Opposition Unity’ is a dish easy to eat but extremely difficult to cook. And if you opt for a ‘ready-to-eat’ version, then it will surely burn holes into your pockets. So now everyone is sweating it out in preparation for this. There is a strong wish for an opposition candidate for the presidential election. But the formulas for opposition unity have all failed so far — from Rajya Sabha polls to municipal elections. It fizzles out even in places that have an Aghadi (alliance) government. Tall claims are now being made regarding ‘Opposition Unity’ in the presidential election. But even the stalwarts are not fully convinced by these boasts of unity. It would not be a surprise if the game of nominating candidates is handed over to ‘Computer Ji’. Some of the pro-unity people in the opposition camp seem to agree with this.
Ministers on double duty
Former BJP ministers who had hoped to get some important role in the party are seeing their troubles getting doubled. Whenever they visit the party office, they sense the workers staring at them and saying ‘Ab aaya oont pahad ke neeche‘. Another, and even bigger, problem for them is that the BJP sees incumbent ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Bhupendra Yadav as its best performing party leaders. Despite being ministers, both never stopped giving time for party-related affairs. Now, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has been added to this list. In the past few months, Gajendra has done a lot of work for the BJP, which made the party appoint him as the coordinator of the 14-member team constituted for the presidential election. These hardworking ministers have impacted the morale of the former ministers.
Bulldozer in waiting
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s bulldozer has been on a rampage demolishing properties of alleged protesters, mostly Muslims, in Uttar Pradesh. Now, the state has witnessed a lot of uproar and against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the Indian Army. From pelting police officers and buses with stones to setting train bogies on fire, protesters have been on a rampage. The question everyone’s asking is: will these people also get the same bulldozer treatment? Those in the know say it might not happen until the CM receives the green signal, and any delay in using bulldozer might affect Adityanath’s ‘tough guy’ image.
Different type of field
Union Minister and former Army chief General V.K. Singh (retired) has emerged as a strong supporter of the Agnipath scheme. He has been quite vocal in the media, taking on the Congress for its criticism of the army recruitment scheme. Ironically, a BJP worker, who is still confused about the scheme, dropped a message to the minister: ‘Had you joined the Army under the Agnipath scheme, you would not have been in the BJP right now.’ The party now fears that the worker’s message to Singh might go viral on social media.
We stoke the fire so you become a firebrand
A Union minister is happy that he got a second chance. It is said that this minister becomes restless if he does not see his face on TV for a day or two. Ever since RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remark to not go looking for a Shivling in every mosque, the minister had been feeling ‘unemployed’, so to speak. Just a few days ago, he confided in a colleague that he was looking for some ‘issue’ that would put him back on TV before ‘people forget our faces’. Lo and behold! The defence minister seems to have listened to his plea. Since the announcement of the Agnipath scheme, there has been a distinct glow on this minister’s face.
Is the Indian Army ageing?
It is being said that the Narendra Modi government is re-reading ThePrint Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta’s February 1989 article published in India Today magazine. As per the article, there were 2 lakh soldiers in the Indian Army in 1962, which rose to 8 lakh in 1965, with the average age of soldiers much lower than what it is currently. It is being wondered if the India Army is ageing and whether the ‘Agnipath’ scheme can fix that.
Bharat Agrawal is Executive Director, Dainik Bhaskar Group, and a columnist.
By special arrangement with Dainik Bhaskar and translated by Ram Lal Khanna from the original in Hindi.