NEW DELHI: With the second phase of polling in Bihar and key by-elections in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, a majority of the Congress brass have so far skipped campaigning as there has not been much demand, especially from the party’s Bihar unit.
The party had released a list of 30 star campaigners for the Bihar assembly election and for byelections in 28 seats in MP. The list included Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh, Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra and chief ministers of three Congress-ruled states, Amarinder Singh of Punjab, Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan and Bhupesh Baghel of Chhattisgarh. But none of them has so far gone to Bihar, leaving it to the state leaders. The Congress is also banking on the transfer of votes from its ally, the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
Rahul Gandhi campaigned during the first two phases of the polling in Bihar held on October 28 and November 3 and is scheduled to visit the state again November 3-4 for the last leg of the elections.
“There was a request for Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi to campaign in Bihar. As far as other star campaigners are concerned, the state unit realized that it was better to keep focus on local issues and local leaders. The entire campaign has been managed by Rahul’s close aide RS Surjewala, who has been camping in Patna since October 15,” said a senior party leader.
As for the byelections, only Baghel campaigned in Madhya Pradesh, leaving the field to former chief minister Kamal Nath. According to party sources, the Gandhi family has only twice campaigned in byelections, that too only for the Lok Sabha in 1978 and 2009.
HAM wants Paswan’s death probed
Amid a growing political acrimony between NDA and LJP, the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), led by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, dropped a bombshell on Monday. In a letter to PM Modi, he has demanded a probe into the death of LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan. Later, Chirag told the media that no one should play politics over a dead person now.
495 crorepatis in 2nd phase polling
In one of the poorest states of the country, Bihar’s second round polls on November 3 will feature 495 crorepati candidates, says a report released by the Bihar Election Watch and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). Out of the total 1,463 candidates, 118 have declared their assets worth `5 crore or more.