Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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Buzz in UP BJP is about a new chief & ‘lights’ have been switched on for AAP govt in Punjab

AAP is said to be taking measured steps in this intra-party matrimonial alliance. It’s apprehensive the BJP might accuse it of promoting dynastic politics.

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Shrikant Sharma was energy minister in the previous Yogi Aditaynath government in Uttar Pradesh. Now, he is ‘former’ energy minister. But his political meter is still on. There is buzz among his supporters and well-wishers that he will be appointed president of UP BJP, replacing Swatantra Dev Singh who has now become a minister in the new cabinet. There is also speculation that he might be brought back to central politics and appointed as national general secretary. The party can also ask him to contest from Mathura in the 2024 general elections. So, the lights are off but the meter is running.

Excess voltage

In Punjab, the adage of ‘lights off, meter on’ is being written in reverse order. Bhagwant Mann’s own lights have been shining brightly ever since he became the CM, but the financial meter of the state is in tatters. In the very first meeting of the state cabinet, Mann was apprised of the poor condition of state’s finance. So, in order to jumpstart Punjab’s financial meter, the CM hastily asked for a financial package from the Prime Minister, seeking Rs 50,000 crore every year for the next two years. But the central government has issued directions to the Punjab government for installing smart prepaid meters in lieu of granting monetary assistance for free electricity. There is a three-month period for complying with this direction, but with a caveat – funds meant for power sector reforms can be withheld in case of failure in installing smart prepaid meters. The Punjab government may have promised to pay for 300 units of electricity consumed per household but now its own finances may be jeopardised.

To be done or not to be done

Amid this power and meter tussle, there is an explosive piece of information doing the rounds — a senior AAP leader is all set to marry the daughter of another big-shot in the party. But the AAP is taking measured steps in this intra-party matrimonial alliance. It’s apprehensive that the BJP might accuse it of promoting dynastic politics and it might meet the fate of the Congress. So, a ‘meeting of minds’ within the AAP is going on this issue.

No more minister’s quota

The PMO has revoked the privilege of the Human Resource Development Minister for allocating seats in Kendriya Vidyalayas or KVs. This comes after a former minister breached his limit for getting students enrolled in these schools. Now, no minister’s quota is applicable to KV admissions and only an MP can have this discretion. Grapevine has it that the Railways might be the next target.

The hidden genius

Paroshottam Rupala usually speaks in chaste Kathiyawadi Gujarati. But the MP was recently spotted having a conversation with south Indian MPs in English.

Much ado about getting declared ‘unfit’

For Lalu Yadav, finding a bed in AIIMS did not prove to be an easy task. His daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Misha Bharti had to make a call to the Union health minister. This, when the RJD leader’s family had already obtained a letter from the jailor of Ranchi prison that said Lalu could be hospitalised. This time, the doctor’s panel to examine Lalu’s health condition was formed by the AIIMS administration. Lalu’s kin had requested the leader be examined by doctors who have prior knowledge of his condition but the demand was overlooked. Consequently, Lalu was re-admitted in AIIMS in the afternoon, after being discharged the previous night.

Reopening Kashmir files

The central government is conducting a detailed probe to examine the role played by then chiefs of central intelligence agencies in Kashmiri Pandit’s exodus from the Valley. You know why, right?

Drawing a bigger line

After the integration of three municipal corporations of Delhi, the post of Delhi mayor shall become all too powerful. The central government is considering making the office as prestigious as that of the mayors of New York and London. The commissioner of the new MCD will also hold a rank equivalent to that of a secretary in the central government. Let’s see where it goes.

Bharat Agrawal is Executive Director, Dainik Bhaskar Group, and a columnist.

By special arrangement with Dainik Bhaskar and translated from the original in Hindi.

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