The Madhya Pradesh unit of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has run out of luck, especially after losing the Assembly elections last year. Sources say the unit is facing a severe shortage of funds and hence has been forced to stop the publication of its mouthpiece Aajivan Sahyog Nidhi (lifetime contribution fund). The campaign to arrange for this fund will run from February 11 to 28 and is expected to generate approximately Rs 14 crore.
Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari (pictured) was the flavour of the day in New Delhi on Thursday. In the Lok Sabha, it was the day for members to ask questions on Gadkari's ministry. Nearly every member, including those of his own party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); the ally Shiv Sena; and Opposition party members praised Gadkari for listening to their demands, and taking action on them. “I must say here that all MPs, cutting across political affiliations, have been appreciating me for the work being done by my ministry in their respective constituencies,” said Gadkari, with a big smile. Madhya Pradesh BJP MP Ganesh Singh stood up and told Speaker Sumitra Mahajan that the House should appreciate the "wonderful" work being carried out by the minister. At this, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi smiled and started thumping the desk as a sign of appreciation, which made other Congress members laud the minister. Later in the day, Apna Dal Member Kunwar Harivansh Singh said Gadkari had done such tremendous work that he was now called “Roadkari”.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi met Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader and former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. Party sources said the Congress had sealed its alliance with the JMM in the state, and other regional parties. The parties, however, are yet to announce the number of seats each would contest among the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand. Sources said the Congress could contest seven seats, while the JMM might contest four, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha two and Rashtriya Janata Dal one seat. The JMM had refused to support the Congress in a recent Assembly by-poll held in that state, and it was former Union minister RPN Singh, in charge of Congress affairs for the state, who worked to convince Soren to agree to the formula to make the alliance work, and ensure other allies also kept faith. In 2014, the BJP had won 12 of the 14 seats in the state.