This Article is From Mar 05, 2014

Within hours of elections being called, political rattling and rolling

Within hours of elections being called, political rattling and rolling

Arvind Kejriwal in Gujarat

New Delhi: Within hours of dates being announced for what is billed as the world's biggest election, politicking touched a new decibel all over the country. There was sabre-rattling, and there were street protests. There was deal-making, and other deals threatened to come apart. Serious muscle was flexed. And the day is not yet over.

Arvind Kejriwal
landed in Narendra Modi's homestead Gujarat around the time the Election Commission was meticulously explaining the nine phases of polling for the 543 seats of the Lok Sabha starting April 7.

Within hours of beginning what he called an audit of Mr Modi's governance, Mr Kejriwal was stopped at a police station. Officials invoked the code of conduct that came into force today with the announcement of poll dates. Mr Kejriwal alleged he was being harassed at the Gujarat chief minister's behest. (Read)

His allegation resonated in Delhi, where workers of his Aam Aadmi Party clashed with of Mr Modi's BJP. The clashes soon spread to Lucknow.  

Thousands of miles away, an alliance all but came apart in Tamil Nadu, where chief minister J Jayalalithaa decided that she will not share the six seats her partners, the Left parties, want to contest. The decision threatens not just her alliance with the Left, but could well unravel an 11-party third front knit together just 10 days ago, to counter the Congress and the BJP.     (Read)

In Bihar, which has seen immense political churn in recent days, Lalu Prasad announced that he had clinched a seat-sharing pact with the Congress. The Congress has seen political sagacity in allowing Lalu's RJD to contest 27 of Bihar's 40 seats; it will contest 12 seats in a state where it managed to win only two in the last elections.

In the evening came news that the Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth 863 crores of YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy in a money-laundering case. Mr Reddy has repeatedly accused the Congress of "misusing" government machinery against him.

Mr Reddy, who is seen as the strongest political player in the region that will be the residuary state when  Andhra Pradesh is split to create a Telangana state, has now announced that he will tour Telangana from tomorrow in a bid to share that political pie too.

In the middle of the day, the Congress' Rahul Gandhi attempted to change the tone of an election so far marked by aggressive name calling and harsh language. He promised to rout the BJP "with love." (Read)