Please speak up Mr Prime Minister. This is the outcry from the Dalit allies of Narendra Modi and even the Dalit MPs in the BJP. Pressure has mounted on the Prime Minister who has not uttered a word on the Dalit lynching at Una in Modi’s Gujarat. As a result of which, the Dalits have mobilised against the BJP. Buckling under the pressure, the PM in his Mann Ki Baat, has sought suggestions on issues, which should be the part of his Independence Day speech on August 15. The Dalits in the BJP and the NDA allies are keeping their fingers crossed hoping that he would speak on the issue. The Dalit MPs who had joined the BJP on the eve of the elections are just watching and if things remain the same, there can be an exodus of the Dalits from the saffron party. The NDA allies too are watching with unease, particularly when even the Congress, which had nothing in its coffers, is trying its best to get back its original vote base of upper caste and the Dalits. With an eye on the Dalit and Brahmin votes, Congress president Sonia Gandhi launched the Congress campaign from Varanasi, the holy city of the upper caste Hindus, which is also Modi’s political turf. 


Prakash Javadekar, the only MoS who has been kicked up and has joined the cabinet rank, should thank Gautam Adani for his elevation. He has done maximum benefit to Adani as the minister for environment. He gave environmental clearance to Adani when the Chhattisgarh government cancelled the community land rights of local tribals over the forestland that was guaranteed under the Forest Rights Act. That is only one incident of benefitting  Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s favourite businessman.


The BJP leadership is desperate. It can go to any level to put all its rivals in place.  When Navjot Singh Sidhu called on the BJP president to inform about his decision that he was quitting, Amit Shah is supposed to have told him: “Tumhare upper jo case chal raha hai uske bare mein sochliya?” It is a different issue that despite the threatening Sidhu did not stop. This is what the BJP leadership is thinking about all its rivals, who they have failed to fight politically. While Mulayam Singh Yadav has surrendered, Mayawati is being seen as the next chief minister of UP, the BJP does not seem worried. “Her asset case is enough to put her down,” said a senior BJP leader. The speculation in political circles is before the elections, Mayawati’s disproportionate asset case may see her behind the bars. And then Priyanka Vadra is considered the trump card of the Congress. But what about her husband Robert Vadra, who has umpteen cases against him?“Is that not enough to reign in the Congress and its trump card?” said the senior BJP leader.


Ananth Kumar may have become the parliamentary affairs minister, his predecessor Venkaiah Naidu continues to be a prime government resource in negotiating with the Opposition for bills. Although Kumar is a six-time MP, he is yet to develop a personal rapport with many Opposition leaders in the current Rajya Sabha, which Naidu had been managing for the last two years. Recently, Naidu spoke to Opposition parties on the CAMPA bill that was stuck in the Upper House since last session.


Navjot Singh Sidhu, who resigned as the nominated Rajya Sabha member, is unlikely to join any party immediately. He is waiting for his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu to complete her term. The problem with Navjot Kaur is that she cannot resign in the midst of her term or else she will be disqualified, giving an opportunity to the election commission to hold election from her seat before the assembly polls. But if she completes her term, the election to her seat too will be held along with the assembly polls. As for Sidhu, he is yet undecided what he should do. He has had one round of talk even with Congress PCC chief Captain Amarinder Singh. He was very keen to join the Congress. Captain had offered him the chairmanship of the campaign committee. But with Manpreet Badal, his bête noir, asserting himself, Sidhu became reluctant. Then came the Aam Aadmi Party offer, but there too Kejriwal was faced with objections from the rank and file. The Punjab leadership is opposed to any outsider coming and taking over the party. Kejriwal had decided to resign from Delhi chief ministership giving his place to his deputy, Manish Sisodia and then he can be the chief ministerial candidate for Punjab. But with his problems on the rise in Delhi he has given up the idea. The fact that Kejriwal is from Haryana also stands in his way to become the CM of Punjab. It is for this he wants Sidhu to take the lead.  But as an alibi, he offered Sidhu the post of the chairman of the campaign committee. Sidhu continues to be in a dilemma. Sources close to him say that he is even toying the idea of floating his own party.(IPA)

Sunday, 7 August, 2016