‘Operation Lotus’ has miserably failed in Delhi. A claim made by AAP, after accusing Prime Minister Modi and BJP of trying to dislodge its government by offering “its MLAs Rs 20 crore to join it or Rs 25 crore to get others.” On Thursday last, AAP ensured all of its 62 legislators in the 70-member Assembly were accounted for, both physically and online, at a meeting lasting minutes, at Chief Minister Kejriwal’s home. The BJP rubbishes the claim saying the MLAs “may have got such offers from liquor mafia, they should name them…Kejriwal is trying to dodge attention on his skewed excise policy and Dy CM Sisodia under ED scanner.” The AAP demands ‘ED must probe how Delhi BJP got Rs 800 to poach AAP MLAs.’ Both camos seem to be getting incoherently high amidst the liquor scandal.
After the meeting, the AAP flock even went to Rajghat to pray for failure of ‘Operation Lotus,’ with the BJP retorting: ‘The fact AAP leaders have gone to Mahatma Gandhi’s Samadhi means they have definitely committed an act which is to be considered a sin. So, in order to purify it, the BJP workers will sprinkle Ganga Jal on the Samadhi.” Surely, the histrionics wouldn’t amuse the public. On a serious note, the AAP has called a special session of the Assembly over the CBI, ED raids targeting its ministers and so-called “poaching” attempts by the BJP. The AAP will have a free run here undeniably given its majoritarian rule as BJP has only eight members. Rest assured the climax will playout over a long period of time, Hic!
Jharkhand Nagging Suspense
Are Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s days numbered? Will he eventually have to give up his kursi? News from Raj Bhavan is keenly awaited as a BJP MP tweeted on Thursday last: The EC letter has reached the Governor…I had announced that It will be done within August…”. More or less confirming news that in the morning Nirvachan Sadan ‘recommended’ to Governor Ramesh Bais his disqualification as an MLA, following a petition the BJP filed seeking the same for violating electoral law by extending a mining lease to himself. Soren’s office, however, had no word till then. But Soren wasted no time in hitting out. He alleged ‘blatant misuse’ of constitutional authorities and public agencies and its “complete takeover by BJP HQ in this shameful manner is unseen in Indian Democracy…It apparently seems that BJP leaders, a BJP MP and his puppet journalists have themselves drafted the ECI report, which is otherwise in a sealed cover report.” Bais has kept the suspense going as he told media he will be in a position to comment once he takes stock of developments after reaching Raj Bhavan. However, there are no two opinions that his decision shall be final. Nagging wait indeed for the ruling JMM United Progressive Alliance government and Soren.
Mahagathbandhan On Firm Ground
Expectedly, it was comfortable sailing for the newly-formed ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in Bihar Assembly. In all 160 MLAs voted in favour of the confidence motion for Nitish-Tejashwi government and none against as the BJP MLAs staged a walkout on Wednesday last. The going may not be easy as a smarting BJP intends to play an aggressive opposition’s role, with one of the matters listed in House business being related to ‘misconduct of some Mahagathbandhan MLAs’. What the old ally churns out would be worth a watch, but Nitish is not worried as he admitted severing ties with RJD in 2017 over corruption cases against Tejashwi, sating “five years have since passed. Not one thing has been proven”. A reflection on his judgement too? He lambasted the BJP for raising a row over IT Minister Israil Mansuri visiting Vishnupad temple with him. “What’s their grouse? Have their ministers not visited temples with me?” (a hint at senior BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain). But this didn’t cut any ice with the saffron party. It’s Gaya unit held a purification ceremony of the temple after bringing water from Falgu river and offered prayers there. Much water has flown over the politics being played out!
UP Focus on Jats
Long term planning. That’s the USP of BJP’s Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Eyeing the 2024 General elections, the party appointed Cabinet minister Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary, a Jat leader, as its State’s chief. Clearly, the message is to reach out to the Jat community, which recall was upfront on the Farmers’ protest against the controversial bills. Besides, it’s also a bid to counter the RLD and SP alliance influence on the Jat voters in western UP, which has 29 Lok Sabha seats. Apparently, the move is an ongoing process of the BJP to plug in any weakness viz its vote bank as a Jat leader has been appointed as State party chief in two other States—Haryana and Rajasthan. On taking over, Chaudhary maintained there was no problem between the organisation and government and said the party has fixed a target of winning all the 80 seats in 2024. He has time on his hands, but will he deliver is the test.
Kashmiri Azad Discards Cong
The Congress suffers another blow. It’s senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad who had joined the party in the then erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir in mid-70s “when it was considered a taboo given its chequered history’ from 8th August 1953”, resigned from all party positions, including its primary membership on Friday last. In a five page letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, he said he ‘has lost both the will and the ability under tutelage of the coterie that runs the AICC to fight for what is right for India’. Recall Azad was part of the rebel G-23 group seeking a change in the party. The hit was directly aimed at Rahul Gandhi, wherein he said that unfortunately after the entry of the young scion into politics and particularly after January 2013 when he was appointed as VP, “the entire consultative mechanism which existed earlier was demolished by him”. Accusing the leadership of committing a “fraud” on the party in the name of “sham” internal polls, he said “Before starting a ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ (unite India), the leadership should have undertaken a ‘Congress Jodo Yatra’ (unite Congress). A bruised Congress reacted a day later saying his resignation was ‘unfortunate’ and termed the timing ‘awful’, as it has come when the party is engaged in combating the BJP on issues of price rise and unemployment. The party also said that the contents of the letter were ‘not factual.’ Instead of splitting hairs, it would be better for the grand old party to make requisite amends to keep its flock together, whatever is left.