first_imgThe prime minister and the leader of Opposition are in battle gear, political parties are desperately seeking partners – Elections 2004 is heading for a stormy showdown.T.S. KRISHNAMURTHY Commissioned for Elections When Taruvai Subbayya Krishnamurthy takes over as the 13th chief election commissioner on February 7 succeeding J.M.Lyngdoh,he will be,The prime minister and the leader of Opposition are in battle gear, political parties are desperately seeking partners – Elections 2004 is heading for a stormy showdown.T.S. KRISHNAMURTHYCommissioned for ElectionsWhen Taruvai Subbayya Krishnamurthy takes over as the 13th chief election commissioner on February 7 succeeding J.M.Lyngdoh,he will be the fifth non -IAS/ICS officer to head the commission. The following day, Union Home Secretary N. Gopala swami will join as election commissioner completing the panel along with B.B. Tandon. Krishnamurthy’s forerunners in the non -IAS/ICS category include S.P. Sen Verma (1967-72), S.L. Shakdher (1977-82), R.V. Peri Shastri (1986-90) and V.S. Rama Devi (for a fortnight in November-December 1990).Appointed to the EC in January 2000, Krishnamurthy will be in office till May 2005. An IRS officer, he does not have any political leanings, though he has impressed his political bosses, including former finance minister P. Chidambaram with whom he served as additional secretary.Though CECs from the IAS have drawn attention for their work, the contribution of non -IAS CECs has not been any less; Peri Shastri helped draft rules and expand the commission. Krishnamurthy is set to maintain the tradition.- Lakshmi IyerDIGVIJAY SINGH46-Day SanyasIn the end, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh’s promised 10-year sanyas lasted less than 10 weeks, proving him more wily than his guru Arjun Singh.Now the guru and shishya, both sporting the loser tag, will work in the CWC to remove all obstacles in their paths. Perhaps together. That should worry the charmed circle around Sonia Gandhi.advertisementBJP CHIEF MINISTERS MEETBrain trust: A.B. Vajpayee, L.K. Advani with BJP chief ministersState PowerIt has been a while since the BJP dared to publicise a meeting of its chief ministers. For, till recently, the party’s chief ministers had been a dwindling tribe. But January 21 was different.As Narendra Modi (Gujarat), Uma Bharati(Madhya Pradesh),Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan), Manohar Parrikar, (Goa), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Gegong Apang (Arunachal Pradesh) and Arjun Munda (Jharkhand) trooped in, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may have savoured a moment of personal satisfaction. But soon enough he was drawn back into the hustle of pre-poll preparations.While number-crunching was a mandatory exercise, the focus, expectedly and unanimously, was on development in the states ahead of the polls. So the party, that recently parted ways with Mayawati, formed a new alliance with BSP-bijli, sadak and paani. Not surprisingly, at the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, party President M. Venkaiah Naidu and National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra, it was Finance Minister Jaswant Singh who returned with a bagful of wish lists.- Rajeev DeshpandeSOUTHERN DYNASTYSon riseAs parties in the south gear up for the electoral battle, four heirs of worthy political leaders are set to test political waters: DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s son M.K. Stalin, the late Union minister Murasoli Maran’s son Dayanidhi, the late TMC chief G.K. Moopanar’s son G.K. Vaasan (Congress), and PMK leader S. Ramdoss’ son R. Anbumani. Stalin, however, is a cut above the rest, having risen to power the hard way. Jailed during the Emergency, he has won and lost polls and is not a newcomer.M.K. STALIN: Former Chennai mayor. Rose to power the hard way. In the thick of state politics both in and out of power.D. MARAN: Son of the late Murasoli Maran. CEO of Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), the leading cable service operator in Chennai.G.K. VAASAN: Son of the late G.K. Moopanar. Heads the Tamil Nadu Congress. Lacks mass appeal, swears loyalty to Sonia Gandhi.R. ANBUMANI: Son of PMK’s S. Ramdoss. Holds no post in party, but is a key behindthe-scenes operative with a say in ticket distribution. Besides, the success of the recent DMK-Congress meetings in Delhi, where he led the outfit, indicates he is ready to step on to the national stage.On the other hand, sceptics wonder how Dayanidhi, the 37-year-old introverted businessman, will fit in the rough and tumble of politics. As for Vaasan, he emerged following the succession squabble in the TMC after Moopanar’s demise. Later, the Congress-TMC merger in 2002 catapulted him to AICC general secretary.Not many may have heard of Anbumani, but the 35-year-old MBBS graduate enjoys huge clout within the backward Vanniyar community, which forms the core strength of the PMK.Though he is lying low for the present, Anbumani may not wait too long before taking the plunge.- Arun RamKALYAN SINGHComing homeWhen BJP General Secretary Pramod Mahajan called on Rashtriya Kranti Dal leader Kalyan Singh, the meeting sparked speculation on the prodigal’s return.advertisementThe fact that neither Mahajan nor Kalyan revealed what had transpired suggests the Lodh leader’s return to the BJP may be sooner than later.POLL STATS84 Number of seats lost by the BJP by less than 10 per cent of the votes polled in 1999.201 Number of seats that the Congress was in second place out of the 298 seats won by the NDA in 1999.10.25 lakh Number of EVMs or electronic votilast_img

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