Poetry for Vajpayee
After the Kalash Yatra—for immersion of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ashes in rivers across the country, the BJP is lining up more remembrance programmes for the former PM. Kavi sammelans, a soiree of poetry, at no less than 4,000 venues, are being organised. Vajpayee, indeed, wanted to be remembered as a poet and was fond of reciting his own poems.
Those who had known him well over his many decades in politics cannot forget how his face would light up while reciting ‘Geet nahi gata hu… geet naye gata hu’—the poet-PM traversed from despair (sing no song) to hope (sing a new song).
The BJP may use this as its theme song of the 2019 elections. One of those rare politicians, Vajpayee would often spend his free time listening to music or reading poetry. The BJP insiders admit that the party was overwhelmed by the spontaneous lamentation his death generated from all sections of society. Terming it as ‘Atal renaissance’, a senior leader claimed the sentiments were strong enough to even reduce anti-incumbency feelings in Madhya Pradesh (Vajpayee’s home state), Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
The Congress Kamal
Well, the Madhya Pradesh polls may not be easy for incumbent CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan, but for the Opposition Congress. If GOP leaders and workers are to be believed, the infighting continues. MPPCC chief Kamal Nath, after the initial noises of reviving the party in every corner of the state, remains mostly inaccessible. Last seen, he was reading Hanuman Chalisa in a temple.
The desperate MP Congress unit claims that “our Kamal is more to be found in temples than in the party headquarters of Bhopal’’. Meanwhile, Jyotiraditya Scindia, who had built quite a momentum before Nath arrived on the scene as the state chief, has also been missing in action. No major rallies are in sight.
Maya in the midland
The Congress and Kamal Nath are banking on Mayawati aligning with them in Madhya Pradesh in order to consolidate the Dalit vote. Well, after taking a my way or the highway stance, Mayawati seems to have fallen in line. The BSP chief is ready for an alliance with the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, without insisting on a three-state formula.
Many are attributing this change in Mayawati to CBI activities in her backyard. The premier probe agency recently picked up one of her confidantes late at night, apparently to confront the person with fresh evidence on the long-festering DA case. If the message to BSP was: desist from any grand alliance-making in UP, Maya is not paying heed to it. In fact, it has increased her determination, claims a BSP legal eagle.
‘Modicare’, the insurance-based health care programme, is supposed to be a game changer for the health sector and 2019. So is the belief in the BJP camp. The national rollout was not quite announced from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the name was—Pradhan Matri Jan Arogya Abhiyan (PMJAA). But Health Minister JP Nadda replaced ‘Abhiyan’ with ‘Yojana’, making the PMJAA the PMJAY. This tweak is seen as a good omen for 2019.
After two decades of being the custodian of the Congress treasury, Motilal Vora has assumed a new avatar, General Secretary Administration. In other words, he would still call the shots on who sits where at AICC, as well as remaining the custodian of the INC’s real estate holdings, not inconsiderable. The BJP is rivalling the INC’s property holding only now. And Vora has made it clear to all that he’s happy to have passed the baton back to Ahmed Patel.
At arm’s length
Three days or so before Arun Jaitley took back charge of his Finance and Corporate Affairs portfolios, the stand-in minister had to make himself rare in the North Block office. The entire room had to be redone and disinfected. Even after Jaitley has assumed charge, everyone, from bureaucrats to visitors, has been asked to maintain an arm’s distance from the FM. No handshake or proximity of any sort is allowed.
The author is Political Editor, TNIE. Email: santwana@