Strains in Nitish-Lalu alliance
Not all’s well in Bihar. Even before Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharati and her husband Shailesh Kumar Yadav got embroiled in a property scam and her CA Rajesh Agrawal landed in the ED net or the Lalu-Shahabuddin tapes surfaced, the strains in the Lalu-Nitish grand alliance were apparent.
A former JD-U Rajya Sabha member well-known in Delhi’s power circles invited some people over to praise UP CM Yogi Adityanath ‘s ‘good work’. The tenor of the praise —’decisive corruption-free leadership’ — gave away the change in thinking. But the tensions are likely to persist without a rapture in the alliance any time soon, one of Nitish’s apolitical advisors claimed, with the quip that the ‘Bihar CM likes to maintain a unique identity’. A bit of it also has to do with who should be the opposition’s presidential candidate.
NCP springs a surprise on EVM hackathon
Nirvachan Sadan was giving hourly updates on the EVM contest in the last few days. Just as it was preparing to declare a walkover in the hackathon, it was flooded with applications from contestants. The most surprising of them was from the NCP. Though the Maharashtra lobby has been carrying out a sustained anti-EVM campaign, it took care not to create a ‘tamasha’ like AAP.
The NCP offensive is being spearheaded by Vandana Chauhan. The MP convinced Sharad Pawar that something was amiss. Apparently, in the Mumbai municipal polls, in over a dozen booths, the numbers of votes polled did not match the number of votes counted. That’s the basis of her doubt.
No names for the presidential race were discussed, was the official line after the meeting but a political heavyweight who had lined up an interview after the deliberations cancelled it. The meet itself was quite pathbreaking, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati sat next to one another. Mamata Banerjee and Sitaram Yechury took part in the discussions in full measure though Mamata skipped lunch. And Sharad Pawar suggested Sonia Gandhi should find a suitable Opposition candidate, or if need be form a committee. Well, Gopal Gandhi does not seem to stand a chance. A Left leader vehemently denied he could be the pick.
A matter of hilsa and mango
Despite the slugfest between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress, Mamata Banerjee met the PM with a litany of woes and demands for more funds. However, when the Teesta accord came up, Mamata is said to have countered it with a lament that Bangladesh has stopped sending hilsa to her state. Worse still, Bangladesh has increased the tax on mangoes three-fold, making it impossible for rare Bengal varieties from reaching Dhaka. Last heard, the Bangladesh High Commissioner is sending a fact-finding team to check Didi’s complaint.
Guv has the say in Delhi
Ever since Amit Shah declared that the BJP is ready to win a majority in the next Telangana Assembly, there’s been severe anxiety in the TRS camp. K Chandrasekhar Rao and family are not in the best of moods, much to Chandrababu Naidu’s pleasure. Till now, Governor ESL Narasimhan has managed the two rival CMs remarkably well. The former top sleuth has New Delhi’s ears on administrative issues, but for the political management Shah’s the last word.