How top politicians unwind during poll season
As the election season peaks, so does the frenzied activity around it. So what do top politicians do to unwind? On Saturday evening, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi — who is contesting from Rae Bareli but is otherwise largely staying away from campaigning — was spotted admiring Pichwai paintings at an exhibition in Delhi’s Bikaner House. On Tuesday, Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) head, Naveen Patnaik, was seen enjoying a Japanese meal at the Wasabi restaurant in the Taj Mahal hotel on Mansingh Road. Odisha, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is looking to challenge the BJD’s hegemony, finished polling Monday and this was perhaps Patnaik’s way of de-stressing after a rather hectic few months.
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Spanish in Begusarai
The Begusarai election turned into a Mecca of Left-progressive forces in the last few weeks due to the presence of the CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar, the former JNU student union president. The Bihar constituency saw several JNU students and activists swoop in to campaign for Kumar. The only problem — a few of their slogans were imported from around the world. So there were Spanish slogans being bandied about, leaving most of Begusarai dazed. That is not all — the election also helped some smart students make an extra buck by taking foreign journalists from Delhi to cover Kumar’s campaign.
On a power trip
Untimely power cuts have the Congress suffering negative headlines in Madhya Pradesh. The ruling party, however, has been blaming the BJP, seeing a conspiracy behind the sudden power cuts. At the heart of the embarrassment are two back-to-back incidents involving Congress Chief Minister Kamal Nath and the party’s Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate Digvijaya Singh.
On 29 April, when Nath, his wife, son and daughter-in-law were queuing up to vote at the Saunsar Assembly segment in Chhindwara district, the polling booth experienced power failure. Nath was seen voting under the beaming flashlights of cameras eager to capture the chief minister and his family voting. The next day’s Nai Duniya edition led with the dramatic headline. “CM matdan karney pahuchey aur chaa gaya andhera, phir huwa ye (This is what happened when the CM went to cast his vote and darkness gripped).
Before that, Digvijaya Singh lost his cool, when power tripped during a public meeting he was holding at Deepadi village in Bhopal. Singh called up power company officials and was furious when told that they would get back to him with the problem.
While he was speaking to the officials, the power came back on. Singh resumed his speech, alleging that the BJP-appointed power company was deliberately affecting electricity supply to malign the image of state government. That, however, hasn’t stopped a refrain from becoming popular among Bhopal’s voters — Congress ayee bijjli gayee.
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(Contributors: D.K. Singh, Ruhi Tewari, Dipak Mishra, Anup Dutta)