The all-party meeting last week promised an all-party delegation to J&K. It did not deliver a consensus on the long-running crisis. It wasnt really expected to.
But political things were stirred up a bit in the run-up to the all-party meet, when the Cabinet Committee on Security noted the trust deficit and governance deficit in the state and Sonia Gandhi was seen to reach out to the National Conferences rival, the Peoples Democratic Party. There was an immediate buzz that the Omar government was on its way out. But the speculation in Delhi was soon punctured by a statement by Rahul in faraway Kolkata.
Kashmir is a complicated issue, but Omar is young, said Rahul, sending out the message that the Congress would give Abdullah Junior more time to clear up the mess he presides over in his troubled state.
Drama in Bihar
The Nitish-and-BJP show was playing again last week. On a visit to the capital, Nitish was asked the routine Modi question to which he gave a now-familiar answer. The BJP is free to choose its campaigners, he said, but his own stand is clear. He would want the old arrangementread no-Modi-in-Bihar electioneeringto continue.
This routine popping up of Modis name and its prompt shooting down by Nitish with both parties sheathing their swords well in time before any real injury is causedis a game they will continue to play in the Bihar poll run-up, but its entertainment value is fast dwindling.
The arrest last week of a Pune-based engineer allegedly for procuring and delivering the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) whose theft had earlier led to the arrest of Hyderabad-based researcher Hari Prasad, has only made a strange matter curioser. Prasad had worked with two foreign researchers to demonstrate the alleged tamperability of the EVM on a TV show on an Andhra channel earlier this year.
Away from the question of how the EVM was procured by Prasad, is another one. What sustains the anti-EVM campaign Is it a passion for electoral reform, or only a case of misguided zeal The Election Commission is convinced that the Indian EVM is tamper-proof, and that its integrity is underscored by an array of administrative procedures deployed in its handling. The chief election commissioner has said that he will soon call an all-party meet on the issue.
More for Modi
Ahead of a round of municipal elections in Gujarat, Narendra Modis BJP received a morale booster in the by-poll victory at Kathlal last week. The BJP has been able to wrest this Congress bastion in central Gujarat for the very first time. Modi will also try and package this victory as public repudiation of what he has assiduously projected as the Congress-CBI conspiracy against his government ever since the arrest of his deputy Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin case.