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National - Elections 2004 Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Poll-Pourri

Dinner politics

The CPI (M), leader of West Bengal's ruling Left Front, appears to be pulling out all stops to regain Dum Dum, currently with the BJP. Realising that the BJP had secured, in 1999, a substantial number of votes from the non-Bengali population in Salt Lake, a part of Dum Dum parliamentary constituency, the CPI (M) bosses there have decided to win over those voters.

Bharat Jain, owner of the Nalban boating complex, a popular party spot, is said to have organised a dinner meet on April 3 where the former Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu, and Ministers Subhash Chakraborty and Asim Dasgupta, are expected to participate. Also expected are a number of businessmen and industrialists, mostly non-Bengalis who are believed to have voted for the BJP in the last two elections. The communists are clearly taking no chances.

Tradition-bound

The Shiv Sena-BJP combine in Maharashtra has always stuck to tradition. Every poll campaign is launched with the Sena chief, Bal Thackeray, breaking a coconut at a mammoth public meeting on the famous Chowpatty beach. This year, permission was denied for holding the meeting on the beach and the venue had to be shifted to Azad Maidan.

But first, Mr. Thackeray and the BJP general secretary, Pramod Mahajan, went to Chowpatty, paid respects to the statue of Lokmanya Tilak and broke a coconut. At Azad Maidan, 3 km away, a string of crackers went off to mark the occasion.

Advantage LDF

If the "early bird gets the worm" theory holds good in politics, the LDF candidates should have the advantage in the coming elections in Kerala. As the party announced its list of candidates for all the 20 constituencies in the State well in advance, all of them have been able to complete one round of campaigning.

Only three candidates of the UDF, two of the Muslim League and one of the Kerala Congress (M), and a few BJP candidates have that advantage.

In leaps

The BJP never misses a chance to gloat over its achievement of growing in strength from a mere two seats in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections. The number touched double digits in a few years and the party went on to become a part of the establishment. Of the two seats the BJP won in 1984, one was from the Hanmakonda Lok Sabha constituency in Andhra Pradesh's Warangal district when its candidate, C. Janga Reddy, managed to stop P.V. Narasimha Rao from scoring a hat-trick of victories. Mr. Reddy's majority was 54,198 votes. Mr. Rao, who triumphed in the 1977 and 1980 elections, from Hanamkonda, was then a member of the Union Cabinet.

— Malabika Bhattacharya, Arunkumar Bhatt, K.M. Thampi, V.N. Harinath

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