INDIA targets NDA with ‘electoral bonds’, again; Mayawati, AAP keep hopes alive | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

INDIA targets NDA with ‘electoral bonds’, again; Mayawati, AAP keep hopes alive

Apr 16, 2024 09:38 AM IST

The INDIA group might also explain its stand on common issues even as the parties are unlikely to draft a joint common minimum programme

With just three days left for the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 19, the INDIA alliance’s campaign has finally taken a concrete shape. The parties have come out with their manifestos and joint campaigns — crucial to send across the message of the alliance to the voters — are also frequent.

Rahul Gandhi (right) with Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin in Coimbatore. (AFP Photo)
Rahul Gandhi (right) with Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin in Coimbatore. (AFP Photo)

After his public rally with Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin on April 12, Congress leader and the party’s most popular face — Rahul Gandhi — is set to have a joint programme with former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in Ghaziabad. The faces of two parties coming together is part of the key strategies of the INDIA bloc in UP, especially in the face of a three-corner battle against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

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The INDIA group might also explain its stand on common issues even as the parties are unlikely to draft a joint common minimum programme. The joint document is set to focus on issues of common interest such as employment, price rise, saving the constitutional bodies, etc. Two leaders pointed out that a common pledge was initially planned in the group’s second meeting in Bengaluru and third meeting in Mumbai.

Opposition slams PM Modi, electoral bond

The opposition on Monday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “everyone will regret” remark on the electoral bonds issue.

Rahul Gandhi accused PM Modi of “orchestrating the scheme”. “The important thing in electoral bond is names and dates. If you see the names and dates, you will know when they (donors) gave the electoral bonds, right after what contract was given to them or CBI inquiry was withdrawn against them,” the Wayanad MP was quoted by ANI as saying.

While Gandhi accused Prime Minister Modi of orchestrating this purported “extortion scheme”, Delhi minister and AAP leader Gopal Rai called electoral bonds “perhaps the biggest scam ever.” Rai pointed fingers at PM Modi’s administration, alleging that funds were received from dubious sources, including companies running losses, through electoral bonds.

AAP’s governance plans

For the Aam Admi Party, the most successful political start-up in the recent years, managing election campaign as well as running the Delhi government are key tasks. Its best campaigner, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is in judicial custody. In this situation, Kejriwal will meet two of his ministers in Tihar jail every week and monitor the progress of work under various departments, AAP officials said on Monday as they outlined a detailed plan to run the state administration from prison despite a local court extending the CM’s judicial custody till April 23.

Addressing a press conference two hours after Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann met Kejriwal in jail, AAP national general secretary (organisation) Sandeep Pathak said Kejriwal will give ministers “guidelines and directions” during the bi-weekly meetings.

“All the technical aspects will be looked into. We will look into all the legal processes and procedures. The meeting will be held every week and proper review of the departments will be done,” Pathak said.

Meanwhile, Tihar jail officials confirmed that Kejriwal added Delhi ministers Atishi, Kailash Gahlot and Saurabh Bharadwaj to the list of 10 visitors who are allowed to meet him twice a week in prison.

Mayawati revives West UP statehood demand

BSP chief Mayawati revived the issue of making western Uttar Pradesh a separate state in her election rally in Muzaffarnagar on Sunday, and said that her party will take concrete steps in that direction if voted to power to serve at the Centre.

While opposition parties described it an “election gimmick” for stitching Muslim-Jat and Dalit votes together in this Lok Sabha election, this isn’t an off-the-cuff promise by the former UP chief minister, the first Dalit woman to lead the state.

“The movement of Harit Pradesh got diluted after the demise of Ajit Singh,” RLD leader Dr Mairajuddin Ahmed said.

Why is Kanhaiya Kumar a candidate from Delhi and not from Bihar?

The Congress party has fielded Kanhaiya Kumar as its candidate from North East Delhi after it failed to secure a berth for him in Begusarai from INDIA ally Rashtriya Janata Dal.

HT’s Patna bureau chief Vijay Swaroop gives an insight into why Kumar is a candidate from Delhi this time, after losing the 2019 election from Begusarai.

Contrary to expectations, and barely five years after making his electoral debut from Bihar’s Begusarai Lok Sabha seat — referred to as the Leningrad of Bihar for being a traditional Communist stronghold — Kanahiya Kumar, who contested the previous general elections as a CPI candidate, has shifted to the North East Delhi seat as a Congress candidate.

Abdullah challenges Azad for a straight fight

National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah challenged Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls against him instead of “hiding behind a camera” and making statements targeting his party.

Abdullah, a former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, is contesting the election from north Kashmir’s Baramulla parliamentary constituency. He is currently on a four-day tour of the Chenab valley region to garner support for INDIA bloc candidate Choudhary Lal Singh.

Azad, also a former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, was named as the DPAP candidate from the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat. However, he said he’s not sure about his candidature as he was not consulted by the party before the announcement.

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