Friends, foes and glasshouse-dwellers

Off the Record
Last Updated 21 October 2019, 01:14 IST

Polls apart in Bihar

The by-elections in Bihar, slated for October 21, presented a picture of sharp contrast.

One the one hand, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Modi shared the dais and campaigned unitedly for the NDA nominees in one Lok Sabha and five Assembly seats. On the other hand, there was the Grand Alliance (one is still not sure why it’s still called GA or Mahagatbandhan), where leaders of five different political parties were busy fighting with each other, instead of posing a challenge to the NDA candidates.

So, neither RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav campaigned for the Congress nominees in Samastipur (Lok Sabha seat) or Kishanganj (Assembly constituency), nor any Congress leader deemed it fit to canvass for the RJD nominees.

“Not only this, the top Congress leaders from Bihar, including former speaker Meira Kumar, ex-Kerala governor Nikhil Kumar, and former MPs Shatrughan Sinha and Kirti Azad shied away from campaigning for Mahagatbandhan leaders. Not surprisingly, the NDA will eventually have a field day,” averred a senior Bihar Congress functionary.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

No stones, because it’s a glasshouse

The higher education minister in the left-front government in Kerala, K T Jaleel, has alleged of malpractice in Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala’s son’s civil service selection. It was a counter-attack to an allegation raised by Chennithala, who is the Opposition leader in Kerala, against Jaleel for allowing special moderation of five marks to failed engineering students in Mahatma Gandhi University.

But Jaleel did not get support from other left-front leaders. CPM Kerala state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan made it clear that he did not favour making allegations against children of politicians to settle political scores. Kodiyeri seems to have taken the composed stand as he himself recently faced embarrassing situation after a Mumbai resident woman, who earlier worked as bar dancer in Dubai, alleged that Kodiyeri’s son Binoy abused her sexually after promising to marry her.

Arjun Raghunath, Thiruvananthapuram

It’s raining holidays in T-state

The TSRTC strike has turned a boon for lakhs of school children who were supposed to return to their classrooms after Dussehra holidays. The government’s decision to sack the RTC staff who failed to attend to duties and to press all the school and college buses into service added to the problem. Without starting negotiations with the staff, the government can’t release school buses. Without school buses, the children can’t attend their classes.

So far, the government has extended the festival holidays thrice. The fresh start date is the end of the month. Even as the educational institutions in Hyderabad and other parts of the state demanded that the government release their buses so that they can run schools, the government is not in a position to help them. While a few parents have sent their children back to grandparent’s places, others are looking for activity camps for children unable to bear the hyperactive children at home.

JBS Umanadh, Hyderabad

Friends to foes?

Saffron party leaders are upset with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) opposing BJP candidates in Haryana. BJP and SAD are allies in Punjab. This election in Jatland, however, has ruptured ties between the two parties. SAD is contesting elections in Haryana jointly with the INLD. BJP candidates are engaged in a bitter contest in the seats where SAD has fielded its candidates. SAD president Sukhbir Badal has minced no words in stating that the BJP’s hope of coming to power in Haryana was only a dream. He maintains there’s no BJP wave in Haryana. All this has annoyed the BJP.

The genesis of the problem lies in the failure of the two parties to enter a poll pact for the Haryana polls. The BJP poached a SAD MLA, which left the Akali Dal fuming, leading to the end of talks. Sources said that the developments that have unfolded may impact BJP-SAD alliance in Punjab.

Gautam Dheer, Chandigarh

(Published 20 October 2019, 18:19 IST)

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