Nora Chopra

Before any elections in UP or at the national level, Ajit Singh of Rashtriya Lok Dal starts bargaining for a plum slot. He has been nursing his   dream   of becoming chief minister of UP but unfortunately has lost out in every bargain so far, to the extent that his jat votes also slipped out of his hands in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to Narendra Modi and the BJP. As a result, both he and his son Jayant lost the elections.  Now again, this time he is bargaining with Nitish Kumar to project his son Jayant as the CM  candidate for UP. Suddenly the much talked about merger of  RLD into  JD-U has been halted. This time his son has proved to be a point of hindrance. Jayant has insisted on being made the CM face for this alliance and has made it into a strong condition. Initially Nitish Kumar who has marginal stake in UP had agreed but when Prashant Kishor conducted a poll for CM hopefuls for the alliance, he found out that while none of the contenders drew much of the response Jayant could not even muster one per cent among the respondents. After this was shared with Nitish Kumar and the Congress party it led them to having cold feet about accepting Ajit Singh’s burgeoning demands realising that much of the ground beneath his feet has shifted. So now the jat father and son turned to the BJP. The BJP wants a merger but Singh just wants an alliance to keep the door open for future.


What is the difference between self-proclaimed socialist Lohiaite Sharad Yadav and  so called capitalist Ahmad Patel. Well recently the father of an employee in a TV channel was lying on the death bed in RML hospital. He was in a precarious condition. A fellow journalist called up first Sharad Yadav seeking his help and intervention. He just had to pick up his phone and tell the doctors to shift the patient also a fellow Yadav, who had suffered a massive brain stroke, to the ICU. The family members did not have the money to take him to a private hospital, but the socialist leader’s response was cold. He said ‘achcha dekh lenge’. On the other hand the same journalist who was being pressurised because the condition of the patient was deteriorating, rang up Ahmad Patel of the Congress. He did not pick up the phone as usual. But the journalist sent him a message seeking his help for the dying patient. Within five minutes the said journo got a confirmation reply saying he had got the message. After half an hour, he sent another message saying he had done the needful and a senior doctor had visited the patient.


Former Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh’s term in Rajya Sabha is coming to an end in July 2016. He is a worried man because the Congress is struggling to find a seat for him. The only possibility is Karnataka where the Congress is in power but a large section of the party is dead against Ramesh’s nomination from Karnataka. They have already conveyed to the high command that Ramesh has represented Andhra Pradesh and he can’t just be accommodated from Karnataka for nomination to Rajya Sabha this year.


Assam elections are over and the guessing game has begun. Who would form the government the BJP or the Congress or will it be a hung Assembly. This is the first time that the BJP is contesting seriously in Assam and is hoping to get a majority. But reports suggest that Amit Shah has again floundered and repeated the Bihar blunder. He had said that if BJP comes to power, it will ensure that Bangladeshis will have to vacate Assam.  Shah had said before the first phase of polling that the party will drive out all the intruders. The result was that the first phase of polling was polarised in favour of the BJP. However, before the second phase of polling, a statement made by Himanta Biswa Sarma,  who shifted in August last  from the Congress to the BJP, saying that at least 50% of the migrants in Assam will have to go back impacted the BJP adversely as polling in this phase was in Muslim-dominated areas. In reaction to the polling in the first phase, the Muslims are said to have voted en masse for the Congress. In this phase the polling percentage shot up to a whopping 88. Its being said that Badruddin Ajmal has lost out to the Congress which, therefore, is now sure of forming a government.


Many senior politicians would be happy to accept a gubernatorial position. But Najma Heptullah is not among them. There are whispers that Heptullah is quietly resisting moves to send her to Raj Bhavan. She is apparently using informal channels to plead her case. Heptullah, reportedly, wants to spend one more year as a minister. There is a specific reason behind Heptullah's request. Vice-presidential elections are slotted for next year. Given the current electoral  college strength of the National Democratic Alliance, Najma is hopeful of bidding for vice-president position. Sources close to Heptullah are of the opinion that her status as a senior minister would help her exercise greater clout in the impending bargains than as a governor. (IPA)

Sunday, 24 April, 2016