BJP war room
The old BJP office at Ashoka Road has evolved into a war room for the coming big elections. It’s teeming with young professionals, foot-soldiers and biggies who are crunching poll data—the constituency-wise caste combinations, local issues, voting pattern, straw poll figures. Not to mention the preparation of material on the Modi government’s welfare programmes. Make no mistake the Bharatiya Janata Party personnel are already in battle fatigues.
The party’s much touted IT Department, of course, has shifted base to the new edifice at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg. And party chief Amit Shah too prefers to function from his exclusive imposing office on the top floor of the same new headquarters. Unless invited by Shah, entry to his new office is strictly restricted. He mostly meets people and media on the ground floor. So much so that the common elevator does not even stop at his top floor office. No such facility at the old office. Nonetheless, old is gold. Ashok Road war room would see brain storming sessions as well.
Justice Gogoi’s elevation
The formal announcement of Justice Ranjan Gogoi’s elevation as the next Chief Justice of India, succeeding CJI Deepak Misra, came from the PMO. It seems the pressure of catering to the 24×7 breaking news syndrome has taken a toll on the official news dissemination machinery. So, no sooner had the President put his stamp, a quick release on WhatsApp was put out through the PMO unit. The uploading of the notification on the Ministry of Law and Justice website was done later. Ironically, the intent was to avoid controversy over the appointment of the next CJI.
Detained for inauguration
The Madhya Pradesh elections are obviously a close fight. Both the ruling BJP and the Congress are racing to outdo each other. But a police detention over a medical college inauguration was the last thing that could be expected. Well, it happened! Congress MP Kantilal Bhuria and his supporters were detained by the Madhya Pradesh police for having inaugurated a government medical college a day before Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The CM was scheduled to do the honours. Bhuria, of course, could be blamed for trying to steal the show by force.
Babus seek poll tickets
It’s not just in Chhattisgarh that bright young civil servants, like the Raipur Collector, are eager to make a career switch to politics. If the BJP is backing Raipur’s OP Choudhary, the Congress in Rajasthan can’t decide who to back. Such are the numbers and apparently from all levels of bureaucracy. The GOP, which has a perennial problem with rebel candidates, is worried who to please at the cost of the party regulars.
Who to blame?
Under the opposition fire on the unexplained dilution of the ‘look out’ notice against Vijay Mallya, which helped him fly off with 65 leather bound suitcases, the probe agency has come up with endless number of explanations, including misjudgement. But a Rajasthan cadre official, in the original team that handled the case claimed, ‘the leader of the consortium of banks’ which lent money to Mallya, was to blame. Not only was the bank somehow convinced he would cough back the mammoth bad loan, the top banker was reluctant to share the papers or convert a civil default case into a criminal one.
The author is Political Editor, TNIE.