1. This week saw some hectic political activity in Andhra Pradesh. Election results for bye-elections to 7 seats in the state were out. 6 of them were in Telangana and one was in Kovur assembly constituency, Nellore district. The Kovur election was keenly watched because the incumbent TDP legislator quit and joined the YSRCP (Jagan's party). As expected, the YSRCP candidate, N Prasanna Kumar Reddy won from Kovur with an impressive margin of ~23,000 votes over the TDP rival. In the 6 telangana seats, 5 were won by TRS (it supported one independent) and one by the BJP. All in all, this has been a disastrous election for the two main parties, Congress and the TDP. And as usual, congress leaders have started their blame games. This infighting is reminiscent of the early 90s in the state. Though there is concern in the TDP over the fallout, they are not showing it out openly. In 2 seats that it held earlier, the TDP even lost it's deposits! BJP contested only the Mahbubnagar seat and scraped through in a four cornered contest. This victory has been a shot in the arm for the BJP, especially winning the seat in KCR's LS constituency. However, it is also important to note that the BJP candidate was rejected a ticket by TRS!
After this disaster for the two main parties, the next big challenge is the upcoming elections to 18 assembly seats. Those are impending disasters too! 17 of the seats are going to polls because Congress MLAs were disqualified for voting against the government. Chiranjeevi got elected to the Rajya Sabha and hence his MLA seat is vacant now. YSRCP will perform exceedingly well in these elections too - and that's when the actual fun will start! If congress people are so much agitated over the loss in mere 7 seats, imagine the levels of instability that will creep in once they lose all 18! TDP is also surely in no better state. Anyways let's wait for those elections now!
There were a few bye-elections outside AP too. English TV media was as always concentrated on those, because BJP lost them! One election was for the Lok Sabha constituency that the current Karnataka CM, Sadananda Gowda, represented. BJP lost by ~45,000 votes there and this is clearly a huge loss for the party and reflects the crisis it is in. However, much of the media attention was focussed on an assembly seat in Gujarat. BJP held this seat since 1995 and lost it to the Congress now. And the English TV media festivilised on this result! It was a huge setback for BJP according to them. Strangely no word about the set-back to Congress in AP! Don't believe me? check out the snapshot below :)
2. The "nataka" in Karnataka just never seems to end. After the High Court quashed the case against him, Yeddyurappa got bold and demanded that the BJP leadership reinstate him as the Chief Minister of the state again! And this time, he took about 58-60 MLAs to a resort and started blackmailing the central leadership! After unrelenting for more than 4 days, he finally agreed to meet the central leadership. And after meeting them, he decided to not claim the CM's chair for now. The primary reason being that all the court cases against him haven't been quashed yet and reinstating him will only add to the instability. For now, there seems to be a halt but with Karnataka, we are never sure!
3. As expected, Dinesh Trivedi resigned as the Railway Minister. As expected, Mukul Roy was sworn in as the new Railway minister. As expected, he rolled back the fare hike announced by Dinesh Trivedi. Only the fare hike of 1st AC and 2nd AC passengers stays now. Suddenly, even the 3rd AC passengers are also "poor" people now! As expected, the PM praised Dinesh Trivedi for presenting a good budget and apparently he regretted the departure of Mr. Trivedi! What authority can we expect from a Prime Minister who can only whine but can never act?
4. And finally, another gem from the Prime Minister. While responding to demands from the DMK that India vote against Srilanka in the UNHCR meet, he told the Lok Sabha that he is yet to read the draft but is inclined to vote for the draft that will censure Srilanka! What can we further comment on this attrocious position? He hasn't read but will vote for it (given that his government will face trouble from DMK if he does not do so!). And as expected, he voted against Srilanka at the UNHRC summit. Various opinions have been expressed on this issue and it is not possible to cover all of them here :). Recommended readings here - 1, 2, 3 (PM's reply to Srilankan President), 4.
5. And finally your honour, the planning commission is at it again. They have claimed that poverty in India reduced by ~7% since 2004. The definition of poverty is this - if you have a spending capacity of more than Rs. 28.35 in urban and Rs. 22.42 in rural areas, then you are "above poverty line". That's all, your honour!