Nora Chopra

The saying is that behind every successful man, there is a woman but not in the case of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. The entire credit in the making of Nitish Kumar as what he is today, goes to RCP Singh. If Nitish Kumar becomes the prime minister in future, the credit will go entirely to RCP Singh his confidante, adviser and guide. Contrary to the perception that it was Prashant Kishore who strategised the campaign of Nitish Kumar and the grand alliance, the campaign and the concept of the alliance was RCP Singh’s brainchild. Prashant Kishore is a simple technocrat and he just implemented what he was told. Kishore gave teeth to the political agenda of the grand alliance. To have the grand alliance was the concept conceived by RCP Singh to Nitish and his party worked on the dotted lines. From the schemes to give cycles to girls, making education compulsory for girls and empowerment to woman and the promise to put a ban on liquor once he became the CM, were the schemes that paid the maximum dividends and they were all conceived by RCP Singh. An IAS officer of 1984 batch from UP cadre but originally from Bihar, RCP took VRS from the services in 2010 to work for and with Nitish Kumar. Today he is a JD-U MP and the backroom player that he is, he continues to be the strength of the Bihar CM. Out of the two vacancies in JD-U quota, he is likely to be re- nominated to Rajya Sabha this June when his term comes to an end .


The appointment of Keshav Prasad Maurya, an OBC, as UP BJP chief  may not have rattled Mayawati or Mulayam Sngh Yadav, the sole claimant of most backward votes as their own support base is intact but it has certainly sent a flicker of hope and glee in the Congress camp which has no base in the state left after the dalits moved over to Kanshiram and the Muslims to Mulayam Singh Yadav. The Brahmins, the core voter of the Congress, had no option but to move over to the BJP. But now, the appointment of Maurya has really put off the Brahmin leadership of the saffron party. The upper castes leaders of the BJP were already feeling marginalised and neglected. Kalraj Mishra is the only Brahmin minister from UP. Lalji Tandon may not be born a Brahmin but his proximity to Atal Behari Vajpayee, the tallest Brahmin in the BJP in the Hindi belt, ‘made’ him a Brahmin.  Both Misra and Tandon are unhappy with the party high command for overlooking their contributions.  Not stopping at that, the speculation about Kalraj Mishra that he would be dropped in the next reshuffle because of the age factor. Beside Kesri Nath Tripathi, the only other Brahmin face in UP too is unhappy for being made a governor of a volatile state like West Bengal. All these sentiments can have a cumulative effect and can trigger trouble for the BJP in the 2017 Assembly polls.


Poetry is supposed d to be food for the soul. Congress President Sonia Gandhi attended a mushaira-cum-kavi sammelan in the capital recently. She was spotted giggling at times and even cheering some of the poets. As it turned out, however, most of the poetry was pedestrian; some were loaded with too much metaphor and rhetorical frills. Those who always see Sonia as aloof, were quite pleased to see the AICC chief at the event. Congress insiders though claim that Sonia's presence had another side to it. It was part of a well-thought-out strategy of the party. Apparently, a wise owl in the party has pointed out to Madam the significance of cultivating poets and men of letters who are fast becoming disillusioned with the Modi sarkar and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Some also recalled how poets like Kumar Vishwas had played a crucial role in stoking anti-government sentiments during the UPA-II reign. If this indeed is the rationale behind Sonia's presence at the event, it speaks volumes about the Congress president's desperation and the lack of a structured game plan against the saffron regime.


Although Mayawati had the dissatisfaction of seeing her party, the BSP,  fail miserably in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in UP, recent election surveys indicate that she might emerge the winner in next year's Assembly polls in the state. Some party leaders, therefore, want her to make overtures to influential caste leaders. Mayawati, however, does not want to throw caution to the wind. She is said to have told her confidantes that her priority is to keep the Dalit base intact given Amit Shah's attempts to make inroads into it. As proof, she pointed to the BJP's choice of the new state unit chief, Keshav Prasad Maurya, who is a backward community leader. Mayawati's calculations are simple. Unless she ensures that her support base remains loyal to her, there is little chance that either Brahmins or Muslims would flock to her fold.


After All the noise of love jihad where a Hindu boy can marry a Muslim girl and convert her to Hinduism, parliamentary affairs minister  Venkaiah Naidu, the parliamentary affairs minister surprised everyone in the BJP when he gave reception at his home for the son of his parliamentary secretary Afzal Amanullah. Amanullah is married to a Hindu Bengali girl from Kolkata. The function was attended by the finance Minister Arun Jaitley and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The question being asked in political circles is whether the Hindu wife has converted Amanullah or it is other way. (IPA)

Sunday, 17 April, 2016