The Congress party’s skilled, youthful, sociology-educated types are eagerly waiting for a ‘Nath’ to emerge from within their ranks. Even if it’s just one — ek — Nath; nothing more like it if that ‘Ek’ Nath is rich and articulate like Shinde. They believe they can’t sit around seeing the ‘springs’ pass them by while their carriers lie dormant. They are now speaking their heart out to anyone and everyone. The ‘drama’ that played out in Maharashtra has deeply captured their psyche. Occasionally they discuss the ‘Goa Model’ too. Recently, a party was organised at an ex-MP’s residence. A Congress Lok Sabha MP from South India was also present. Many people present there urged him to become their ‘Nath’. These included some MLAs and MPs.
If not BJP, then Modi
BJP is now trying to make inroads into the Christian community. That too in states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu where the party’s presence is almost negligible. For this, the party has asked its Christian legislators and ministers from northeastern states to visit southern states and interact with the influential Christians there. Sources say the BJP will try to assert during these parleys that the Christian community may go for others in the state elections, but at the Centre, their choice should be Modi.
Four stalwarts, four directions
Once upon a time a Bollywood number “Jahan char yaar mil jaayein” was quite famous in Bihar politics. All these four yaars (friends) belonged to the same party, hailed from the same caste and same state, and were claimants of party ticket from the same Lok Sabha seat. Now, all four have gone in four different directions. One of them is Yashwant Sinha, who was contesting the presidential election. Second is RK Sinha, whom the BJP did not consider fit for a second term in the Rajya Sabha. Third is Ravishankar Prasad, about whom it is not sure whether the party will field him again from Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency. And fourth is Shatrughan Sinha, who is now a TMC MP from Asansol in West Bengal. Yashwant and Shatrughan Sinha are no longer part of the BJP, but the other two are so deeply entrenched there that they can’t go anywhere else.
Three types of candidates
The opposition’s candidate for the post of vice president can be of three types. As of now there is no agenda to come on a single platform to propose a joint candidate. This, when only a week is left for filing of nomination. Congress is hoping some other opposition party to propose a name so that it can get rid of the headache of choosing a name. This is the first type of candidate. The second type of candidate is one where Congress proposes a name so that parties like SP and JMM can offer support. Then there’s the third type where those opposition parties who say there’s no point in antagonising the BJP would rally behind any candidate that the BJP proposes.
Three heroes in a month
Who is the hero of the month? Seniors in the BJP keep distributing this title to someone from the party, and also from alliance, in light-hearted moments. Last month, there were three names who emerged as claimants to the title — Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and Telangana BJP president Bandi Sanjay Kumar. One of them helped form an NDA government in Maharashtra, the other one led the formation of that government and the third is someone who will likely help form a BJP government, if the senior BJP leaders are to be believed.
Reshuffle in Union Cabinet?
The Monsoon Session of Parliament is arriving and murmurs regarding an important pre-session ritual — Cabinet reshuffle — has begun. Only this time, the murmurs are very strong, for obvious reasons. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Minister of Steel Ramchandra Prasad Singh of JD(U) have already resigned after their Rajya Sabha term ended and they were not renominated by their respective parties. It is being said that they Naqvi might become a governor or, if things go his way, emerge as NDA’s candidate for the post of vice-president. On the other hand, RCP Singh might also join BJP in the near future and become a leader who can rival Nitish Kumar. Another line of gossip is that Modi might drop some ‘old faces’ and induct ‘fresh ones’. There are reasons behind this too. Since this could be the last reshuffle before the 2024 Lok Sabha election, it presents an opportunity to induct persons from different states, especially from the South, and some Brahmin faces from the North.
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.