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Poll Snippets: BJP seeks divine help

Last updated on: April 05, 2004 21:34 IST
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The much-hyped feel good factor and positive issues like Atal Bihari Vajpayee's leadership and development are apparently not sufficient for the Bharatiya Janata Party in fighting the general election. It is also counting on divine benediction.


Party chief M Venkaiah Naidu will be among the senior leaders attending a yagna and havan being conducted at the Delhi unit's Pandit Pant Marg headquarters on Sunday, April 4.


The leadership wants an auspicious beginning for its election campaign, according to a member of the party's media cell.

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi

  Party mouthpieces

The new-found open door policy of the Congress towards the media, it seems, is being carried to ridiculous lengths.


With chief spokesman S Jaipal Reddy away in Adhra Pradesh to campaign for his re-election, it's virtually a free-for-all among the rest of the spokespersons.


All those who fancy themselves to be heard among the increasing number of scribes come to the party's Akabar Road headquarters daily. You have the party's legal expert Kapil Sibal holding forth on issues as varied as India's nuclear policy and the foreigner issue. To ensure maximum attendance by mediapersons, the interaction on Friday was tagged as a 'special briefing' and Sibal fixed the briefing for 1400 IST, which is two hours before the normal schedule.


Naturally, there were few journalists still keen on listening to what another spokesman Anand Sharma had to say.


On Saturday, Sharma took preventive action. He informed mediapersons that there would be only one briefing, which he would be doing.


Sometimes, the party's financial wizard Jairam Ramesh briefs mediapersons at 1700 IST about the economic aspects pertaining to the Vajpayee government.

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi



Little Wonder
Eight-year-old Sadhana Bharti from Etah district of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday saved mediapersons from the routine briefings at the Congress party office when she made a five-minute election speech.


Accusing the Vajpayee government of being responsible for various scams, she said the BJP is selling off public sector undertakings to the private sector at throwaway prices. She described the Bharatiya Janata Party as the Bhaago Janata Pitegee party.


In contrast, she described Sonia Gandhi as an honest person who has promised to give jobs to the employed and eradicate poverty from this country. "Soniaji ko PM banana hai (We have to make Sonia Gandhi the prime minister," she said.


When one journalist pointed out that she had shared the dais with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti only a few months back and had sung praises in her favour, Bharti said, "Your information is incorrect. I had praised the Lodh Samaj (Lodh community, to which she belongs) and not Uma Bharti."


The little girl would campaign for the party during the Lok Sabha elections but her father Rajesh Rajput denied she is being paid for her services. "All that we ask for is the travel expense," he said.

 Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi


Bad Timing

Delaying the lists of party candidates is standard practice with most parties. But on Saturday, the protracted delay in releasing the list of its candidates for Tamil Nadu cost the Congress dear.


Party spokesman Anand Sharma was rebuked by a particularly incensed reporter of a Tamil daily. He grouse was that reporters waiting at the party office did not get the list even after waiting well past midnight on Friday while most papers published the list courtesy the wire services.


When he got support from the other reporters present, Sharma made peace by promising that this would not happen in future. 

Onkar Singh in New Delhi

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