Name and shame
What’s in a name? Many things, some would say. In an attempt to refute the Bharatiya Janata Party, which regularly accuses Lalu Prasad and his family of casteism, his son and the Bihar deputy chief minister, Tejashwi Yadav, thought of presenting his own example. Speaking at a public forum, he said: “They call me a casteist person. My wife is a Christian. Why would I have married her, had I been a casteist? These people rake the issue of casteism for politics.” Tejashwi married his long-time girlfriend, Rachel Godinho, a couple of years ago. However, his family renamed her Rajshree Yadav soon after and she is now better known by this name. This latter fact was lapped up by BJP leaders to mount a fresh attack. They started asking why her name was changed, catching the family on the backfoot. A name, thus, is rarely trivial.
Battle for supremacy
The Jan Adhikar Party (Loktantrik) leader and five-time Lok Sabha member, Rajesh Ranjan aka Pappu Yadav, once took a shot at becoming the leader of the Yadavs in Bihar, a place reserved for the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief, Lalu Prasad. Although he was powerful back then, he did not succeed. He then went through several ups and downs and many political parties, but never stopped trying.
Pappu Yadav - MP - being produced - Railway Court - Patna Junction.
Recently, while addressing the centenary function of the All India Yadav Mahasabha at Madhepura, a stronghold of Yadavs, a youth in the audience chanted the slogan, “Lalu Yadav zindabad”. This angered Pappu. He threw the mike and stomped away and the youth was thrashed black and blue. The story doesn’t end here. A couple of days later several leaders of the JAP(L) defected to the RJD. The battle for supremacy thus continues.
For the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s slogan was: ‘Modi hai to mumkin hai.” It was designed to portray Modi as a doer and a decisive and determined leader. Since the BJP scored a bigger victory than 2014, the slogan was considered a big hit. There is no official word so far on what the slogan is for the Lok Sabha polls next year. But while campaigning for the assembly polls recently, Modi was repeatedly heard raising the slogan, “Modi ki guarantee, yani guarantee ki puri hone ki guarantee.” Party insiders feel that this may be finalised as the punchline for next year’s polls. A section, however, is of the view that the slogan is long and complicated. Others feel it aptly addresses the dissatisfaction of voters with their grievances not being addressed. “The results of the polls in 5 states will show the effectiveness of the slogan,” one party leader remarked.
But the whispers in the corridors of power claim that irrespective of the verdict on the slogan, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is not pleased with the intensifying personality cult within the BJP and the country.
Written in the stars
Leaders often go to any extent to get a party ticket and then to win an election. Tweaking the spellings of names is a small step then. The BJP member of Parliament from Mysore-Kodagu, Prathap Simha, will henceforth spell his name as Pratap Simmha. The two-time MP attributed the tinkering to numerology. Simmha’s approach is not novel. The Lingayat strongman, Yediyurappa, had become Yeddyurappa in 2007 and came back to Yediyurappa in 2019. J Jayalalitha, too, became Jayalalithaa on astrological advice.
The Telangana Congress president, A Revanth Reddy, is often compared to his Karnataka counterpart, DK Shivakumar. Like Shivakumar, Reddy is steadfast in his belief that the Congress will register a comfortable win in the state polls. They also share similar organisational skills that helped activate the grassroots and, like Shivakumar, Reddy is one of the lead contenders for the top post, if the party wins. But rumour mills wonder if Reddy, too, would have to be content with being a deputy like Shivakumar if the high command prefers the more mature face of Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, a seasoned politician and a Dalit leader, for the top post, especially with the Lok Sabha polls just months away.
Writers and other creative minds could soon have a facility in some remote location of Arunachal Pradesh that would be designed specifically with their interests in mind. This was proposed by the CM, Pema Khandu, at the recently-concluded 5th Arunachal Literature Festival in Itanagar. The proposed ‘Writers’ Village’ would be set up in the lap of nature where writers and artists can “push their creative pursuits in peace and solitude”, the CM said.
Arunachal Pradesh is emerging as a major tourist destination in the Northeast for its natural beauty and diverse culture. The planned Writers’ Village could be an attraction for the intellectually-inclined, too, who can use it to perfect their craft. Although the details of the project are yet to be revealed, Khandu surely knows a thing or two about diversification so that there is something for everyone visiting the state which has been known thus far only for its natural beauty. Being creative pays and Khandu sure was creative.