By announcing the dates of the Himachal Pradesh elections but failing to do so for Gujarat, the EC has ensured that the Model Code of Conduct does not kick in yet in Modi’s state.
An IT department probe, following widespread allegations of bribery, revealed that Rs 89 crore was likely routed for distribution to voters in R.K. Nagar.
Was Dainik Jagran attempting to neutralise the possible momentum UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav or Mayawati may get from the western UP sentiment, which seemed to be clearly going against the BJP?
Opposition parties are likely to see the Jagran report as not just deliberate defiance of the EC but also an attempt to try and influence UP voters in favour of the BJP even as six phases of the election still remain.
The prime minister could use the president’s suggestion that the poor need immediate relief after demonetisation, unveil radical measures in the upcoming budget and leave the Opposition speechless.
Populist announcements during the budget this year could influence the elections which have been scheduled soon after, in five states, including Uttar Pradesh.
Since poll campaigns are turning uglier, more personal and combative the moral obligation entailed in the model code can really bear down heavily on candidates at a time when they are trying show to the voters how upright and competent they are for the job.
Illegal cash of over 60 crore rupees has been confiscated from the five states facing assembly polls.
Whatever the immediate trigger, the turmoil at NMML is likely to strengthen the perception that the NDA government is looking to assert direct control over key cultural and educational bodies with a view to changing their character.