Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray has apparently taken a dig at Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP Leader Narendra Modi with these remarks.

 “Modi and Mayawati will have no impact in Maharashtra,”

The Sena Chief also played the Maratha card by calling NCP President Sharad Pawar as Prime Minister material while also demanding

“Reserve 50% of the houses for Marathi manush (common man). Otherwise, we will launch an agitation and not allow even a brick to be laid,”

Offstumped Reaction: The Shiv Sena Chief as he embraces his 82nd birthday is clearly losing it. One can see why the Sena Chief is rattled by Modi’s rally last weekend in Mumbai for after all the Sena has always thrived on fear mongering. Unlike Modi who when he talks of Gujarati asmitva has a positive message on enterpreneurship  the Sena’s Maratha pride has almost always been about the fear of the immigrant. If the people of Maharashtra are smart as claimed by Thackeray it is just puzzling why they need the patronage of the state to secure 50% of apartments in Mumbai. The Sena’s brand of Communal Socialism that thrives on fear mongering is well past its sell by date. This a futile attempt at a last roar by the aging Tiger but ended being just a whimper.

Congress General Secretary and the “neither here not so apparent” Heir Apparent, Rahul Gandhi decided to jump-start his political prospects after a virtual non-starter of an election campaign first in Uttar Pradesh and then in Gujarat. With Veerappa Moily throwing a junket for friendly media types, the “not so young anymore” Gandhi got some media facetime and some much needed spin. The only problem for Rahul though is that none of it sticks. In what was a rather pathetic attempt at taking a potshot at LK Advani, Rahul’s cronies in the media have sought to raise his stature. The move comes across as rather disrespectful and utterly lacking in grace in what looks like a planted question. Rahul will have to do far better than that to be taken seriously. There was also talk from Rahul on his belief in Democracy within the Party. Like his earlier remarks on merit and accountability, Rahul Gandhi seems to be bent on scoring self goals. If he is serious about democracy within the Congress Party and wants us the public to take it with any credibility he should subject himself to a real and serious contest rather than bask in the glory of a coronation.

Offstumped Reaction: The problem with these stage managed media encounters of Rahul organized by his handlers is that we have had one too many and every time something new is promised as coming down the road and then nothing happens. First it was about talking points, then it was about booklets, and then it was about merit and accountability and now inner party democracy. Walk the Talk Rahul if you want to be taken seriously.

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