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Hide and seek in Bihar Assembly

DELHI DIARIES | Himanta Biswa Sarma poised to take over a bigger role, Manish Sisodia's residence problems and more
Play and work
Play and work

The Editorial Board   |   Published 19.03.23, 04:13 AM

Play time

While the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Opposition keeps staging vigorous and vociferous protests in the Bihar legislative assembly, trooping with placards and posters to the well of the House on a regular basis, the women members of the party have turned the occasions into play time. As soon as the assembly Speaker orders the marshals to take away the posters from the legislators, the game begins. The women members of the legislative assembly, led by Nikki Hembrom, Renu Devi and others, start passing them from one colleague to another, dodging the marshals. Sometimes they tease them by waving the posters and then hiding them. At times, the papers simply vanish when the marshals are about to confiscate them as they are passed on to male MLAs, who shuffle them amid the important documents on their desks. The hide-and-seek lasts till the protests continue. Contrast this with the male MLAs, a majority of whom spend their time banging tables and chairs, overturning them or climbing on them. At times, they also play tug-of-war with the marshals wherein tables and chairs take the place of ropes.


Man of the hour

After Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland, the chief minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, is now busy campaigning in poll-bound Karnataka. He is mobilising support for his party, for which winning the state is very important before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Sarma also addressed the ongoing budget session in Assam and attended to important state government business. The BJP’s deployment of Sarma in Karnataka, and before that in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, underlines his growing importance in the party. He is known to back leaders who deliver, is loyal to the Big Two and can peddle the Hindutva ideology. Since joining the BJP from the Congress in 2015, Sarma has never disappointed the Hindutva brigade, promoting the “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” mantra and the benefits of a double-engine sarkar with a flair few can match. The frequency with which Sarma is flying in and out of Guwahati suggests a bigger national role for him after 2024.

Too many voices

The delegation of Opposition politicians and community leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, led by the former CM, Farooq Abdullah, brought much mirth to Nirvachan Sadan. Even a preparatory meeting with national Opposition leaders, Sharad Pawar and Sitaram Yechury, couldn’t contain the personal rivalries among the delegates. In the chamber of the Chief Election Commissioner, Rajiv Kumar, a delegate whispered to another to stop working on his mobile phone when the CEC was speaking. The latter barked at the former to mind his own business. Another leader from Jammu interjected when Abdullah was winding up the arguments to hold long-pending assembly polls. The Jammu leader then made a long speech on the same demands. On the way out, some of the delegates loudly argued over the time given to each to make their points.

Home, sweet home

The Aam Aadmi Party government giving away the Mathura Road bungalow of the former deputy CM, Manish Sisodia, to the new minister, Atishi, has set tongues wagging. Sisodia’s wife is bedridden with multiple sclerosis; Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi CM, had promised to take care of her when Sisodia was arrested by the CBI — a promise that AAP insists it will keep. But the BJP has gone to town claiming that Sisodia has been made a scapegoat and dumped by Kejriwal.

Marking territory

Bihar has truly become a ‘yatra’ state. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader, Asaduddin Owaisi, is the latest to undertake a yatra, although he has limited himself to the Seemanchal region where Muslims have a sizeable population. Currently two yatras — one by the poll strategist-turned-politician, Prashant Kishor, and another by the former Union minister and Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal leader, Upendra Kushwaha — are ongoing in Bihar. The Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) leader, Jitan Ram Manjhi, too, completed a statewide tour. The CM, Nitish Kumar, the former Union minister, RCP Singh, and the BJP’s leader of the Opposition in the legislative assembly, Vijay Kumar Sinha, preceded Manjhi. Even the Congress undertook a yatra. Why so many yatras, you ask? “Bihar is a vast state — the second most populous in the country with around 13 crore population. It provides constituencies to every leader big or small and they undertake them to appeal to their probable voters. You will see more yatras here in the coming months. Even Nitish could undertake one more this year if he does not embark on a nationwide tour to unite the Opposition,” a senior Janata Dal (United) leader confided.


When it comes to over-the-top political statements, there is none better than the actor-turned BJP leader, Suresh Gopi. The actor who was briefly a Rajya Sabha member after unsuccessfully contesting from Thrissur has now dared the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to stop him from winning in Kannur in the next Lok Sabha elections. Known for his bombastic roles, Gopi was perhaps overwhelmed by the presence of Amit Shah at a political rally in Thrissur. Even the BJP was aghast at his brag about taking Kannur, a CPI(M) bastion where Congress is quite powerful too. The ruling CPI(M) loves such statements as they have been counter-productive in the past.

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