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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Paltiputra of Patliputra, divorce king: Jokes on Nitish Kumar abound in political circles

DELHI DIARIES | Samrat Choudhary and his saffron turban, Gaurav Gogoi flags grim unemployment picture and more

The Editorial Board Published 04.02.24, 08:49 AM
Laughing stock?

Laughing stock? Sourced by the Telegraph

Raise a laugh

Epithets like ‘paltu chacha’, ‘paltu babu’, ‘paltu ram’, ‘paltu kumar’, ‘paltimar’ that are used by politicians from different parties to describe the chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, have become passé. After Kumar recently jumped from the Grand Alliance to the National Democratic Alliance in the state, showcasing his mastery over political acrobatics yet again, jokes on him abound in political circles. One politician was heard saying that Kumar’s photographs would now be used instead of the usual U-turn sign on roads, while someone else named him the ‘Paltiputra’ of Patliputra. Yet another called him the deity worshipped by chameleons. One politician from Hyderabad called Kumar the ‘divorce king’ who had given ‘triple talaq’ to the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party over and over again. One leader asked why Kumar had to read the oath from the paper when he must know it by heart after saying it so many times. In fact, when Kumar said that he would be taking oath for the ninth time while addressing the NDA meeting at his official residence before staking the claim to form the government this time, legislators present there had a hearty laugh. Another joke doing the rounds is that Kumar is the only constant in Bihar politics, while the deputy CMs keep changing.

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Heady logic

The deputy CM of Bihar and BJP state unit chief, Samrat Choudhary, is known for the saffron turban he has donned for over a year now. He had vowed not to remove it till Nitish Kumar was dislodged from the CM’s chair. But he will discard it soon after getting tonsured at Ayodhya. Close associates say that his vow was fulfilled and thus the headgear could go.

Samrat Choudhary

Samrat Choudhary

But many have questioned this fulfilment given that Kumar is still the CM and Choudhary has joined him as one of his deputies. Others argue that Kumar had to resign from his position before taking oath again to head the NDA government. This completed the condition imposed by Choudhary. The only thing delaying the removal is the BJP high command’s instructions to ministers to not visit Ayodhya till March so as to not inconvenience the crowds of devotees converging there.

Grim facts

Participating in the discussion during the motion of thanks to the president’s address to Parliament, the Congress leader, Gaurav Gogoi, used facts and figures to highlight the grim unemployment situation in the country. The parliamentarian from Assam said that around 42% of graduates below the age of 25 were unemployed in India. To buttress the desperation for jobs, he flagged a recent incident where 303 people, a large number of them from the prime minister’s home state, hired a chartered plane and tried to enter the US illegally. He added that in 2022-23, some 90,000 Indians had tried to enter America, Canada and Mexico illegally in search of jobs. He was trying to counter the efforts of the ruling BJP to hail Narendra Modi’s decade in power as a ‘golden period’ for the country.

Gogoi also underlined the ruling regime’s ability to pull the wool over the eyes of people. He said that Modi and the BJP have PhDs in ‘attention management’ and have mastered the art of deflecting issues with ‘event management’. “When the Opposition says that just 10% of the people control 50% of the country’s wealth, they say that India is the fastest growing economy; when we ask why the PM is not going to Manipur, they say look at G20...” In essence, Gogoi was lamenting on how the BJP’s perception management had put roadblocks in the Opposition’s path to connect with the people.

Battle stations

The BJP has sued the Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, and his Aam Aadmi Party colleagues for defamation after fresh allegations against the saffron outfit of trying to poach AAP legislators in the capital. The AAP has now launched a tirade against the police after they tried to serve the CM and the minister, Atishi, notices to join the probe. Although the allegations are political, the AAP still insists that the notices be served to officials rather than ministers. The AAP hopes that the drama being played out with the police in front of TV cameras will lead its demoralised cadre to up its game in the event of Kejriwal being arrested in the liquor scam.

Stellar return

KK Shailaja, who always describ­es herself as an ‘ordinary party worker’, has an extraordinary ability to stay on the radar. Acclaimed by the international media as a “rockstar” health minister for her handling of the Covid crisis in Kerala, Shailaja is now tipped to contest in the Lok Sabha polls. With the Communist Party of India (Marxist) managing to win just one of the 20 seats from Kerala in 2019, the party is trying to pitch seniors like Shailaja in the polls to win enough seats to be counted in Parliament. But sources say that most of them are not keen on moving to Delhi.

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