The Congress’s war room at 15, Gurdwara Rakabaganj Road has been kept out of bounds for journalists. The complex is said to include a state-of-the-art multi-media conferencing facility. Beat reporters have, however, been promised a tour of the facility once the poll process is over. And with the AICC headquarters crowded as it is, some Congress leaders are suggesting that ‘Number 15’ should become the permanent war room for the party.
With his eyes wide shut
En route to Chennai earlier this week, CPI(M) General Secretary, Prakash Karat, snoozed through an entire two-and-a-half-hour long flight. The natural assumption, of course, would be that Karat was exhausted beyond measure by all that campaigning and late nights. A shrewd political observer, however, quipped: “perhaps he just wanted to avoid having to answer any questions during the flight from people, politicians or journalists.”
Take him at his word
L.K. Advani has given interviews to more than 35 news organisations while clocking over one lakh kilometres by car, chopper and plane for his Lok Sabha election campaign across the country. Even before the polls are over, his aides have brought out a compilation of those interviews in a book format called On the campaign trail, which were conducted during his travel to more than 135 key constituencies. Advani decided to add a personal touch by sending a copy of the compilation to each of the journalists who travelled with him, with his “best wishes”.
A role for Mr Badal
NDA Prime Ministerial candidate Lal Krishna Advani has personally requested Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal to organise a rally in Ludhiana on May 10 that would be attended by all Chief Ministers and leaders of the NDA allies. At a time when Badal is gradually handing over all responsibilities to his son and Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal, his confidantes feel he may even get a new role as “NDA convener”.
The sting in the tale
The war of words between J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has reached a new low. The PDP recently came out with a bizarre allegation. “Omar Abdullah has been programmed in the RSS laboratory for over a decade to rule Kashmir for New Delhi’s Hindutva brigade. His entire public and private life has been fashioned according to the requirements of Sangh parivar ideology,” the party said. The CM’s retort didn’t lack sting. He said the BJP created the PDP on ex-Governor Jagmohan’s advice to dilute the NC’s autonomy proposal. “It was Jagmohan’s way of repaying Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who, as Home Minister, made him J&K governor for unleashing an era of atrocities and brutal force on people, killing large number of innocents,” he said.
Alone in Bhagalpur
No thanks will be due to the BJP if Shahnawaz Hussain, the party’s sole Muslim MP in the 13th and 14th Lok Sabha, wins the Bhagalpur seat in Bihar. Not one top leader from the Saffron brigade campaigned for him even as he faced the Muslims’ wrath for Varun Gandhi’s hate speech and the Hindus’ for insinuations by local BJP minister Ashwini Chaubey, who said a vote for Hussain would mean death penalty for the Bhagalpur riots accused. All this happened while BJP bosses went overboard in their defence of Varun.
Small is clearly beautiful where Rahul Gandhi is concerned. The Amethi MP dotes on his small terrier who follows him around and even came in when he was interacting with journalists at his Tughlaq lane residence. Much to the delight of the scribes, Rahul said that he has named the little one ‘Piddi’ — a chit of a fellow.