Rai goes silent, it's Kejriwal vs Modi now - Times of India
VARANASI: A week is a long time in politics, the prescient British Labour Party leader Harold Wilson is credited to have remarked. In the evolving politics of Varanasi, a week is proving to be gamechanging . Last week, it looked like a three-cornered contest between Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal and Congress's Ajay Rai. But today , it is a straight fight between Modi and 'giant killer' Kejriwal.
The AAP leader, with none of the manly attributes that Modi claims to possess, has been working tirelessly in the constituency for the last three weeks with his band of passionate workers. On Tuesday, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind extended its support to Kejriwal, reinforcing the impression that Muslims were rallying behind him. And with that, as they say in sports, it's "game on".
Congress candidate Ajay Rai seems to have suddenly fallen out of the reckoning. This can mean a lot. All calculations of caste and community — the traditional tools of judging Indian election — are going awry. Consolidation of the Muslim vote, revenge of the marginal classes, along with a hint of Modi fatigue in sections of the middle class, could be scripting an exciting story in Varanasi.
Meanwhile, the city is AAPed. Professionals, students , housewives, civil society activists from all over the country are knocking at the doors of dharamshalas, motels and houses of long-lost relatives for a week of stay. Abetter part of the time of these volunteers, many of whom were cynical about politics till Kejriwal's Delhi experiment , is spent on roads, gullies and in villages distributing pamphlets, caps and convincing people that Banaras should not "sully" itself with Modi's idea of India.
Volunteers are on their own. Within the city, there are some silent workers who have taken the responsibility of organizing food and lodging for people coming from all parts of the country. Their number is swelling with each train that halts at Varanasi. It is a proverbial 'shiv ki barat' that Kejriwal often calls his Aam Aadmi Party.
In the morning, volunteers descend at AAP offices across Varanasi where they are told to go to specific areas with campaign material. Theatre groups like Asmita of Arvind Gaur are at each nook and corner, spreading the message of AAP. Kejriwal himself is seen everywhere — every mohalla , town and surrounding villages . This has endeared him to people, who came close to Modi only on the day of his filing nomination.
BJP, RSS and workers of other saffron front organizations , who claimed to be ahead in the race and even saw Modi's candidature as a divine providence for the sacred city, are now spewing profanities on the AAP style of campaign, its volunteers, especially women, and the "dark side" of their "liberty" .
It is pure anger and totally unrelated to the elections. Varanasi has never had a confrontation quite like this. more
Rai and Ansari are real politicians......... less of common sense.
AK has mentioned that he has not asked for favours from crooked politicians.
16may should give us an idea of common people and common sense. more