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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 April 2024

Nitish Kumar's outbursts at the use of English highlight a recent change in behaviour

DELHI DIARIES | Hema Malini's coded praise for Modi-Shah, Anil Swarup's revelation into the modus operandi of the Modi regime, and more

The Editorial Board Published 24.12.23, 09:52 AM
Moody leader

Moody leader Sourced by the Telegraph

Mood swings

Nitish Kumar’s love for Hindi is well-known. The Bihar chief minister has been chiding everyone for using English during official programmes. He even got his officials to remove a signboard in English from a newly-constructed building. Consequently, many landmarks do not bear any signage in the ‘foreign’ language. But during the recent INDIA meeting, he seems to have taken his umbrage at English too far. Nitish reportedly gave a dressing-down to a senior Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader when he asked for the former’s address to be translated into English. He asserted that everybody should understand Hindi because it is the ‘national language of Hindustan’. Many objected to his statement and asked him not to raise the language issue at the meeting. The Bihar CM then completed his speech in Hindi. A spiritual leader later tried to take a dig at Nitish on the issue. Surprisingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party let the incident pass without any comment.

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His outbursts at the use of English are perhaps not the only thing off about Nitish. One of his close friends expressed deep worry about the change in the Bihar CM’s behaviour in recent months. Asserting that Nitish, who has been known for his probity, calmness, good behaviour and measured speech, has strayed from his known traits, the friend said, “Sometimes he loses his cool without any warning, or suddenly turns jovial, or vulgar. At other times he becomes playful or starts joking... He constantly keeps rubbing [his] belly and pouting his mouth without realising it.” Many have been hazarding wild guesses about the drastic change in Nitish’s behaviour. The Opposition in Bihar, led by the BJP, is planning to pitch for a regular medical bulletin on the CM.

Coded praise

Two BJP MPs, Poonam Mahajan and Hema Malini, stood out during the recent debate over the three criminal law bills in the Lok Sabha for their advocacy of stricter laws to prevent animal cruelty. Hema Malini, however, went on to heap praises on Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

Hema Malini

Hema Malini Sourced by The Telegraph

“Under the leadership of Modi-Shah, the tricolour will flutter across the sky. Bharat’s name will be on everybody’s lips,” she recited in typical Bollywood style. Shah looked pleased at her words. Many in the party felt that the eulogy was an attempt to secure her nomination in Mathura, a seat that many BJP leaders have been eyeing for the 2024 polls.

Tricks of the trade

During a recent media interview, Anil Swarup, a former secretary of the Human Resource Development Ministry, described how Narendra Modi’s engagement with the bureaucracy has evolved over the years. In the initial years, Modi encouraged officials to speak their minds freely. But after demonetisation, criticism of the government was not welcome anymore. Swarup thus revealed the modus operandi of the Modi regime: first, encourage secretaries with a show of receptiveness to disclose the inner workings of the previous governments and, then, clamp down on them.

Man on a mission

The Telangana CM, A Revanth Reddy, has hit the ground running by probing the financial dealings of his predecessor, K Chandrashekar Rao. Within a fortnight of taking charge as the CM, Reddy presented a white paper on how the revenue-surplus state was pushed into a debt trap through “financial mismanagement and corruption” by the former government. The question is: what’s next on the cards for the Congress leader who has promised that he would send KCR to jail?

Political asana

Few have used meditation as effectively for political manoeuvres as Arvind Kejriwal has. The Delhi CM announced that he would be leaving for his annual vipassana retreat — it entails no communication with the outside world — on December 19, the day the INDIA meeting took place. Kejriwal was reportedly miffed at the Congress’ insistence on sharing seats in Punjab. He attended the meeting but used the retreat as an excuse to leave the next day as well as skip the summons of the Enforcement Directorate a second time.

Clear signal

The Odisha governor, Raghubar Das, has sent a clear signal that he should not be taken lightly by the Biju Janata Dal dispensation. After his courtesy visit to the residence of the CM, Naveen Patnaik, on Diwali, everyone thought that Das would be pliable. But he recently sent a letter to the CM urging him to look into the issues of people. He has also started touring the state. This shows that Das is intent on playing a bigger role ahead of the general elections.

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