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regular-article-logo Saturday, 25 May 2024

New political party emerging in Bihar's horizon

DELHI DIARIES | Kirti Azad in twitter trouble, Nitish Kumar's ploy to rattle BJP and more

The Editorial Board Published 01.01.23, 04:18 AM
R.C.P. Singh: Starting anew

R.C.P. Singh: Starting anew

New beginning

A new party could soon emerge on Bihar’s political horizon. The former Union minister for steel, RCP Singh, is said to be making moves for registering a new party and the power corridors are abuzz with talks about it. People from different sectors have said that he has been seeking financial support to go ahead with his plans. Singh, a former bureaucrat-turned-politician, fell afoul of the chief minister, Nitish Kumar, who he had stood by for decades. Nitish accused him of neglecting the party’s interests. As a result, he had to lose the cabinet berth at the Centre and was forced out of the Janata Dal (United) around six months ago. He then returned to Bihar and was touring the state, attacking Nitish and seeking support from JD(U) workers. Political pundits attribute various reasons to his move, such as it being a logical progression of his manoeuvres over the last few months or an effort to stop himself from being forgotten or even trying to be propped up by the Bharatiya Janata Party to cut into the JD(U)’s votes. Whatever the actual reason may be, Nitish, who recently warned the ruling Grand Alliance to be wary of Asaduddin Owaisi and his All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, may now have to fire yet another warning shot about the emergence of a new outfit and this time it is surely going to be a hot topic.

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Big mouth

The cricketer-turned-politician, Kirti Azad, got into trouble for his tweet ‘mocking’ the prime minister, Narendra Modi, for donning a traditional Khasi attire during his December 18 visit to pollbound Meghalaya. In spite of Azad apologising for his comment on December 23, not only is the Trinamul Congress leader facing a backlash on social media, especially from the Northeast, but a police case has also been slapped on him, not to mention protests have been taken out on the street for this ‘disrespect’ of Modi and the people of Meghalaya by calling the PM a “fashion ka pujari” in the tweet. Azad’s tweet showed a female model sporting the same floral dress as Modi did during his public rally in Shillong. Even his own party, the TMC, has distanced itself from his tweet, which he subsequently deleted. Although he has been receiving more publicity than he had bargained for, Azad would also be the first to admit that he could have done without the bad publicity which has resulted from his miscalculation of targeting the country’s most influential man and a region which takes great pride in its tradition and identity. Ground reports suggest that his tweet has embarrassed the TMC, which is trying to shed its ‘outsider’ image.

Fond memories

Whenever the Bihar CM, Nitish Kumar, remembers the good old days of the BJP, the saffron party’s existing top brass bristles. Nitish does this especially while participating in the anniversaries of departed BJP stalwarts like the former PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and other tall leaders such as Arun Jaitley, Pramod Mahajan and so on. Nitish lavishly praises those leaders with whom he worked in the Union cabinet and enjoyed a good rapport. Recently, while celebrating the birth anniversary of Vajpayee, he remembered aloud how liberal the former PM was, how much love he showered, and how quickly he approved all of Nitish’s proposals for development. The CM lamented the lack of magnanimity and liberality in the BJP leadership at present. A few days later, he offered tributes to Jaitley on his birth anniversary and, once again, became nostalgic about his friendship with the stalwart and how they worked closely during the 2005 and 2010 Bihar legislative assembly elections. Asked to compare the BJP regimes at the Centre then and now, Nitish gave a wicked smile and said, ‘let it go’. A senior BJP leader shared why many leaders of his party were angry with this. “His praises are like sugar-coated bitter pills. They are also like unspoken barbs that inflict deep injuries, especially because he deliberately does so to look down on our present leadership,” he said.

Divided house

Internal quarrel is not new in political parties. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is no different, especially in Kerala, where it helms the ruling Left alliance. EP Jayarajan and P Jayarajan, two powerful leaders from the CPI(M) citadel, Kannur, have reportedly complained to the party about each other. While EP Jayarajan’s wife and son have shares in an ayurvedic wellness centre, P Jayarajan has been reported for his links with some local goons. While the CPI(M) dubbed the episode as media speculation, its junior partner, the CPI, is said to have sought clarity from the big brother. But as some CPI(M) leaders say, the CPI should first try and win some seats on its own before questioning its senior partner.

Footnote

The actor-turned-politician, Sumalatha, who represents Mandya in the Lok Sabha, is a star attraction on banners welcoming the Union home minister, Amit Shah, to her district. The former Congress leader who contested as a BJP-backed independent candidate in 2019 after being denied a ticket by the Grand Old Party has since gained traction as a parliamentarian. Her pictures on banners welcoming Shah have led to rumours that Sumalatha is set to formally join the BJP. With the ruling party already busy with groundwork for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and the upcoming assembly elections, an addition like Sumalatha with her star power is precisely what the doctor ordered

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