Off the record

No storm in a teacup

While the Bihar BJP was rejoicing over Narendra Modi’s successful ‘chai pe charcha’ (discussion over tea) last week, the CPM general secretary Prakash Karat felt that the event was no storm in a teacup. The Left leader opined that it was purely a marketing gimmick to con people.

And so was Modi’s meeting with US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell. “The meeting which Modi held with Powell was a pre-poll tea party. Now he will hold a post-poll tea-party with Ambanis and Adanis,” Karat said. 

Karat was addressing a Vikalp rally (option meet) in the State Capital where he predicted that Third Front will become a real force once the polls are over. “The leaders of 11 non-Congress and non-BJP parties are meeting in Delhi on February 22 to give the formation a formal shape. This front will prove pollsters, who are creating a Modi wave, wrong,” said Karat, who is toying with the idea of tying up with the ruling JD (U) in Bihar.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

NaMo mania in BJP

Earlier, it used to be the Congress wherein some names were too sacred to be forgotten for even a moment.

Now, other parties are showing the same syndrome. Lalu, Mulayam, Jayalalitha, Mamata, and Mayawati - all of them have attained the status of semi-gods among their party workers and sympathisers as has been the case with Sonia Gandhi. Now the disease has spread to BJP MPs as well. They have been mentioning names of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani but in a spontaneous manner. They seem to be feeling the same pressure as their counterparts do.

The proportion that this newly acquired infection of BJP has acquired could be seen in the just concluded session of Parliament when Venkaih Naidu had to add the name of Narendra Modi in a great hurry. Naidu dropped his name during the debate on Telangana Bill in Rajya Sabha just to inform that Modi has said “Jai Telangana” and “Jai Seemndhra” at a meeting in Hyderabad. Shahnawaj Hussain did the same in Lok Sabha. 

Anil Sinha, New Delhi

Security face a tough time

As the Lok Sabha took up the Telangana Bill for consideration, parliament security had a tough time in hand. Some members, who were suspended from the Lok Sabha by Speaker Meira Kumar after the pepper spray incident, were seen in Parliament as well.

Two policemen in plainclothes and one watch and ward staff each were tasked with the onerous responsibility of ensuring that the suspended members do not enter the Lok Sabha chamber. 

At least two members were stopped in the entrance lobby of the Lok Sabha by the six security personnel tailing them. “These members from Andhra Pradesh are well built that it is difficult for one security person to tackle them,” quipped a member of the security. The Speaker had suspended 13 members from Seemandhra and three from Telangana for creating unruly scenes in the Lok Sabha on February 13. While L Rajagopal, who used pepper spray in the House resigned from his membership soon after, several other members who had been suspended were seen in the Lower House on Friday.Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi.

Dwindling fortunes

When the ship seems to be sinking, rats and people both start deserting the vessel even if it is cruising and trying to reach the banks. Shiv Sena, the party which once had people queuing up at its door is now grappling with the problem of exodus.

In a matter of one month, three key MPs from hinterlands have defected to the Congress and the NCP. The party which hardly has a base outside Mumbai precincts, the defection has come as a bolt from the blue.

On Saturday, Parbhani MP Ganesh Dudhgaonkar even though not being assured of a ticket met NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and formally joined the party. Last week another influential political leader and MP from Shirdi Bhausaheb Wakchaure sneaked off to meet Congress leaders.

Shiv Sena leadership sheepish over the flock leaving its fold admits in private that more desertions are likely to take place in the coming days.

Prabhat Sharan, Mumbai

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


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