Perform or Perish: Ahead of the 2018 state elections, the ruling BJP’s guiding mantra for its MLAs is “perform or be ready to perish”. State party president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan recently made it clear MLAs’ performance is under continuous scanner and that non-performers will be replaced with more promising candidates. During his Bhopal visit, BJP president Amit Shah had also told the state party unit to work for empowerment of booth level workers, which had reaped major dividends in the UP polls.
Boost to BJP Oldies: Shah’s intention of not stopping old party leaders from contesting polls has revitalised nine-time MLA and ex-CM Babulal Gaur and former Union and ex-MP minister Sartaj Singh. Septuagenarian Singh and octogenarian Gaur were dropped from Shivraj Singh Chouhan Cabinet in June 2016 as the BJP disallows 75-plus candidates. Shah recently explained that it wasn’t the party’s the CM’s discretion to induct
or drop anyone from his team.
Mixed Fortunes: Congress did well to win seven seats in Chhindwara, Balaghat and Mandla districts. Chhindwara is the stronghold of former Union minister and MP Kamal Nath. On the contrary, BJP won for the first time two local bodies head posts in Kailaras and Dabra, both in the stronghold of the party’s chief whip in Lok Sabha and former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. In Congress state president Arun Yadav’s native Khargone, the party won posts of heads of two local bodies, making many party leaders in Bhopal feel that had Scindia campaigned for party candidates in Dabra and Kailaras, the outcome could have been different.
Rewarded and ‘Humiliated’: Chhattisgarh school education minister Kedar Kashyap first awarded tribal officer S R Elma for his active social works. But after Kashyap received a complaint against Elma, a general manager of Kondagaon district industries centre, the minister allegedly threatened him to beat him with his shoes. A shocked Elma lodged a complaint with the collector against the minister, who denied any such remark.
Congress Exploits Cow Deaths: The opposition state Congress questioned the RSS’ silence over the deaths of hundreds of cows in gaushalas run by their party leader Harish Verma, who allegedly starved the animals to death. “Where are the gau rakshaks now?” asked Congress chief spokesperson Ramesh Varlyani. The BJP accused the Congress of “playing politics” over the cow deaths. Over 300 cows died in three government-aided cow shelters owned by Verma, who is now in jail.
Taste of a Jam: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh got a taste of what the common man goes through every day on the streets. Singh’s cavalcade was stuck in a traffic jam for over half-an-hour due to heavy rains at an intersection in Chandigarh. With no traffic policemen in sight, his security staff had to haggle and make way for his convoy.
Pre-poll Promises Crawl Along: A talkative Cabinet minister famous for his outbursts against the previous SAD-BJP government who has suspended over 40 officials is quiet now. His department officials, worried about who he’ll target next, are taking baby steps, leading to slow work. With work crawling at snail’s pace, some are wondering how the minister will be able to fulfill his pre-poll promises.