LK Advani’s decision to go on another yatra two decades after he launched his first has invited open derision from many quarters. Many see this as a last-ditch effort to catapult himself into the prime ministerial seat that has slipped his grasp on numerous past occasions. Even within the Bharatiya Janata Party, the responses to Advani’s newfound zeal have been tepid. While many senior BJP leaders are, quite certainly, in awe of the patriarch’s indomitable energy, some others have been wondering privately why Advani should try to defy all odds at a time he is expected to guide the party from the drawing room. A party leader known for his quick wit was found invoking the title of Amitabh Bachchan’s recent movie, Buddha Hoga Tera Baap, to drive home the point that age does not matter for a man of action. Though the rest of the film has no relevance to the unfolding political drama, it would be prudent to note that the movie bombed at the box office in spite of Big B.
When disaster struck the Delhi High Court, it singed the political class as well. The day of the blast was also the day the much-awaited land acquisition bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha. The development put paid to the hopes of the people in Krishi Bhavan who were eager to draw the limelight to themselves. The Union rural development minister, Jairam Ramesh, may have been one of them. Here was his chance to showcase an achievement a few days after taking over the ministry. But fate had other plans as interviews and soundbites were either cancelled or canned.
Sonia Gandhi is back and she is ready to take on the reins of the party. But shortly before her arrival, an SMS making the rounds in the political and media circles had this to say: “Bagair aurat ke ghar ka kya hashr hota hai? — Congress se poochiye (What is the state of a household which is run without a woman? Ask the Congress).”
There is never a dull moment in Karnataka’s politics. After the exit of BS Yeddyurappa, the titanic battle between the former chief minister, HD Kumaraswamy, and the former Karnataka lok ayukta, N Santosh Hegde, is proving to be an absorbing event. Kumaraswamy perhaps bitten off more than he could chew when he questioned Hegde’s “nightly expenses”. Visibly hurt, the retired Supreme Court judge hit back by saying that for the last 42 years he had had “only one house and one wife”. Kumaraswamy obviously didn’t miss the sting. He has now promised to get back with “documentary evidence” to prove his charge. Meanwhile, the BJP is trying its utmost to maintain a healthy distance from the Reddys. One senior leader is supposed to have remarked jokingly, “Just for a few days we should not meet any Reddys. Even if Jaipal and Subbirami Reddy want to meet us, we should avoid them for the time being.”
Having been given an inch, Gulchain Singh Charak, the Congressman in charge of party affairs in Punjab, seems to have taken a mile. Charak has invited a lot of criticism lately for trying to play the role of the state Congress chief. Charak had been camping in Punjab and holding meetings of district committees. When he found Charak stepping on his toes, the state Congress committee chief, Amarinder Singh, refused to accompany him on his jaunts. The situation turned really ugly for Charak when two meetings witnessed a free-for-all among factions within the party. Poor Charak was unable to prevent the fisticuff. Meanwhile, a peeved Singh is supposed to have sent a strongly-worded message to the Congress high command, following which Charak has been summoned back to Delhi. But he has vowed to come back, this time to launch a parivartan yatra. We do not know if he took the idea from Advani or Advani from him, but Charak is definitely on a come-back trail. But this time, the high command has insisted that he takes Singh into confidence.
Shahnawaz Hussain is a potent example of the BJP’s secular standing. Every year, Hussain throws an Eid party at his official residence. This year, however, the Teej festival fell on the same day as Eid. As Hussain is married to a Hindu, his wife was found celebrating two occasions at home.
There can be many slips between the cup and the lip, but some annoy more than the others. Take, for instance, what happened when Kapil Sibal, the Union HRD minister, was trying to move the bill for upgrading the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing, Kancheepuram, in the Rajya Sabha. Yesudas Seelam, a Congress MP, cut him short with his demand for an SC/ST quota in the faculty. The Bahujan Samaj Party quickly joined the ruckus, thereby stalling the bill. Apparently, a BJP leader had written the matter on a chit and wanted it to be handed to Sibal. But the marshal handed it to Seelam instead. Sibal tried his best to clarify that there is no provision of reservation in the faculty which annoyed the BSP. Perhaps Mayavati should consider rewarding Seelam and the marshal for their ‘performances’.