Tejashwi Yadav and his elder brother, Tej Pratap Yadav, sons of the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief, Lalu Prasad, recently strolled into a private hospital and took the Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, by paying for it. Unfortunately, this sent several leaders of the ruling National Democratic Alliance into shock. The latter had been yapping away about the need for the two brothers to get vaccinated in order to set an example for people. Some were even accusing them of harbouring non-scientific biases against Covid-19 vaccines. But all the juicy gossip was suddenly taken away from the detractors of the RJD scions. Not to be outdone, the leaders of the ruling alliance gathered themselves and started accusing the leader of Opposition, Tejashwi, of insulting the common people by refusing to take the free vaccines provided at government hospitals. Some even said that he reneged on his decision to take the vaccine only after everybody in Bihar is vaccinated. A clever Tejashwi, though, refused to get drawn into this vaccine politics, and said: “I always used to hear the saying ‘you can’t please everyone’, but am experiencing it now.” However, an RJD leader revealed that the two brothers got inoculated because of the decision of the Speaker of the legislative assembly to not allow non-vaccinated people inside the premises during the monsoon session.
Nitish Kumar File picture
earing jet-black cataract goggles, the chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, rolled down the window of his car at the airport. He had just returned from Delhi where he got his eyes operated on. “All is well. The doctors have asked me to stay away from dust and smoke,” he said. Several were left grimacing at the remark. They pointed out that the CM has forgotten that Patna often has the dubious distinction of being the most polluted city in the country, owing mostly to dust particles and smoke. People whispered that Kumar, being the CM, could easily escape pollution at his sprawling official residence. “Nitish has been here for almost 16 years and we have noticed dust and smoke levels rising every passing year. The cases of eye, chest and skin ailments are shooting up due to this. He has good intentions of curbing pollution, but always falls short on will and implementation,” a senior pollution control board scientist said.
Speculations about a cabinet expansion by the prime minister, Narendra Modi, have been doing the rounds for some time now. But no one knows when it will take place. Not allowing any information to leak is seen as an achievement by the current regime. During an informal gathering, Amit Shah had told a probing reporter that gone are the days when news about the party and the government got leaked. The centralized structure of the government and the ruling party makes this easy. Critics say that only “two people” are decision-makers. Names of some of the possible inductions into the cabinet have been floated in the media. Many Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are wary that if their names get published, then they may get rejected in spite of being considered. During informal chats with journalists some leaders are heard requesting that their names should not be printed.
A student at a university under the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has been fined Rs 5,000 for questioning the CM over a fee hike and changes in the reservation policy. The Master’s student, Neha — the vice-president of AISA’s Delhi unit — posted her remarks in a chat box during the webcast of the convocation in December last year. What is strange is that Kejriwal entered politics with protests, hunger strikes and even a dharna outside Parliament in 2014. AISA claims Neha has been singled out since several students had posted such comments. The varsity has evaded queries about the fine.
Akhil Gogoi’s release from judicial custody will reinvigorate Assam politics. The 46-year-old anti-CAA crusader, peasant rights activist and first-time MLA is being seen as the spark the Opposition needs to take on the formidable CM, Himanta Biswa Sarma. If he plays his cards right, Gogoi could be difficult to stop. Political observers feel the battle-hardened Sarma and Gogoi could dominate state politics — there will be a one-man ruling party and a one-man Opposition, one of them said. The ‘divided, rudderless and shrinking’ Congress thus runs the risk of becoming a bystander in the Sarma-Gogoi tussle — a scenario the BJP-led alliance won’t mind, except for Gogoi breathing down its neck.
The Kerala BJP president, K Surendran, was already smarting from the poll debacle when bribery allegations hit him. He is now the prime accused in two cases related to poll bribery. His party is in a dilemma since replacing him would imply guilt. But factions within the party are leveraging the situation to dislodge the president who has antagonized too many of them. That leaves the Central leadership in a fix, foiling its plans to rebuild the party in a state that has consistently rejected it.
Kerala is already missing its ‘teacher’ who steered the health ministry till the Left Front decided to drop all ministers from the previous cabinet. The mark that KK Shailaja ‘Teacher’ left seems indelible; her successor in Veena George cannot keep up in spite of doing a decent job. File picture
Kerala is already missing its ‘teacher’ who steered the health ministry till the Left Front decided to drop all ministers from the previous cabinet. The mark that KK Shailaja ‘Teacher’ left seems indelible; her successor in Veena George cannot keep up in spite of doing a decent job. Even the Central European University has recently picked Shailaja for the prestigious Open Society Prize. It seems the adage, once a winner always a winner, was coined for women like Shailaja.