1. A lot of political activity has taken place in Andhra Pradesh (yep, AP, not UP :) ) this week. The Chief Minister has become an expert at making tall claims about his programs. Infact, I am pretty sure he spends more money on advertisements than on the actual schemes itself! One of the schemes he tom tomed was "Rajiv Yuva Kiranalu". Leave the opposition parties and the cynics, his own ministers were clueless about this scheme. State Congress chief picked up a fight with the CM too, about this scheme. The CM promised 1 lakh private sector jobs by December. He also said the PM will give out all these letters in December. The PM hasn't come yet, but the CM's office released a statement saying about 1,01,000 jobs have been created! The Hindu carried this report which detailed how even the "youth" are confused what this scheme is about!
Amidst this confusion, party incharge Ghulam Nabi Azad came to Hyderabad to chair the first meeting of the newly formed "co-ordination committee". Entire regional media was agog with reports on how the CM was cornered by the panel members. The deputy CM is miffed that he is being sidelined and is not being consulted. Same complaint by the PCC chief. Same complaint by many other leaders. If this does not signify dissent, then what does?
Meanwhile, the plan is to increase current charges and increase the number of power holidays from 5 to 12 days a month for industries. And to add to these woes, two tragedies struck the state. 19 people died after they drank illegal hooch. Just 2 days after this, 24 people were taken ill in another district. These tragedies bought to the fore, the massive liquor "mafia" in the state. This article in The Hindu is a must read, to understand how this syndicate works in the state.
And the assembly Speaker finally broke his silence. Remember the no-confidence motion in the assembly last month? 16 Congress MLAs voted against the government. As is his trademark, the Speaker tells us he will try to close this case before the budget session! This has been the gameplan of the Congress always - delay every problem to the maximum possible extent! And then rue the indecision.
Lastly, the Obulapuram Mining case continues to haunt the government. The IAS officer who signed the file has been sent back to jail. As expected, the minister in charge at that time, Sabita Reddy is not even an accused in the case - she is just a witness (and is now the Home Minister of the state)!
2. Meanwhile, the election commission has announced elections for five states, about 10 days back. UP, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Punjab will go to elections in February. Needless to say, all eyes are on the election in UP. The english media seems to have placed all its bets on Rahul Gandhi. Various surveys are projecting various results too. Mayawati has sacked some ministers from the cabinet. This week's hot political story is that some of these ministers are joining in BJP. Parties and media picked on the BJP for this decision - specifically for inducting Babu Singh Kushwaha into the party. The BJP has specifically attacked Kushwaha when he was the minister. Mindful of the OBC votes he might bring in, the BJP took a u-turn and inducted him into the party. After a minor backlash, the party has announced that he will not be given a ticket. Kushwaha has written to Nitin Gadkari asking him to put his membership on hold till he is absolved of charges. CBI raided the offices of Kushwaha the very next day after he joined BJP. While the CBI continues to dance to the tunes of the Congress party, the next few weeks are going to see some high voltage political action.
3. If you think that BSP, SP, BJP, Congress, RLD are the only parties fighting the elections in UP, you are mistaken. The Election Commission should also be added to the list. The EC has ordered that all statues of Maywati and elephants (BSP symbol) should be covered with cloth. Apparently the statues will influence the voter it seems. This decision is absurd at many levels, but in my view is an insult to the voter. That's all, your honour!