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A Darbar no more

Published : Oct 3, 2016, 7:02 am IST
Updated : Oct 3, 2016, 7:02 am IST

Ever-elusive Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has decided to play even more hard to get on the eve of the Assembly elections in the state.

Ever-elusive Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has decided to play even more hard to get on the eve of the Assembly elections in the state. The chief minister has announced that the weekly Janata Darbar where the common man lined up with his problems was being stopped in view of his preoccupation with elections.

Mr Yadav had launched the Janata Darbar with much fanfare when he took over as chief minister in 2012, but a few weeks later, he apparently lost interest in it and other ministers, mainly Shivpal Yadav, started attending to people’s grievances — and there were thousands of them every week.

Party leaders feel the chief minister’s announcement of closing the Janata Darbar could not have been more ill-timed.

“With elections around the corner, we should have actually made the Janata Darbar a bi-weekly affair so that people could bring their grievances to us. Even if the chief minister was bust, other ministers could have taken over. Announcing the close of the programme is like shutting your door on people’s faces,” said a party leader.

Insiders, however, feel the closure of the Janata Darbar was designed to snub uncle Shivpal since he was the one who regularly made himself accessible to people and party workers who came from other districts. Apparently, the voters will now feel the heat of the raging family war in the Yadav clan.

A DIVIDED HOUSE Does any one remember Satya Ranjan Das Munshi The younger brother of ailing Congress stalwart Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, who was roped in by the Trinamul Congress in November 2013 and was pitted against fiery Mamata-baiter Deepa Das Munshi in Raiganj constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Mr Satya Ranjan could not defeat his boudi (sister-in-law), but he ensured her defeat by splitting enough anti-Left votes. Deepa lost to CPI(M)’s Mohammed Salim by a slender margin.

Ms Banerjee embarked on the same gameplan to make inroads into Congress bastion Malda. She engineered a division in the famous Khan Chowdhury family of Kotwali. She pitted A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury’s brother Abu Nasar Khan Chowdhury against his own nephew Isa Khan Chowdhury in Shujapur constituency in the last Assembly election. She fielded yet another Khan Chowdhury scion Shehnaz Quadery in Ratua seat. The Trinamul Congress could not win either seat but at least the party has now established a significant foothold in Malda because the Khan Chowdhury fiefdom is a divided house.

Adopting the same strategy, the Trinamul Congress inducted the estranged brother-in-law of another belligerent Mamata-adversary, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the state Congress president. Last week, Ms Banerjee engineered another coup of sort. On the one hand, the hills were once again on the boil after Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri imposed a shutdown as a show of strength by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. On the other hand, Mr Giri’s younger sister Parishma Giri joined the Trinamul Congress in Kolkata, saying she disapproved her brother’s political ideology and believed in Ms Banerjee’s political ideology. Mr Giri is the second in command in the hierarchy of the GJM.

Power of punchlines Perhaps no politician other than Orissa chief minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik in contemporary politics knows better how to marginalise potential rivals either in the party forum or in Opposition platforms at opportune moments.

Mr Patnaik recently ensured that the only left-out dhoti-clad colleague, Damodar Rout, was cut into size and never made any noise against his government’s failures.

When a special debate on the Mahanadi water dispute was held in the just-concluded Assembly, young BJD lawmakers were given preference to speak on the issue. Deprived and hurt, Dr Rout told mediapersons: “I’m born in a village located on the banks of Mahanadi. Those who have not seen the river were allowed to give lectures. You can better imagine what could be the gravity of the debate and seriousness on our part to protect the river.”

Always a good friend of the media for his punchlines, Dr Rout the next day found all the vernacular dailies carrying his dissatisfaction prominently in their front pages. His hurt feeling was assuaged to a great extent, said the minister’s followers.

More sugar, please How much does “bad” news cost Just a teaspoon full of sugar! Believe it or not, it takes hardly an additional teaspoon full of sugar for Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh to “digest” negative news appearing in the media.

“I anticipate both favourable and unfavourable news when I open newspapers in the morning every day. I just add an additional teaspoon of sugar to my tea when I come across an adverse story critical of my government. This makes me positive and inspires me to perform better,” the longest-serving BJP chief minister in the country said while addressing a seminar at Raipur on September 26.

No wonder the gathering had found his “unique” way of sweetening bitter media reports amusing and interesting.

The ayurvedic doctor-turned-politician compared the adverse media reports to “quinine” pill that is bitter but effectively treats malaria. Similarly, negative media reports also contribute to correction of malfunctioning of the government.

“Sun dispels darkness and also is essential for sustenance of life. Sun also emits harmful ultra-violet radiations that are blocked by ozone layer in atmosphere. Media acts like ozone layer trying to shield society from evils,” he added.

If the political grapevine in Raipur is to be believed, Mr Singh has been advised by doctors to regulate his sugar intake. Adverse media reports to blame!