The role of Congress in forcing Modi to withdraw key decisions
DELHI DIARIES | CBI raid at Rabri Devi’s residence, Harsh Vardhan’s sudden exit from the swearing-in of Delhi’s new lieutenant-governor & more
Published 29.05.22, 03:14 AM|
Man of steel?
- It is rare for the Narendra Modi Government to crumble under pressure. Two astonishing rollbacks — the bill to dilute the Land Acquisition Act and farm laws — happened after massive agitations. The perception is that Modi prefers to brazen it out in spite of criticism as the image of a robust leadership is too precious for him. But the truth is different: Modi has betrayed nervousness under pressure and withdrawn crucial decisions. Elections influence the rollbacks, but not always. The controversial project to link the Narmada and Tapi rivers in Gujarat was scrapped fearing a massive tribal backlash before the elections this December, but the government also held back disinvestment decisions in many public sector units. Although this was not interpreted as signs of weakness or sensitivity towards allegations of corruption, it is absolutely unusual for this government to change its decisions without public outrage. Interestingly, the Congress had a hand in all these rollbacks. While Rahul Gandhi led the struggle against the dilution of the Land Acquisition Act, the Congress lent its full support to the farmers’ movement. The Congress also fiercely opposed the Concor sale. One person who must be chuckling after the decision to sell Pawan Hans and CEL was put on hold is the Congress spokesperson, Gourav Vallabh, who held press conferences decrying the decisions as scandalous. Even some Congress leaders were laughing when Vallabh raised the issue of Sahibabad-based CEL, but he is having the last laugh.
- The Central Bureau of Investigation raided the Patna residence of Rabri Devi, former chief minister of Bihar and wife of the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief, Lalu Prasad, for 12 hours with regard to an alleged ‘land for job’ scam in the railways. Rumours had it that the CBI team misbehaved with Rabri Devi, angering party supporters. They shouted slogans and burned effigies. When the raid finally ended and the 10-member CBI team — including a woman officer — stepped out, it faced a hostile crowd of RJD supporters, who shoved and abused the sleuths. When Rabri Devi, now the leader of the Opposition in the Bihar legislative council, came to know about the situation, she came out and shouted at party supporters and asked them to behave. When they did not, she lost her temper and slapped one of the people creating the ruckus. The sound was like the crack of lightning and everybody was stunned. The CBI team then managed to leave safely without further untoward incidents. Later, people also found out that Rabri Devi had not forgotten her hospitality and had offered water and tea to the sleuths during the raid.
- A former Union minister known for his composure recently lost his cool over a seat at the swearing-in of Delhi’s new lieutenant-governor. The Bharatiya Janata Party member of parliament, Harsh Vardhan, walked off in a huff from the event after there was a confusion about the seating arrangement and he was made to wait. After an outburst in front of TV cameras, Vardhan later tried to play down his exit by congratulating the new LG, Vinai Saxena, on Twitter.
- The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has ordered all senior transport department and Delhi Transport Corporation officers to travel by bus once a week and give feedback to improve services. The AAP has drawn flak for not doing much to augment the dwindling fleet which has lost out to the more expensive metro rail. With the induction of 150 electric buses last week, which were initially made free, AAP hopes to walk the talk about caring for the aam aadmi.
- The Bihar CM and Janata Dal (United) leader, Nitish Kumar, is a seasoned politician with 50 years of experience. But this is not a guarantee against faux pas. At a function at a girls’ college of the Patna University, the CM said that it was an unjust thing that girls had to give dowry to get married. “People should understand. Marriages lead to children. If a boy weds a boy will anybody be born,” asked Kumar. For once, JD(U) had no answer to the attacks on Kumar.
- The former PM and Janata Dal (Secular) supremo, HD Deve Gowda, who turned 90 recently, is not ready to retire and has grand plans to form a Third Front against the BJP and Congress at the national level. His meeting with the Telangana CM, K Chandrashekar Rao, is seen as the first of many such discussions. The TRS chief has already held a similar meeting with the AAP in Delhi. The Gowda-Rao initiative has earmarked the Trinamul Congress, AAP and the Samajwadi Party as alliance partners
- There is no ‘son’ rise, at least as far as BS Yediyurappa is concerned. The BJP has denied a ticket to his heir apparent, BY Vijayendra, for a sure seat in the legislative council. Yediyurappa tried to play it down by saying his son would have a bigger role to play. The denial of the ticket is seen as the doing of the BJP national general-secretary (organisation), BL Santosh, whose dislike for Yediyurappa is well-known. Santosh has been on a mission to cut Yediyurappa down to size, with the apparent blessings of the national leadership.