Speculation over Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s next move
DELHI DIARIES | Buzz over BJP feud after Sambit Patra’s visit to Puri where Aparajita Sarangi has stolen limelight, Adityanath’s visit to native Uttarkhand village & more
Published 15.05.22, 02:49 AM|
- The question about the chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, that is on everybody’s mind these days is: what are his intentions? Does he plan to become the president of India or the vice-president, or a Union minister, or will he leave the National Democratic Alliance altogether and embrace the Opposition? These are some of the rumours doing the rounds about Kumar. However, he is yet to reveal anything. Senior politicians are not surprised. They pointed out that Nitish’s role model is the former CM, Karpoori Thakur, who was famous for not confiding even to the closest of party leaders. An octogenarian politician, who has worked with Nitish for decades, said that the latter, while lodged in jail during the Emergency, used to speak about setting up an ashram in the Himalayas to train newcomers in politics. He forgot about this dream after coming to power. “The way he is trying to keep everybody — the allies and the Opposition — happy these days, it seems he could be well on the path of setting up the ashram, keep his word, and retire happily. He will need disciples from all parties. After all, socialist leader and [the] former prime minister, Chandra Shekhar, also had an ashram,” the veteran leader said. The ball is still in Nitish’s court.
- After the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national spokesperson, Sambit Patra, visited Puri to protest against the construction of the Shree Jagannatha Heritage Corridor, many are speculating whether he went there of his own volition or was prompted to act because of the actions of his party colleague and the member of Parliament from Bhubaneswar, Aparajita Sarangi, who has been protesting on this issue.
- Sarangi had drawn a lot of publicity after she was stopped at the outskirts of Puri and later allowed to enter the town after a heated debate with the authorities. This has apparently not gone down well with Sarangi’s rivals within the BJP. Patra had contested the Puri Lok Sabha seat in 2019 but lost to the Biju Janata Dal leader, Pinaki Misra. Since then, he has been trying to build up a strong base in Puri. Now with Sarangi making waves in Puri, not only Patra but many other BJP leaders appear to be worried.
- The recent visit of the Uttar Pradesh CM, Yogi Adityanath, to his native village in Uttarakhand has started whispers in the power corridors of Delhi. Adityanath was photographed touching his mother’s feet. This is being seen as a calculated move given its uncanny similarity with the picture of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, paying respect to his mother. According to reports, Adityanath, who has renunciated family life, visited his native place after many years. The development has caused a buzz around Adityanath’s alleged plan to position himself as the successor to the PM. There are other signs as well. He is trying to project himself as an efficient administrator. While many states witnessed communal clashes during the Ram Navami, Hanuman Jayanti and Eid celebrations, Adityanath could boast of peace in his state. In Lutyens’ Delhi, however, Yogi’s moves have led to restlessness among sections of the current regime.
- Earlier this week, activists from two Hindutva groups attempted to chant the Hanuman Chalisa at the Qutub Minar and demanded that the monument should be renamed Vishnu Sthambh. However, it turned out that many of them did not know the 40 verses of the devotional hymn. While the police prevented the protesters from entering the site, their ignorance was exposed when they were allowed to chant in front of cameras.
- The former chief election commissioner, Sunil Arora, has become the non-executive chairman of an agricultural start-up. There were rumours that Arora would become a governor or a lieutenant-governor. Such speculation was strengthened after his speech at an event organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. But the former Indian Administrative Service officer from the Rajasthan cadre put an end to all speculations by joining Gram Unnati, which is an agricultural value-chain addition firm.
- The preliminary test question paper for Bihar Public Service Commission was leaked recently. This is not the first time this has happened in Bihar. The state government cancelled the examination after protests by students. Soon after, a few officials deployed at one of the test centres were arrested for selected students were found to have been writing their papers even before the test could officially begin. However, there is no word from the investigating agencies about the VIP examinees who were reportedly accorded preferential treatment.
- The health minister of Kerala, Veena George, is by no means a poor performer. But occupying the chair once adorned by KK Shailaja, whose healthcare initiatives made her the darling of the people and put her on the cover of Vogue, has not been easy. Now, the deputy Speaker, Chittayam Gopakumar — he is from the Communist Party of India — has accused George of not answering her phone even when it is about an urgent matter. Since this is coming from a Left Demo