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Keeping tab on the political grapevine

For the record, the leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi have been absent from the election campaign in Punjab and Uttarakhand due to illness and the sadhbhavana mission respectively.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON FEB 06, 2012 11:38 PM IST

The BJP's hands-off strategy
For the record, the leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi have been absent from the election campaign in Punjab and Uttarakhand due to illness and the sadhbhavana mission respectively. It is now evident that Modi will not be campaigning for the BJP in UP due to his strident opposition to Sanjay Joshi being taken back into the party and then made UP poll in-charge by president Nitin Gadkari. While one hopes that Swaraj recovers from her illness soon, the Sangh parivar has taken note of the absentees including the fact that former president Rajnath Singh refused to step out of his house and campaign until his son Pankaj was made state general secretary. Nagpur has instructed Gadkari that the party should continue campaigning and the absentees should be answered by the BJP getting more seats in the elections. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder here.

Off the campaign trail
Why is Varun Gandhi not out campaigning all over poll-bound Uttar Pradesh unlike his cousin, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi? The BJP MP from Pilibhit seems to be cut up with BJP chief Nitin Gadkari for rejecting his suggestion to project him as the chief ministerial candidate. Gadkari, who was taken aback by the suggestion, told him that no one was being projected as CM this time. Maneka Gandhi, who is also the BJP's MP from Aonla, also decided that she won't campaign because Gadkari chose to bring in Uma Bharti, instead of projecting Varun. The mother and son duo thought that the RSS would back their claim. But the Sangh won't interfere when Gadkari is in charge. Adding to his woes, the rallies and public meetings addressed by Varun in his own constituency have not been a huge draw. Not the son-rise that was expected.

A woman of honour
Army chief General VK Singh's daughter is leaving no stone unturned to fight for her father's 'honour and integrity.' Even as the army chief battles out the age controversy in the Supreme Court, his daughter is said to be in touch with key interlocutors in the corridors of power to find a middle path to end the controversy. A Union minister, who also happens to be a legal brain of the UPA government, has reportedly opened back channel talks with Gen Singh's daughter to resolve the matter. Given the sensitivity of the army chief's post, the daughter is keeping a low profile while batting for her father. All in the name of the father.

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