Friday, Jan 18, 2019 | Last Update : 05:48 AM IST
Securitymen too turning saffron
Securitymen too turning saffron
The BJP’s eagerness to lap up leaders from the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh is now turning into a joke of sorts. When Mayawati stated that the BJP is accepting her “rejected maal”, everyone thought it was a case of grapes being sour. But the BJP took not only the cake but the entire bakery this week when it inducted Padam Singh, Ms Mayawati’s former security officer. A veteran leader remarked, “After leaders from the BSP, we are now importing security officers and next in line will perhaps be former drivers and cooks of Mayawati.”
Mr Singh, now a retired police officer, was Ms Mayawati’s personal security officer (PSO) since she first became the chief minister in 1995. Like all PSOs, he enjoyed her confidence and was privy to all political dealings that took place. Mr Singh was one person she blindly trusted and this automatically put him in an envious position, inside and outside the party.
In the BSP, everyone knew that things could move in the right direction only if Mr Singh wanted. However, two years ago, something went wrong and Mr Singh made a humiliating exit from the BSP, which was not shocking since he was the only one to have lasted for almost two decades in the party. How long he lasts in the BJP, however, remains to be seen.
Age no bar, really! Much to his discomfiture, saffron leader Kalraj Mishra has perhaps found, albeit at the “fag” end of his political career, that raising a wrong issue at a wrong place can be damaging.
The Union minister, during his visit to Bhopal, seemed more than happy to oblige a few electronic media reporters with a byte on the contentious issue of giving marching orders to two veteran BJP leaders of Madhya Pradesh — Babulal Gaur and Sartaj Singh — from the Shivraj Singh Chouhan Cabinet being overaged, realising little that his statement would land him in acute embarrassment soon.
“I am not aware of any rule to bar BJP leaders crossing 75 years of age from occupying any official position, purportedly enforced by party leadership. That I still continue in Central Cabinet despite being 75 years old, is evidence,” he told mediapersons on the sidelines of his meet in the entrepreneurs programme.
Needless to say, his remarks provided a handle to sulking leaders to hit back at Mr Chouhan, indicating machinations by him to drop them from the ministry on “false” premises of party’s age-bar rule.
Mr Mishra later attended his scheduled programme. He however appeared relaxed as he was seen meeting entrepreneurs at the venue, unmindful of his apparent next schedule, sparking confusion among officials.
Later, a senior officer of the state government approached to remind him that he was to address a media conference, his next programme.
“I have no knowledge of any programme to address a press conference,” he shot back, much to the surprise of the officer, even as reporters, armed with official invitations, waited in the adjoining room for him to address them.
Later, the confusion was cleared when mediapersons came to know that Mr Mishra had shied away from meeting them after he received a snub from the party leadership for his “unsolicited” observations on the “age-bar rule”.
Caught in own trap Orissa chief minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik did not know the strategy he had devised a few hours before the Monsoon Session of the Assembly began to ward off Opposition attacks would backfire.
Apparently, being apprised by intelligence sleuths that the Opposition Congress and BJP had made concrete plans to expose the treasury benches on certain issues, he asked the party’s young MLAs to ensure that the rival lawmakers did not get such opportunities.
Some young MLAs who have alleged links with mafia elements decided to disrupt the proceedings of the House from day one to be in the good books of the boss. They were so excited that when the national anthem was played to mark the beginning of the session, they started shouting slogans against the BJP and Congress. The Opposition seized the occasion and alleged that ruling party lawmakers had shown disrespect to the national anthem. The Opposition members went on the offensive and sought an immediate apology from the CM and his party members.
With no option left, the BJD immediately tendered an apology and shelved its plan to stall the session for long.
Ticket first An AAP leader, Kanwar Sandhu of Punjab, runs an online show for NRI Punjabis who can call and discuss various issues about Punjab. Recently, when Mr Sandhu was discussing the current position of political parties in Punjab, a lady called from Canada to air her views and participate in the programme.
The lady talked about various social issues affecting Punjab and how they should be addressed. However, in her parting comment, the lady said that how she would like to see Mr Sandhu in some prominent position, like a chief minister or at least home minister.
Embarrassed, Mr Sandhu told the lady: “Please be careful while making me a chief minister, take care that I do get the party (AAP) ticket.”
A change of heart After returning to power in May with a landslide victory, Mamata Banerjee has been tirelessly working to make her government improve governance. At the same time, she is also persistently striving to expand her party’s political base in every corner of the state. In the recent Assembly elections, the CPI(M)-led Left Front was decimated while the Congress emerged as the main Opposition.
In the past four months that she had been in office in her second term, the ruling Trinamul Congress has been able to wrest several municipalities, zila parishads and panchayat samitis from the Congress or Left Front. Her biggest triumph has been the demolition of Congress’ impregnable fortress — Murshidabad.
State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, once a fierce Mamata-baiter, today looks pathetic after losing his Murshidabad fief to the ruling party. Her other principal critic — CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra — has been a pale shadow of his former belligerent self.
Ms Banerjee’s next target is Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung. She has already weakened the GJM by luring away two powerful leaders — Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Pradip Pradhan. Mr Chhetri’s name was announced as TMC candidate from Kalimpong before the Assembly polls but later he chose to contest on his fledgling Jan Andolan Party’s ticket.
Mr Pradhan, chairman of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, is today the TMC’s face in the hills. She also made inroads into Mr Gurung’s huge support base by setting up separate development boards for nearly a dozen communities and tribes of the hills.
Needless to say, members of these communities like Lepchas, Tamangs, Bhutias et al are now singing praises of Didi. She was given such a rapturous welcome during her recent trip to Kalimpong. Ms Banerjee is now determined to demolish Mr Gurung’s fiefdom in the Darjeeling hills.
Making a passionate speech, she told the people that the TMC has no MP, MLA, councillor and panchayat head in the hills.
“Mujhe asha hai ki Darjeeling ko behtar banane ke liye ek din aap log badlenge. Main us din ka intzar karoongi,” she said. The thunderous applause that greeted her speech made it clear that the people of Darjeeling are indeed having a change of heart.