Why the mood is grim at the Congress 'war room'
The Congress is desperate for good news from Karnataka.
Why the Modi campaign in Karnataka is closely watched?
Why is S M Krishna sulking?
All this and more in this week's Dilli Gupshup.
The Congress is desperately waiting for the May 8 verdict in Karnataka to tide over what looks like a 'never-ending crisis' ranging from Coalgate-CBI-Supreme Court to Sarabjit Singh's death.
At the party's 'War Room' on 15, Gurudwara Rakabgunj Road, the mood is grim and the visits of Rahul Gandhi are becoming less frequent. Senior Congress functionaries wonder why the young party vice president is becoming disillusioned with them.
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Image: Rahul Gandhi speaks to Sonia Gandhi during the Indian National Congress meeting in Jaipur
Will Karnataka perk up the Congress?
The Congress brass is waiting for 'good news' from Karnataka. For Rahul and Team Congress, if the party emerges as the single largest with over 100 seats in the 224-member assembly, the mood and public perception will change.
Expecting the Bharatiya Janata Party to be relegated to third spot, the Congress has prepared a campaign plan to target Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The theme song of the campaign is that Modi outside Gujarat has little or no relevance.
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Ananth Kumar's hometown embarrassment
When Narendra Modi arrived to campaign in Bangalore, senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar faced a piquant situation. Kumar began to speak, but the restless audience shouted "Modi, Modi." Kumar failed to have his way and then he quietly went back to his chair.
The organisers kept asking people to maintain silence but the demand for Modi continued. Sensing awkwardness, Modi himself intervened and appealed to the people to wait, "I have come here to campaign for the BJP and I wish to listen to my leaders first and I will come to you. I will be with you and will not leave till you people give permission," he said amid lusty cheers.
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Image: Senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar with Gujarat CM Narendra Modi
Why is S M Krishna angry?
While the Congress is optimistic about winning Karnataka, there are many teething problems in the party's campaign. Senior Karnataka leader and former Union minister S M Krishna has been sulking, and Rahul Gandhi had to make telephone calls to get Krishna involved in the campaigning. Krishna is reportedly unhappy with many Congress leaders including Veerappa Moily and Ambreesh.
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Image: Former Union Minister S M Krishna
Hawk eyes on Modi's campaign
Both the Congress and the BJP are keeping a hawkish eye on Narendra Modi's campaign in Karnataka. The Congress party has drawn a chart enlisting all constituencies that have Modi's has toured. The idea is to make a big issue about it in case the BJP performs badly in the assembly segments where Modi addressed public meetings.
The BJP is not falling behind either. It has also made a list of places visited by Modi and plans to 'showcase' his achievement if the party does well in the constituencies he visited.
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Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
Moily's petrol woes
Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily has a lot of explaining to do over the drastic reduction of petrol prices when electioneering in Karnataka was at its peak.
Many in the Congress too feel Moily worked hard to ensure that the measure has some impact in Karnataka. But Moily is vehemently denying the allegation that the petrol price cut had anything to do with the polls in his home state. Moily is also ruling out the possibility of becoming the chief minister of Karnataka.
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Image: Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily
Photographs: Courtesy: Veerappa Moily's website