In the Uttar Pradesh bypolls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled off two remarkable victories, albeit with some outside help. Azamgarh was the parliamentary seat of Akhilesh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party (SP) chief, who had given it up to contest the Assembly election. It was his party’s stronghold but BJP managed to win with tacit assistance from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati. She put up a local Muslim candidate who split the SP vote right down the middle. Another seat that BJP won was Rampur, which was the constituency of SP leader Azam Khan who did not contest this time. BJP’s victory margin in Rampur was wide because BSP did not put up a candidate.
In the political drama of Maharashtra, an unlikely friendship seems to have bloomed between Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena head Raj Thackeray. When Shinde was holed away in Guwahati with his faction, he called Thackeray several times and had long discussions. Shinde thought this could lead to swinging the opinion of other Shiv Sena leaders and party workers towards him.
The Tribal Vote
Draupadi Murmu as presidential candidate may be an astute move by BJP. But even though it is a great moment for Jharkhand and its tribal community, whether it will make a dent in Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren’s votes is still an open question.
In the recent bypolls, the results had swung JMM’s way. Since 2019, BJP has lost four seats in Jharkhand despite a number of ministers from the state being included in the Union Cabinet.
Bangladesh will hold its general election next year and it could see some political roiling that will be of interest to India. Last time, the main opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by Khaleda Zia, had boycotted the election but it might contest this time. Another rumour is that Nobel laureate and founder of Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus, could also join the fray and get support from BNP. India will keenly watch the developments.
Yashwant Sinha may have resigned from Trinamool Congress on June 21 to become the presidential candidate for the opposition, but his former boss Mamata Banerjee might still have a soft corner for BJP presidential nominee Draupadi Murmu. In fact, a proposal is doing the rounds that Trinamool will not be issuing a whip on this vote. Mamata has a personal equation with Murmu and Trinamool had once in the past even proposed her name for president to Narendra Modi. In any case, it was not Mamata but Congress that first announced Sinha’s name.