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Nitish eyeing new equation?
Is Nitish Kumar gearing up for a new equation in the State? There are many rumours floating in the political alleys of Patna. Some say that the BJP and JDU are treading cautiously and might also be working on alternative equations. There will surely be some indication after Nitish’s Cabinet expansion. It is being said that Nitish will soon rejig his Cabinet and accommodate some of his close aides in the Government.
However, sources in the JDU say that in the past month and a half, there have been several incidents that prove all is not well. That is why it is being said that Nitish is working on two fronts. One of his missions is to take his party closer to majority. Many leaders of the Congress are ready to join his party, it is being said. The number of vulnerable MLAs has increased from 14 to 19. If one and a half dozen MLAs of the Congress break away and join the JDU, it will become the largest party in the Assembly.
Nitish is also said to be already preparing for the next elections. Sources say he wants to strengthen the old equation of backwards and Mahadalits. For this, he is in contact with the alliance partners of the BJP. People are saying that he is in talks with many leaders of non-Yadav backward castes.
Instead of going with the RJD and Congress, he can form his own front. A senior Congress leader says that if Nitish keeps good terms with them, the party can help him. It is being said that leaders of Nitish’s party are also in touch with leaders of ultra backward castes, Kushwaha and Mahadalit leaders. Some of the leaders are a part of the NDA.
Nitish’s two-pronged game plan could be a reason for worry, but the BJP doesn’t want to take any risk before the Lok Sabha Elections.
CELEBRATING PM MODI
This is the fourth birthday (September 17) of Narendra Modi after he became the Prime Minister. His last three birthdays were celebrated, but this one will have pomp and grandeur too. For the past week, the BJP and Government have been gearing up to celebrate it in a big way.
At Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Modi, his birthday will be celebrated at 150 Government schools. Various functions are being organised in different parts of the country. Before this, only Atal Bihari Vajpayee had celebrated his birthday in 1999 and at that time he was turning 75. His close aides, party leaders, ministers, and Government organisations had celebrated his 75th birthday with much fanfare.
Modi’s 67th birthday will also be celebrated with similar enthusiasm. In fact, this is directly related to politics and the forthcoming elections. This year, Assembly Elections are scheduled in Gujarat and this will be the first time in the past one and a half decade when the State will face elections without Modi. That is why his birthday is being celebrated as a grand festival. Aptly, Modi will be in Gujarat on his birthday.
Soon after Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe gave a green signal to the bullet train project in Ahmedabad, celebrations started all over Gujarat. The BJP is all set to revel in Gujarat pride again. For this, functions will be organised in different parts of the country and a message will be sent to Gujarat. The BJP leaders say that next year too, there will be a big celebration keeping in mind the 2019 elections.
RAJAN’S DELIBERATE TIMING
Was Raghuram Rajan, former Governor of the RBI, waiting for data on demonetisation to release his book? Was he aware about the timing of the RBI data release? These questions are doing the rounds as the release of his book, I Do What I Do, coincides with the release of data on demonetisation. According to the RBI, 99 per cent of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes have returned to the banking system.
It is difficult to say what happened first — the release of the RBI data or promotion of Rajan’s book. Both events went hand in hand, it seems. That is why Rajan used a lot of RBI data in his book. He described several aspects of the data and said he had warned the Government at that time.
Rajan, who had quit his post soon after demonetisation, had mocked the process, saying that “now people have started earning interest on black money”. He used several statements, taking a jibe at the Government and RBI management. The simultaneous release of the RBI data and his book might be a coincidence, but there are many who believe that Rajan was waiting for the RBI data to come out.
RAHUL TO DITCH AMETHI?
Will Rahul Gandhi change his Lok Sabha constituency? This question is being asked right from Delhi to Lucknow. The reason being that Rahul has not visited Amethi for the past several months. The last time he had been to Lucknow was in July and the people of Amethi were called there to meet him and convey their problems. Rahul didn’t go to Amethi; he talked with people in Lucknow, went to the NHAI office to put forth the problems of farmers in land acquisition and returned from there.
Sonia Gandhi has also not visited Raebareli for long, and some say even Priyanka Gandhi, who used to manage both constituencies, has kept a distance from Raebareli and Amethi.
Party leaders and workers are gradually becoming restless in the Gandhi bastion. Sources say the BJP could benefit from this scenario. If all goes well, Aditi Singh, daughter of Akhilesh Singh, can be motivated to join the BJP. Just before the elections, Priyanka had managed to take her into the Congress fold. Akhilesh Singh was a winner on a Congress ticket and even as an Independent candidate. If his daughter leaves the Congress, it would be a big jolt for the party.
In the same manner, it is being said that Rajya Sabha MP of the Congress, Sanjay Singh, can also change his party. The Congress had sent him to the Rajya Sabha from Assam only when he threatened to leave. The BJP leaders are said to be in touch with him. Apart from this, Smriti Irani’s visits to Amethi will also increase. She has been active there even after losing the elections and will certainly fight from the same seat again.
That is why there is speculation that Rahul might change his constituency. The party is in search for a seat for him in South India. This must be noted that his grandmother and mother have fought elections from South India. So, the Congress is eying a seat from either Karnataka or Andhra Pradesh for Rahul.
HOODA’S HARYANA DREAM
Former CM of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, might get charge of Haryana, and this may be announced soon. Though some people have been saying it for the past six months that the Congress high command has finalised Hooda’s name for president of the Haryana Congress, there has not been a formal announcement yet. There is status quo in the State. Meanwhile, news started pouring in that Hooda could leave the party, following which the process to hand over the reins to him has been expedited.
Recently, Hooda met PM Modi twice. Although, both meetings were coincidental, it sent the Congress into a panic mode. Not only this, Hooda supporters are said to have spread the news that the Congress stalwart will form his own party and 13 of the total 17 MLAs would go with him. His supporters are of the view that he can manage to win 25-30 seats if he goes alone. If the Congress delays its decision, he might go his own way.
When these discussions were held from Delhi to Chandigarh, the Congress high command became alert and gave an assurance to Hooda that he would get command of the State soon. It seems that a truce has been struck between Hooda and his biggest rival, Randeep Surjewala. It has been apparently decided that Hooda will be active in State politics and Surjewala will continue with national politics.
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