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NItish Kumar reduced to being PM Modi’s sidekick in Patna roadshow

DELHI DIARIES | Tej Pratap Yadav under scanner for manhandling RJD party worker, Swati Maliwal falls out of favour, and more

The Editorial Board Published 19.05.24, 10:06 AM
Back seat

Back seat Sourced by the Telegraph

On the backfoot

On the eve of the fourth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, held a road show in Patna, enthralling the massive crowds that had assembled along the route. However, the presence of the Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar, alongside Modi in the open-roof vehicle was surprising. It elicited sharp responses from across the political spectrum. Nitish stood a step behind Modi, who stood on a raised platform that made him look taller. This is the same Nitish who once matched Modi’s every step; the latter, too, used to stand arm-in-arm with Nitish, treating him as an equal. But this time, Nitish was reduced to being Modi’s sidekick. To top it off, the Bihar CM seemed indifferent to the roadshow and his surroundings: he looked jaded and neither smiled nor waved to the crowds. This strengthened the speculation about him suffering from dementia. As if all this was not enough, Nitish was given a cutout of a lotus — the Bharatiya Janata Party’s electoral symbol — to hold and he sombrely toyed with it. All those who have known Nitish for a long time expressed sadness at him being sidelined in such a manner. They also regretted the way he was left behind by Modi, who made no effort to pull Nitish to the front and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him as a friend.


Fast and furious

Tej Pratap Yadav, the son of the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief, Lalu Prasad and considered a ‘maverick’ by many, has kept a low profile in the ongoing elections. But he recently grabbed the limelight during a public meeting when he pushed a party worker off the stage. Losing balance, the party worker collided with Rabri Devi and Misa Bharti, Tej’s mother and sister, respectively, who were also present on the dais. The two women somehow managed to save themselves and then came forward to stop Tej from further manhandling the party worker. But Tej, seething with anger, pushed him away from the dais once again.

Tej Pratap Yadav

Tej Pratap Yadav

The incident went viral in the media. The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders used this opportunity to remind the public about the ‘jungle raj’ under the erstwhile RJD government. As the situation spiralled out of control, Tej took to social media to clarify that he had been nursing an injured hand when the party worker came in bet­ween Rabri and Misa. “He wanted to move forward and pushed me in the process. I felt excruciating pain in my hand and had to move him to one side to save myself,” Tej explained, urging people to see both sides of the situation.

Out of favour

The Aam Aadmi Party has abandoned its parliamentarian, Swati Maliwal, in favour of Bibhav Kumar, the aide of the party president, Arvind Kejriwal, who, Maliwal has alleged, assaulted her at the Delhi CM’s residence. This move has not been received well by most of the party’s supporters. A member of the Delhi Commission for Women, Vandana Singh, criticised the party for ridiculing Maliwal for making such an allegation.

Vijaylakshmi Nadar, a party supporter and journalist based in the United States of America, has also spoken in Maliwal’s support as have the leaders from the Congress and the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena — the AAP’s most prominent allies. But the AAP has claimed that Maliwal has been conspiring with the BJP in lieu of the latter going soft on a probe into recruitments made by her in the DCW.

Secret pact

A debate is raging about whether the BJP will manage to open its account in Kerala in the ongoing LS polls. The saffron party had invested extensively in campaigns in Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur. Rumour has it that if the BJP ends up winning even one seat, it would be because of the transfer of the votes from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) owing to a secret deal with the CM, Pinarayi Vijayan. But Left supporters have rubbished such rumours, insisting that only the Congress is capable of pulling such underhanded acts. Only June 4 will tell whether the Congress-Left pact to keep the BJP out of the state survives.

Party pooper

The birthdays of politicians are generally a matter of celebration. The former PM, HD Deve Gowda, has always observed his birthdays with temple visits, rituals at home and by greeting his party workers. But this year it was different. The Janata Dal (Secular) chief, who turned 91 on May 18, ditched all celebrations, except for his customary temple visit, due to the allegations against his son, HD Revanna, and grandson, Prajwal Revanna, of being involved in a sex scandal.

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