Sharad Pawar’s withdrawal from the electoral fray suggests a shift of power in the Pawar clan. The Nationalist Congress Party chief announced on March 11 that he would not contest from Madha, to make way for nephew Ajit’s son Parth to contest from Maval. This was a change from his earlier insistence that only two members of the family-he and daughter Supriya-would contest elections. The senior Pawar’s exit is being seen as a capitulation before the tainted Ajit and the Maratha strongman’s loosening grip over the NCP. Ajit has been trying to set up son Parth as an alternative NCP contact person in Delhi to Supriya. Looks like Ajit, not Supriya, will now be calling the shots in the party.
With Kerala BJP flexing its muscles after the Sabarimala agitation, the district Congress wants a ‘son of the soil’ or a local Nair for the Lok Sabha seat from Pathanamthitta, the nerve centre of the agitation and a party stronghold. This is not good news for sitting MP, Anto Antony. Anto, a trusted aide of ex-CM Oommen Chandy, won the seat in 2009 and 2014. But his fortunes seem to be on the downslide now.
Punjab: By the People, For the People
Incumbent Patiala MP Dr Dharamvir Gandhi, who runs mainly charitable medical practice, has decided to crowdfund his poll campaign. The MP, who defeated former Union minister Preneet Kaur of the Congress in 2014 on an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket, says he does not have the means to fund his campaign. So, like several other aspirants, including the AAP’s Atishi Marlena in Delhi, he is banking on the services of Our Democracy, an online platfor
that is helping candidates raise funds.
Kanhaiya Kumar for the Big League
Former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar is all set to contest the general election as a Communist Party of India candidate from Begusarai. He also has the backing of the RJD-led opposition. The CPI’s state unit has already recommended his name for a ticket. However, Kanhaiya may have reason to worry: the CPI has demanded four seats and, as a senior RJD leader says, “giving four seats to the CPI does not seem possible” in an alliance that already has the Congress, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, the Hindustan Awam Morcha and the Vikassheel Insaan Party.