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Amit Shah zig-zagging the country in preparation of 2024 polls

DELHI DIARIES | Rumours of Tejashwi Yadav and Rajeshwari Yadav expecting, Nitish Kumar's Samadhan Yatra and more
Most powerful leader?
Most powerful leader?

The Editorial Board   |   Published 08.01.23, 04:22 AM

Power play

The Union home minister, Amit Shah, seems to have kick-started the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. He has been travelling across the country, addressing rallies and pitching the completion of the Ram temple as the key poll plank. However, whispers in the party corridors have it that Shah is trying to assert that he is still the chief campaigner-cum-strategist of the prime minister, Narendra Modi. The BJP president, JP Nadda, too, has been campaigning for the party but his efforts seem pale in comparison to Shah’s, both inside and outside the party. Nadda’s speeches don’t get as much media coverage as those of the Union minister. It is no secret that Shah continues to call the shots in the saffron party. Whenever elections are around the corner, he takes the lead over other party leaders. Nine states are due for polls this year followed by the general elections next year. Shah has no time to rest, especially since he has to prove that he continues to be the No. 2 in the BJP hierarchy after Modi.


Good news

 The Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and Bihar deputy chief minister, Tejashwi Yadav, and his wife, Rachel, who is also known as Rajeshwari Yadav, were seen doing the rounds of Delhi hospitals at the time of the New Year. It left party workers concerned since Tejashwi’s father, Lalu Prasad, has been ill and is currently recuperating at a hospital in Singapore after undergoing a kidney transplant. A little snooping around, however, revealed that not all the hospital visits were about illness. Speculation is rife that the couple may be expecting their first child and doctors are being consulted for this purpose. Rachel has, reportedly, decided to stay with her parents during the pregnancy. Lalu and his wife, Rabri Devi — both former CMs — are known for their big family. They have seven daughters and two sons, and 11 maternal grandchildren. The new addition to the family will be the first since 2016. Lalu and Rabri are already nananani; Tejashwi’s child will be the first to call them dada-dadi. However, the family is being tight-lipped about it.

Flight plan

The Bihar CM, Nitish Kumar, has embarked on a statewide Samadhan Yatra to take stock of development schemes. He is using a helicopter to hop from one district to another. The chopper has come from Kerala — an unexpected new friend of Bihar in the current political climate. While many were left wondering about the need for acquiring a helicopter all the way from the southern state, a senior politician close to Nitish revealed: “It has been very difficult to hire a helicopter for his use since he quit the National Democratic Alliance... Even if a chopper has been hired, we can’t rely on them because there are inordinate delays, sudden snags and last-minute cancellations by their owners. We faced this previously too when we were not with the Bharatiya Janata Party...” he said. Similar problems would arise on hiring a jet aircraft. Sources in the government said that this was the reason behind the state cabinet recently approving the proposal to buy a jet aircraft and a helicopter for the use of the CM and other dignitaries. After all, Nitish will be needing them when he travels to other states to unite the Opposition against the BJP for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Animal kingdom

Political debates in Karnataka have centred around animals ever since the leader of the Opposition, PC Siddaramaiah, called the CM, Basavaraj Bommai, a “puppy” for failing to get Rs 5,495 crore from the PM — the amount is due to the state as per the 15th Finance Commission. Although his colleagues took offence at the jibe, the CM described himself as a “loyal dog” who is devoted to the people of Karnataka. Siddaramaiah then reminded his critics that he himself is called ‘tagaru’ (ram) while the BJP veteran, BS Yediyurappa, is addressed as ‘raja huli’ (tiger king) and there was nothing wrong in being compared to animals. But what the Congress leader left unsaid was the association of timidity with a puppy as opposed to a ram or a tiger.

Lost charm

 The Union minister for railways and communications, electronics & information technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw, who had been elected to the Rajya Sabha with support from the Biju Janata Dal in 2019, seems to have lost the goodwill of the Odisha CM and the BJD chief, Naveen Patnaik. This became obvious when Vaishnaw campaigned for his party during the Padampur bypoll last year and targeted the Odisha government for its failure to provide land for a new railway line project. This did not go down well with the BJD and Naveen himself launched a counterattack.When Vaishnaw launched 5G services in the state recently, the BJD cautioned him against making it a publicity stunt. It also questioned how the service could be successful when Odisha’s teledensity was less than the national average. The rift between Vaishnaw and the BJD could deepen further in the coming days.


The former PM, HD Deve Gowda, and his son and former Karnataka CM, HD Kumaraswamy — the duo leading the Janata Dal (Secular) — are aware of the high stakes in the forthcoming assembly polls. After coming to power with the help of the Congress in the 2018 elections, the BJP soon orchestrated the government’s downfall with the help of rebels. The JD(S) must do well this time or it will perish. The father and son know that very well. For starters, they are trying to protect the party’s efficient leaders from switching sides.

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