Latecomer Modi grabs eyeballs at NDA rally (Poll Prattle)May 11th, 2009 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) He was the last to arrive and the first to leave. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi made sure he stood apart at the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) rally in Ludhiana, attended by amongst others the grouping’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani.
Once on the dais at the NDA’s show of strength Sunday, attended by many of its allies, Modi made sure to greet Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. And, in a moment aimed at the cameras, even clasped hands in a show of camaraderie with Nitish Kumar, who had only days ago said he would never share the stage with the BJP leader.
After his speech, Modi sat for a while and then excused himself saying he had to address rallies in western Uttar Pradesh.
The question then doing the rounds was this - is he more important than even Advani or BJP president Rajnath Singh who stayed on while he rushed for another rally?
Media shy Mayawati
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati continues to shun the media as much as she avoids any direct contact with the public. A leading media baron-cum-celebrated journalist moved heaven and earth to get an appointment with Mayawati but to no avail.
While every other political ‘neta’ was more than ready to spend quality time with the renowned journalist, Mayawati not only refused to give an interview but even declined to meet him for a few minutes at the venue of one of her rallies in Uttar Pradesh.
“She feels that if she meets one journalist, others would feel discriminated against,” was the curt reply of a member of her inner coterie.
NDA meet sans local issue
The NDA’s show of strength in Ludhiana did not start off as a national event. The rally, say leaders of Punjab’s ruling Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine, was to be a localised event for the Akali Dal candidate in the industrial hub.
But the idea of putting up a show of strength and checking out the loyalty of NDA allies came to the top BJP leadership in New Delhi last week. Phones started ringing and one thing led to another.
Akali Dal’s Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal agreed to play host. And the rally was upscaled to being a national event which top BJP leaders like L.K. Advani now describe as “historic”.
Will he, won’t he?
Uttar Pradesh’s politically volatile Rampur constituency is abuzz with speculation over whether or not disgruntled Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan will joining the Congress.
Adding grist to the rumour mills are slogans like “Azam Khan ki baat par, mohar lagegi haath par”, a clear pointer to the Congress and its election symbol, the hand.
Azam Khan, whose war with party general secretary Amar Singh and Rampur MP Jayapada is out in the open, has also been seen siding with Congress candidate Noor Bano.
Ironically, Azam Khan started his political career by opposing Noor Bano’s family.
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