From Maharashtra to Bihar, the political shenanigans get more intriguing. With Nitish Kumar dumping the BJP and taking oath as Chief Minister for the record eighth time and going back to his old ally RJD and having Tejasvi Yadav back as his Deputy CM may have the BJP worried. Can it treat its partners shabbily, as its been accused of. The JD(U) is the latest to leave the NDA, as it claims it was worried about the ‘Ekanth Shinde model’ being replayed. So was it paying back the BJP in its own coin? Or was Nitish ensuring he and his party remain relevant? Besides, does he give a hope for the elusive national Mahagathbandhan? “I am not an aspirant for the PM’s post. The question is will the person who came in 2014 win in 2024,”hit back Nitish to the enemy camp now. He claimed he didn’t want to be CM after the 2020 polls, but was “put under pressure. You see what happened…How many seats did we win in 2015! And look at what we have been reduced to. Ask people in the party what they have been reduced to.” But his erstwhile deputy Sushil Modi says that wasn’t the reason, as Nitish sent feelers for being made Vice President, but the BJP didn’t bite. The public mandate has been betrayed, adds the BJP and the voters won’t forgive him.
Indeed, Nitish will need to strategise as he has always been doing, rather good at it. But whether his plans from Patna to Delhi, if any will materialise is a question which will hang toll 2024. Nitish has been known as an opportunist politician and RJD chief Lalu Yadav had called him ‘Paltu Ram’ (turncoat)— “Everybody knows that in your (Nitish’s) political career you took help of so many people and deserted many,” he said when he broke the alliance with his party. The dependability factor goes against him. But with the Opposition divided miserably so far and unable to come together against Modi’s BJP, Nitish’s action may provide an impetus to regional parties to start thinking in the long term. However, a lot depends on how the State Mahagathbandhan works out. Will Nitish and Tejaswi team hold good this time? Or will Nitish penchant for the kursisee another derail. Prime Ministerial ambitions are too far a cry.
Heat On TMC
The heat is on for TMC as its hit by another corruption scandal. On Thursday last, the CBI arrested party supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s trusted aide Anubrata Mondal in a cattle smuggling case at the Indo-Bangladesh border. It was registered in 2018 after reported collusion of BSF officials, excise personnel and politicians involved in smuggling cattle from Bangladesh. Mondal belongs to a family of farmersin Birbhum and issaid to be ‘de facto decision maker’in the district.He had been summoned 10 times earlier, but appeared before the CBI only once. He again skipped his scheduled appearance on two days citing ‘ill-health’, but was arrested for ‘non-cooperation’ after being found to be ‘directly involved’ in the scam. Affectionately called Kesto Da, he is known for making fiery speeches and even threatening the police if they didn’t follow his instructions.In contrast to the ParthaChaterjeeschool recruitment scandal, the TMC has opted to hit the streets against ‘vendetta politics.’ While the Opposition BJP accuses it of being ‘neck-deep in corruption’, the TMC hits back saying “We have serious doubts about central agencies functioning. We have seen they are silent when it comes to taking action against BJP leaders against whom there are allegations of corruption.”Be that as it may, two wrongs don’t make a right!
Cracks In NIA Case
It’s both good and bad news in the Bhima Koregaon case. The Supreme Court granting bail toone of the accused, Telegu poet P Varavara Raowould bring a relief to rights activists. But a serious concern should be the fissures in the system aren’t corrected. On Wednesday last, though the NIA raised objections saying he’s involved in “serious anti-national activities”, the court granted bail on medical grounds, noting the 82-year-old has spent over twoyears in custody. It further noted that though the charge sheet has been filed, some of the accused have not been apprehended yet and the matter “has not been taken up for framing of charges against them.” Rao was arrested on 28 August 2018 from his Hyderabad home, following an FIR lodged under sections of IPC and UAPA. He, among others are alleged to have ‘Maoist’ linkswith NIA taking over the probe in February 2020. A question by Rao’s counsel rightly begs an answer. Stating charges haven’teven been framed “how long should he be kept in jail, and whether prosecution wanted Rao to die like Stan Swamy, who passed away even before the trial could start.”The case sadly reiterates: Justice delayed, is justice denied.
There’s more trouble brewing for the MVA alliance in Maharashtra. Congress and NCP partners are peeved over Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s unilateral decision to appoint to his man, AmbadasDanve, as leader of Opposition of Legislative Council. Prompting one, a NCP delegation meeting Thackeray and advising him to consult allies before taking any such major decision and two, the Congress state President Patoleopenly opposing it saying the party was not taken into confidence. The latter argued that as the LoP post in Assembly is with NCP and deputy chairperson’s post is with Sena, the LoP post in Council ‘should be given to Congress.’What follows is a threat: The alliance with Sena was never ‘natural and was done because Thackeray and Sharad Pawar met our leader Sonia Gandhi’…the MVA is a ‘not permanent one. If Congress is not taken into confidence during decision-making process, then we will also have to think over it.’The Sena says it has got the numbers as its biggest Opposition party in the Council and that Thackeray did not dump the MVA as BJP wanted. However, with three of its MLCs said to have shifted loyalty to the Shinde camp, the Thackeray camp may not be successful, rather may end up burning all its bridges?
An Emotional Farewell
A fond and emotional farewell has its fortunate moments too. The Rajya Sabha ended its monsoon session with the expected element of dignity and prestige on Monday last. Bidding goodbye to Vice President and ex-officio Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, membersdid ‘cooperate’ and allowed him to ‘operate’, as he desired taking took over 5 years ago. Setting the tone, Prime Minister Modi referred to his famous ‘one-liners’saying these ‘are wit-liners and win-liners as well…Your each word is heard, preferred, revered and never countered.” Stretching it like many others? The session was stormy like many others and Opposition alleged there’s a 170%rise in suspension of MPs under NDA government, as compared to UPA. There was a common thread to praises showered: allowing members to speak in all 22 languages; encouraged young and new members and being a gracious host. And there were couched swipes too, such as Derek O’Brien saying: he would have tried hard to get the PM to perhaps answer one question in his full tenure “but that did not happen’, or maybe he would answer in his autobiography someday about the House passing the Farm Bills or his “passionate speech’ on fuel prices while the BJP was in opposition. A member made up by addressing him as ‘the President the nation has missed.’ His successor, Jagdeep Dhankarexpectedly will take a cue but with time the challenges from State representatives could grow. Time will tell. — INFA