In the new Parliament building, many places that used to be the hallmark of the previous Parliament House have disappeared. For example, the room which had the nameplate of Lal Krishna Advani as working president of NDA, now has been allotted to the BJP and bears the name of party president J.P. Nadda. Anyway, the NDA now increasingly exists only on paper. It’s hard to ascertain whether it has any room or function left to it.
Hither ‘N’, thither ‘DA’
Another thing difficult to ascertain is whether JDU is part of NDA or not. Right now there is not a single JDU minister in the central government, even though there is a BJP-JDU government in Bihar. But the tussle in Bihar is that both the BJP and the JDU are saying they would contest all 243 assembly seats. It means that in Bihar, NDA is being interpreted as ‘Nothing Doing Alliance’.
Blame it on the chickens
Scenes of continuous ruckus and persistent high-pitched noises, etc are nothing new for parliamentary sessions. It’s just like the good old days. The older mathadish do not see anything new in all this, although the newer hathadhish feel that they are ushering in a new revolution on a daily basis. Recently, 23 opposition MPs were suspended for the whole week due to their uproarious behaviour in the House. That’s all right. After this, these MPs decided to sit on a dharna. That’s fine, too. But they hadn’t planned their next move, and so, in haste, they decided to stay there for the entire night. There was a heavy downpour and all of them had to seek shelter under the shed. When the rain subsided, mosquitoes started to sting the hapless MPs, forcing them to take cover of nets. Then, it started to rain again during the night, so they once again fled inside the shed while carrying the mosquito nets. Passing time became a laborious chore. In between, a friend of the MPs sent some dinner. And the meal turned out to be a sumptuous chicken recipe. Later, someone noticed that they were eating in front of the Gandhi statue and the bones of the chicken were also being discarded there. Now, the videos and photos of this night out have gone viral on social media. It is yet to be decided as to who should be held responsible for this fiasco.
Jai Maa Lakshmi
It is often said that Goddess Lakshmi is fickle in her nature — but we have only now come to know the extent of her fickleness. In West Bengal, cash worth crores and jewellery worth several lakhs were found at the residences of some of the aides of former TMC minister Partha Chatterjee. Then, also in West Bengal, a currency counting machine had to be brought in to count all the cash recovered from the car of three Jharkhand MLAs. It is rumoured that the Enforcement Directorate has also come to know that these days Goddess Lakshmi’s benevolence is much more fruitful for the people from the eastern part of the country. The rest are worried as to when their photo will be published.
TMC in damage control mode
In any case, Partha Chatterjee has given a big issue to his detractors. Such a hefty stash of money hidden in such plain sight! CM Mamata Banerjee’s worry now is to ensure that the heat from the cash scandal does not affect the rest of her party, and even if it does, then it should be contained at least. This is called ‘damage control’. CM Banerjee is soon going to meet PM Narendra Modi in Delhi during a meeting of the NITI Aayog. Last year, Banerjee did not attend the meeting. But this time, she has not canceled her Delhi trip yet. It is being said that she would also carry out a wholesale reshuffle in the party as well as the state cabinet, and is also likely to hold a press conference in Delhi.
Travel at your own risk
Travelling in Haryana buses will teach you that the passenger is responsible for the safety of their belongings. Now this same idea seems to apply to the Haryana Pradesh Congress. The state unit has convened a Chintan Shivir in Panchkula like Udaipur. Invitations for this event, scheduled to be held in the first week of August, have been dispatched to all Congress persons, including Kiran Chaudhary. Now it’s not known whether she will attend the camp or not. In fact, ever since Ajay Maken accused her of malpractice in the Rajya Sabha election, Congress leaders have been avoiding her. Will Vivek Bansal come? A state Congress leader, who is working in AICC, said that if he comes, then he will have to protect himself on his own. Bansal is rarely seen at the party headquarters these days.
Bharat Agrawal is Executive Director, Dainik Bhaskar Group, and a columnist.