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Buzz around BJP’s likely projection of Arif Mohammad Khan as presidential candidate

DELHI DIARIES | Nitin Gadkari’s confession on John F. Kennedy being his source of inspiration, media limelight enjoyed by Kerala Hindutva leader PC George and more
Arif Mohammad Khan.
Arif Mohammad Khan.

The Editorial Board   |   Published 12.06.22, 03:43 AM

Eager wait


  •  Who will be the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate for the presidential election next month? This is the question that is on almost everyone’s lips these days in the corridors of power in Delhi. The BJP has always been tight-lipped about such matters, so nobody has any inkling of who might be chosen as its candidate. But that has not stopped people from hazarding a guess. The top name doing the rounds is that of the governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammad Khan. Given the recent backlash from West Asian countries over derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammed by two BJP leaders, most feel that Khan should be chosen to send out a political message. Moreover, given Khan’s political record, he is the kind of face the current dispensation would love to promote and use for their propaganda. But some BJP leaders seem to think that the buzz around his candidature could result in him being set aside. The reason for this is that the prime minister, Narendra Modi, is obsessed with springing a surprise. He has zero tolerance for his decisions getting leaked in any manner.



Role model


  •   The Union road transport and highways minister, Nitin Gadkari, who has earned a name for executing massive infrastructure projects, including expressways across the country, makes no bones about his source of inspiration. No, it is not somebody from the sangh parivar. It is the former president of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy. Recently, while inaugurating the longest steel bridge in the country, Mahatma Gandhi Setu — it is 5.6 kilometres long — on the Ganga between Patna and Hajipur, Gadkari said that he has decided to change the infrastructure of the country after taking inspiration from Kennedy’s point of view on roads. The former US president had famously said, “American roads are not good because America is rich, but America is rich because American roads are good.” Gadkari asserted that he felt the truth in Kennedy’s statement more and more while working as the transport minister and has decided that it was time to overhaul the roads and bridges of the country. Gadkari told the scribes present at the inauguration to note down his words, “I do what I say, that too with the beating of a drum to mark it.” Some of his cabinet colleagues are said to be hunting for American inspiration as well to save their jobs and make India great again.


Desperate times


  •  Very few politicians receive the kind of media attention that PC George does in Kerala, albeit for all the wrong reasons. The senior politician, who is an aggressive supporter of Hindutva politics, is now advocating for the two prime accused in a sensational gold smuggling case in the state, which, quite ironically, the sangh parivar has used to pillory the Left government. The reason for this about-turn is simple. Swapna Suresh and PS Sarith are now employed by a sangh parivar-backed non-governmental organisation. George was once the chief whip of the Congress-led United Democratic Front government, but now the seven-time MLA has turned completely saffron in an attempt to survive. 



On the edge


  •  Bad things often come one after another. The Union steel minister, RCP Singh, must agree. First, the Janata Dal (United) leader and the chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, denied him a Rajya Sabha ticket. Now, he has been asked to vacate the bungalow that he would stay at during his visits to the state. The residence was allotted to a JD(U) member of the legislative council, Sanjay Gandhi, but Singh was using it. It has now been earmarked for the chief secretary. Party insiders think that he could be removed from the Union cabinet after his Rajya Sabha term expires on July 7 this year. But Singh is not sitting idle. He has reportedly met spiritual leaders and yoga gurus and is planning to consult more. 


Confident claim


  •  The former CM, BS Yediyurappa, may be out of power in Karnataka but that did not stop him from announcing that his son, BY Vijayendra, would contest the 2023 state polls on a BJP ticket. One of the vice presidents of the BJP state unit, Vijayendra, was recently overlooked for a seat in the legislative council. But Yediyurappa is certain that his son would contest next year’s elections. With considerable clout among the youths, the party is unlikely to ignore Vijayendra for too long and, thereby, incur the wrath of Yediyurappa, who still wields tremendous influence within the Lingayat community





  •   The CM of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, knows how to mollify disgruntled party colleagues. The Biju Janata Dal leaders, who were dropped from the ministry in the recent reshuffle, had looked sullen during the oath-taking ceremony on June 5. However, their mood changed after they were called to the CM’s residence for a chat. All the leaders who were dropped from the ministry came out of the meeting looking happy. They were assured by the CM that they would be given organisational responsibilities as the general elections were only two years away. The undercurrent of anger and frustration seems to have vanished. However, the supporters of these leaders remain inconsolable. A ministerial post is valued much more than organisational responsibility. 

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