Missing Without Action
Even 22 days after Darjeeling hills flared up again for Gorkhaland statehood, Lok Sabha representative S S Ahluwalia of the BJP is missing. This has caused agitators to raise questions on his duties and responsibilities towards the region that he represents.
More Trouble for West Bengal
West Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has accepted the resignation of Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) chief Bimal Gurung after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha burnt the GTA Accord and stated that the semi-autonomous council was obstacle to Gorkhaland statehood. The two events have rendered the council completely useless, making things complex for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in administering the volatile hills.
Mothering the Alliance
As CM Nitish Kumar’s support for Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind heightened a verbal duel between JD(U) and ally RJD, some leaders spoke with metaphorical fancies. JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi said his party is the “mother of the alliance” and won’t do anything to break the ties. This hurt RJD leaders, who thought Tyagi was hinting that they were destabilising the alliance. RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said, “The mother of the alliance are Bihar’s people. They’ll not want it to break down.” Opposition BJP leaders chuckled as the allies sparred. “Who is the father of this alliance?” asked a BJP leader, laughing.
Tej, the Mighty
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s elder son and Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav is seen as more politician-like and ambitious. So when RJD state executive committee member Sanoj Yadav alleged that Tej Pratap beat him up during an iftaar party, few believed him. Sanoj, a burly man, wept before journalists, who wanted to know how exactly Tej Pratap could have beaten him up, if at all. Tej Pratap denied the charge, saying Sanoj had been expelled from RJD earlier. Instead of approaching police, Sanoj then sought help from BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi. Even RJD leaders wonder if Tej Pratap is mighty enough to physically attack Sanoj.
BJP leader and MP Shatrughan Sinha keeps perplexing his party colleagues about his future direction. Days after BJP named Ram Nath Kovind as NDA’s Presidential candidate, Sinha ruffled many saffron feathers by saying BJP veteran L K Advani should have been chosen instead. Then, when relations between Nitish Kumar and ally Lalu Prasad Yadav dipped to a new low over Presidential candidates, Sinha tweeted that a possible parting of ways between the two is “certainly not a healthy sign for a healthy democracy or for Bihar”. “One doesn’t know which way an unhinged shotgun will fire,” said a frustrated BJP leader.
Bash After Bashing
Out of power and drastically low in numbers in the Assembly, the Samajwadi Party leadership is leaving no opportunity to steal media glare. Two back-to-back birthdays gave them ample opportunity for that. First it was party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle and Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav’s 71st birthday. Nobody remembers how his last birthday was celebrated, but this time party bigwigs—minus Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav—were present in Saifai when Ram Gopal cut his birthday cake. Then on Saturday, the party headquarters wore a festive look to wish its president a happy 44th birthday. All party workers pledged to plant five saplings as a gift to Akhilesh bhaiyya.
Prajapati, the Prisoner
The idiom “fallen on hard times” can’t have a better case study. From one of the most powerful and “moneyed” minister in the erstwhile SP government, rape accused Gayatri Prasad Prajapati is cooling his heels in Lucknow Jail like a common prisoner, allowed just the luxury of a fan. If this was not enough, he was denied home-cooked food, and the jail guards chased away the men who came to deliver it. Prajapati reportedly cried like a child when his mentor, SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, visited him in jail. This triggered Mulayam’s outburst, who said “innocent” Prajapati was being treated like a terrorist.