Ajit Jogi has come out with a book, but Arjun Singh is unlikely to order a copy. In his book, Jogi has apparently identified Rajiv Gandhi as his mentor, and as the man who had influenced his decision to chuck a career in civil services for politics. However, it is generally believed that it was Arjun who introduced Jogi into the murky waters of politics, and even used his influence with Rajiv to get Jogi a Rajya Sabha seat. But now Jogi has left him out of the chapter in which he has named people who have influenced him. The real reason for Jogi’s antipathy towards Arjun has to do with the fact that the latter had supported a fellow thakur, Digvijay Singh, and not Jogi, as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. Their ties took a turn for the worse when Arjun rebelled against Narasimha Rao and left the party, only to see that Jogi had ditched him and sided with Rao. Friends and foes are said to be temporary in politics. However, the Jogi-Arjun saga makes it clear that some netas remain permanent foes.
Brother against brother
Netaji is a lonely man these days. Even his family members have apparently deserted him after bahu Dimple bit the dust in the elections in Ferozabad. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother, Shivpal, is said to be upset with Mulayam’s projection of his son, Akhilesh, as the heir apparent. Ram Gopal Yadav too is supposedly displeased with Mulayam’s close ties with his other ‘brother’, Amar Singh, who, now, is said to be scouting for greener pastures. Many of Mulayam’s family members were also against Dimple’s candidacy and did not participate in the campaign. Not just the wily behenji, it seems that Mulayam now has to contend with a band of brothers up in arms.
The red family is in trouble too. With the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in decline, cracks have begun to appear in the Front. Left allies such as the Communist Party of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Forward Bloc are now openly blaming the CPI(M) for the debacle, and, we are told, are also pressing for a change at the top. There are also rumours that some of the Left Front partners have done the unthinkable: they are reported to be in touch with some leaders in the Opposition. Some CPI(M) leaders are also expected to change stripes as the polls draw near. Perhaps it’s time Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Mulayam Singh Yadav took lessons on how to stem the tide.
Politicians are known to become anxious if they are away from the limelight for long. Here is further proof of this. An Opposition member of the Rajya Sabha went for treatment abroad and sent daily bulletins to describe the state of his health as well as to name his VVIP visitors. It is altogether a different matter that often it was the patient who cajoled people to come and see him recuperate. Upon his return, he repeatedly requested the prime minister to pay him a visit. Manmohan Singh was all set to head towards the MP’s bungalow but was stopped by his partymen who feared that the visit is likely to make the VVIP patient feel even more important. The cancelled visit must have made our man feel worse.
The king is following in the footsteps of the prince. Following Rahul Gandhi’s example, Jyotiraditya Scindia recently decided to visit the aam admi. In this case, they happened to be tribal communities in Guna who were asked about the state of development schemes there. During the visit, a man asked Jyotiraditya whether he wanted to have food at his hut to which he readily agreed. What’s more, the young MP even tried his hand at cooking. Some food for thought for his detractors in the opposite camp?
Digvijay Singh, who is the de facto political secretary of Rahul Gandhi, is being modest about the chances of a rise in his political fortunes. Recently, he invited some senior journalists for tea and tried hard to scotch rumours that he is keen to replace Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, Ahmad Patel. One wonders whether the scribes found it difficult to swallow this one.
Popular beyond imagination
Meanwhile, Didi continues to do what she does best: hurling missiles at her arch-rival, the CPI(M). Recently, the Union railways minister brought some family members of abducted police personnel from Bengal to New Delhi to highlight the Left government’s indifference towards them. The visit was also supposed to expose the abject failure of the communists to provide security to the people of the state. After meeting the home minister, Mamata Banerjee decided to hold a press conference outside the Rail Bhavan premises, although the conference had little to do with matters related to the railways. But, as usual, there were plenty of people to lend their ears to what she had to say. Apart from the usual throng of spectators, one also spotted two simians in the audience. The duo sat at the top of a building for as long as the press conference was on. Banerjee’s appeal does cut across species, we think.