Addressing a public gathering at a rally in Pathankot, Punjab Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa implored Rahul Gandhi to announce that he will accept the post of prime minister, if the party comes to power in 2024. He asked him not to install a ‘farzi’ (proxy) PM. There was complete silence after Bajwa’s speech. Rahul asked party general secretary KC Venugopal, who was sitting next to him, about what was really said. Since the speech was in Punjabi, Venugopal couldn’t explain. When another Punjabi leader was summoned, he explained its meaning in detail. Rahul was left in a dilemma. By the way, Bajwa has been quite successful in the Congress party till now. It is hard to dismiss it as merely a ‘slip of tongue’.
The nutritious discussion
During the BJP national executive meeting in New Delhi last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence for the entire time was a subject of discussion among the delegates. The BJP’s top leadership was engaged in political thought processing for two consecutive days. Apart from this, the arrangements made for the meet were also discussed a lot. Organisational secretary BL Santosh kept a close watch on each and every detail. The culinary arrangements also had a distinctive touch. Besides Delhi’s traditional dal makhani and shahi paneer, there were local indigenous dishes from across the country. An entire lunch was dedicated to millets. Delegates from around the country found their region’s cereals at the meet. The Prime Minister personally enjoyed all this. After all, it was on India’s initiative that the UN declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
Stick to your work, forget freebies
Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai, who came to the national executive meeting in Delhi expecting some freebies, was tasked with a challenge instead. He had apprised PM Modi that the Congress party is promising free electricity and Rs 2,000 cash in the state, so the BJP should also do something on these lines. However, the PM advised him to remain focused and keep faith in his administration. If it goes well, then just like Gujarat, freebies will turn out as a dud in Karnataka too. Now that the PM has spoken, only the election results will reveal as to whether this ‘advice’ provides some succour to the CM or turns into a challenge for him.
Will defect when discharged
In the politics of Bihar, the ‘Upendra Kushwaha factor’ still remains waitlisted. Nobody knows what will happen next. Everyone is eagerly waiting to see when he is discharged from AIIMS. Bihar BJP leaders are visiting his ward everyday to enquire about his ‘condition’. It is widely believed that Kushwaha enjoys the support of several JDU MLAs who are looking forward to join the BJP on the pretext of their Leader of Parliamentary Board (Kushwaha) switching over to the BJP.
Real news is about RJD’s coup
The ‘entertainment value’ is integral to Bihar’s politics. Still, the ‘super entertaining news’ is that very soon the RJD might form its own government in Bihar. MLAs of RJD, Congress, HAM and Left parties are already in favour of an RJD government instead of a Nitish Kumar-led government. They are only three MLAs short of the majority mark. And arranging three MLAs might not be that tough. The entertaining news number 2 is that BJP also likes this. It’s own calculations are that once Nitish’s barn is bolted, some of his horses (MLAs) might come to BJP as well.
BJP’s consolation prize
Very soon a by-election is going to be held for the Egmore assembly seat in Tamil Nadu. Panneerselvam, who has been expelled from the AIADMK, is exploring an option to go with BJP. He is also supported by Sasikala and TTV Dhinakaran. On the other hand, AIADMK leader Palanisamy is saying that BJP is already an ally of the NDA that also includes his party. BJP is quite pleased due to this. It feels that the party has become strong in Tami Nadu, that’s why these leaders are coming out with statements to side with the BJP.
Moral escape route
BJP Chief JP Nadda has received an extension of tenure till June 2024. It means that his post as party president is secured till the next Lok Sabha elections. However, to be sure, it is not that secure either. Before 2024, Assembly elections in 9 states are to be held in 2023 itself. In case of victory, he will have a safe passage till 2024. But what about failures? A senior party leader says that the party puts a lot of emphasis on morality. So he can always be relieved of his responsibility under the guise of ‘moral responsibility.’
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has also started to morph into its new avatar. It means it is turning high tech. World class arrangements are being made regarding both information technology and information systems. This time the pratinidhi sabha meet of the RSS is being held in Samalkha, Haryana; and that too among absolutely modern arrangements. The pracharaks will be introduced to the ultra- modern methods of farming. It is envisioned to present Sevadham, built at a cost of several hundred crores rupees, in front of pracharaks from across the country as a profitable business model.
By special arrangement with Dainik Bhaskar.
Translated from Hindi by Ram Lal Khanna and edited by Prashant.