Poll pourri: Leaders stoop to conquer

On the political front, this week was dominated by issues associated with the Lokpal Bill. Daily sermons on morality and integrity continued.
The public accounts committee’s (PAC) report on the 2G spectrum allocation scam was rejected by a majority of the members. The 22-member PAC is headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi.

The PAC arrived at certain conclusions and these will be contested by another faction of the PAC led by the Congress and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
I suppose we will have a similar situation when the joint parliamentary committee on the 2G scam submits its report.
In the meantime, the Central Bureau of Investigation continues filing the second and third chargesheets with additional names and the Supreme Court monitors every action.
The reality of the 2G probe is that the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate or the income-tax department cannot show any bias as the Supreme Court will decide issues.
This will be a relief for the Congress as now both Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and daughter Kanimozhi are involved in `214 crores received by Kalaignar TV.
The situation in Tamil Nadu is very complex and the DMK have very few options. If it loses the elections the AIADMK and J. Jayalalithaa will have a field day.
Succession wars in the DMK are inevitable once the results of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections are out on May 13. DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s problem of finding and naming a successor will surface both in victory or defeat.
While the Election Commission’s officials seized `50 crores in currency notes as they were about to be distributed to voters, the multiple-member alliances of both the DMK and the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) can move in several directions unless there is a decisive victory for the AIADMK.
The DMK and the AIADMK are both capable of political gymnastics considered impossible by many and we will see a real thriller in Tamil Nadu on May 13.
West Bengal will be another battle to watch. In all fairness, the Left is doing everything possible and more to meet the challenge posed by the charismatic Mamata Banerjee.
I think despite all the usual electoral problems Ms Banerjee will win by a landslide and the Left will get 65-80 seats.
Ms Banerjee understands politics and how to keep her party intact. She will grow in the east and will also try her luck in the north.
The patterns of the 2014 general elections are yet to take shape. It is common sense that if the Congress drops to 150 seats and its major ally in Tamil Nadu is demolished then its chances of government formation at the Centre are bleak.
The BJP with its limited agenda will find it difficult to go beyond 120-140 seats.
Clearly it is the others who will hold the cards and the major players will be Mayawati, Ms Banerjee, Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik.
The Yadav brigade has already shrunk and I see a further decline for them both in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The Congress, even with 150 members in Parliament, will remain formidable, but regional leaders who win on their own competence, ability and charisma are not likely to easily accept a higher authority.
While they may share power with each other they will always perceive the Congress as a “predator”. I have not mentioned the Nationalist Congress Party here as Sharad Pawar, daughter Supriya Sule and nephew Ajit Pawar are all embroiled in non-political issues.

The British royal wedding of Prince William with Catherine gave tough competition to the Indian Premier League as two billion people watched it across the globe.
This is good for Britain in more ways than one. People are on a high and for the time being have forgotten their economic woes and attendant issues and are reliving the days of Empire.
All the glory and opulence associated with an era long gone made a magnificent spectacle. The royal wedding also provided a marketing opportunity for business houses and the trade generated may well compensate for the huge expenditure.
In these situations economic sense must give way to national pride and hope for a better future.

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