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Assam: CM versus PM

Published : Jan 25, 2016, 5:27 am IST
Updated : Jan 25, 2016, 5:27 am IST

Dynasty rules

KHURANA1.jpg
 KHURANA1.jpg

Dynasty rules

The Bharatiya Janata Party prides itself on being anti-dynasty. In fact, it often attacks various parties, including the Congress, for promotion of family-run fiefdoms. However, over the past few years, things seemed to have changed completely for the saffron outfit.

Politically-ambitious sons of two former chief ministers of Delhi — Madan Lal Khurana and Sahib Singh Verma — have tried to flaunt their pedigree in front of their party.

The sons of these two illustrious leaders have been using their names and middle names: Harish Madan Lal Khurana and Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma. The party, which once frowned upon such display of family connections, is now seemingly okay with the effort being made by these ambitious sons in claiming the political legacy of their fathers.

Battle of two generals Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi may have failed to rope in Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s election strategist Prashant Kishor, but he seems to have decided to follow in his footsteps to counter the Modi effect in the Assam Assembly elections.

This was more visible when Mr Gogoi said that the 2016 Assembly polls will be a battle between two “generals” — himself and Mr Modi. “Mr Modi is the face of the BJP so he is the BJP’s general. I have also become the general of my party. Both generals will fight each other,” he said while adding a twist, “He is not going to be chief minister. He will only campaign. Indirectly, it shows that the Assam BJP leaders are incapable of facing me.”

It was quite visible that Mr Gogoi’s stand is inspired by that of Mr Kumar in the run-up to the Bihar polls when he projected the election as a fight between the “native” and the “outsider” and successfully trumped the high-decibel BJP campaign.

From green to blue Going from green to blue. This is the story of Amit Jani, a young Samajwadi Party leader, who shot to infamy in July 2012 when he vandalised Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati’s statue in Lucknow and brazenly took responsibility for the act.

His Facebook page was full of his photographs with top Samajwadi leaders though the Samajwadi Party tried to distance itself from his actions.

Mr Jani, who also claimed to head the Uttar Pradesh Navnirman Sena, was back in the news recently when he dared the Owaisi brothers to enter Uttar Pradesh.

However, he sent shockwaves last week when he was seen celebrating the 60th birthday of Ms Mayawati in Muzaffarnagar with a cake and songs and dance.

“Actually Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh Yadav had asked me to vandalise the statue but later they conveniently changed from their statements. I cannot remain with such leaders,” he told reporters and went on to celebrate Behenji’s birthday like a true politician who changes colours at will.

A masterstroke The media considers him the tallest politician in present-day politics in Orissa. However, despite his high-political net worth, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bijoy Mohapatra has not received the respect he deserves.

The ruling Biju Janata Dal, which Mr Mohapatra had founded, expelled him in 2004. The Nationalist Congress Party, which he brought to Orissa in 2004, “betrayed” him in 2009 when Orissa chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik cultivated good relations with Sharad Pawar.

Mr Mohapatra joined the BJP with the hope that the saffron party would give him due recognition. He assiduously strengthened the party through persistent political activities. His followers expected the party would reward him with the state chief post.

However, the BJP chose to nominate Basanta Panda, said to be a “confidant” of Union petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan, as the new party president. A couple of days after his coronation, Mr Panda held his first press conference and announced a poster campaign on ration card irregularities in Orissa. The issue did not find much favour with the media and hence got less than the expected publicity.

A day after Mr Panda’s press meet, Mr Mohapatra called the press people and raised the issue of how the Naveen Patnaik government had violated all rules and laws to allot the land to International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Puri and how the latter was building a temple over it although it was given the land for other purposes.

Immediately, the issue was lapped up by the media. All newspapers flashed the news on the front page and TV channels ran daily follow-up stories on the expose.

Hopefully, now, the BJP high command will take note of Mr Mohapatra’s potential.

AAP in a hurry The Delhi government seems to be in a hurry to take the credit for the success of the odd-even formula for reducing traffic congestion and pollution on the capital’s road.

Even as the analysis of the 15-day experiment is underway, the government has put up advertisements all over the place on the success of the scheme.

A “Thank You” rally has already created news, albeit for the ink-throwing incident. Reacting to this, a senior Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party leader said, “It seems that the government is spending more on putting advertisements claiming success of the scheme rather than the amount spent on implementing the scheme. It’s sheer wastage of public money.”

While the Aam Aadmi Party appears to be in a hurry to claim that the scheme was successful, the BJP charge is all too familiar, coming as it does from the main Opposition party.

Star-studded army day The “At Home” function at the residence of Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag on the occasion of Army Day on January 15 was full of celebrities in more ways than one.

The event was attended by defence minister Manohar Parrikar, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Apart from the top political leadership, whose presence is customary, the guests were delighted to see filmstar Randeep Hooda and former cricketer Virender Sehwag. It was a pleasant surprise for the guests who busied themselves with clicking selfies with Hooda and Sehwag.

The function became a star-studded affair thanks to these celebrities.