congress and AAP had sealed the deal and the former would field Maken for the New Delhi constituency as part of the understanding. A day later, AAP announced a seventh candidate for the Capital’s West Delhi seat. Of course, it hastily added a rider that it is still open for a pact with the Congress.
Consequently, Congress and AAP local workers are thoroughly confused. Polling is not till May 12, the sixth phase. This gives the two on-off partners almost an entire month to negotiate and spread more confusion. Whatever edge they hoped to get over the BJP may well be lost because of the delay and uncertainty.