State Politics: Many hit by internal tussle
Inner party and coalition tussle seem to be the flavour of the month. There are rumblings within Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar amongst partners and leaders wanting a finger in the pie or leading positions. It doesn’t augur well for good governance but cannot be wished away as business as usual in today’s politics. First, the fissures surfacing in Maharashtra’s unusual coalition government. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s statement of not having a problem to undertake the NPR exercise in the State has not gone down well with his allies—the NCP and specially the Congress. On Wednesday, AICC General Secretary in charge of the State Mallikarjun Kharge sought to remind the Shiv Sena and its chief that ‘he is leading a coalition government’ and that the Congress party’s stand is clear against NPR and CAA and whatever decision is taken by it will same and “Maharashtra cannot be an exception.” On the other hand, SS claims that Uddhav has taken “a well-considered position on the NPR and there’s no question of any reversal.” The two partners obviously don’t see eye-to-eye and are getting into nitty-gritty of NPR, CAA and NRC. Uddhav is against NRC but sees nothing wrong in NPR as its ‘different’ and that CAA would not affect anyone in the country. Whereas the Congress says NPR and census are different and that NPR is “disguised NRC in form and content” with additional questions. All eyes would definitely be on all three partners when the NPR exercise begins. Unless, the cracks are cemented well in time, before an unexpected major collapse of this combination!
Karnataka’s Clamour For Posts
The churning in ruling BJP in Karnataka has put the leadership in Delhi into damage control mode. On Monday last, a bunch of senior MLAs, denied posts in Yediyurappa’s Cabinet met former Chief Minister and Industries minister Jagadish Shettar raising eyebrows. Besides, an unsigned letter seeking change of guard as Yediyurappa turns 77 this 27th is going viral on social media. While Shettar denies organising the ‘dissidents’ meeting at his home, saying they came to discuss constituency matters, there are murmurs that two may get inducted closer to Legislative Council polls. This may help, but others are peeved over Yediyurappa’s son, Vijayendra acting like a ‘super CM’. Is the involvement got to do with veiled demand that Yediyurappa act as advisor after he turns 77 in tune with BJP principles? Or will the dynastic bug bite Karnataka too? The Chief Minister is a seasoned politician and may just have the last laugh. More so as the BJP can’t but do but to keep its flock together.
MP Tug Of War
The ruling Congress too in Madhya Pradesh is embroiled yet again in the now famous tug of war between Chief Minister Kamal Nath and his senior colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia. The recent-most nitpicking being the latter threatening at Tikamgarh rally to take the streets if the demands of regularisation of services by protesting guest teachers for weeks in Bhopal are not met. This has prompted the party’s coordination committee to meet to iron out the differences between the big two, but Scindia is learnt to have left in a huff before the meeting ended. While he insists the guest teachers must be regularised soon as it is part of the party manifesto, bête noire Digvijay Singh doesn’t disagree, but takes a pot shot reminding Scindia that promises need to be implemented “but over five years, not the first year itself.” In this one-upmanship fight, sadly the teachers’ issue may further suffer, for it is no secret that the State’s poor finances can barely afford the financial implications. Nath needs to put his house in order. Sooner the better!
Change In Bihar Opposition?
A leadership tussle is on in Bihar’s Opposition camp. With Assembly elections due this winter, attempts are being made to dismantle RJD’s Tejashwi as the coalition leader as long as father Lalu Yadav remains in jail. While Congress is silent, other alliance partners — Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S) are toying with the idea of projecting former JD(U) leader and veteran parliamentarian Sharad Yadav instead as the Opposition’s chief ministerial face, given that Tejashwi drew a blank in the Lok Sabha elections. However, it’s a clear no-go with Lalu and son Tejashwi is all set to undertake a State-wide ‘Berozgari hatao yatra’ (remove unemployment) from Sunday. Will it change mindset that the young heir will not be able to pose a serious challenge to the ruling BJP-JD(U)-LJP combine under Nitish Kumar? Recall, Tejashwi was Deputy CM to Nitish in the grand alliance government, then Leader of Opposition when Nitish tied up with the BJP, but somewhere down the line lost the plot failing miserably in the 2019 General elections. The coming months shall clear the haze whether the grand alliance survives.
Assam NRC Woes
Hopes of lakhs of “illegal immigrants” to get justice may be dashed by the Guwahati High Court’s order on Tuesday last. The case pertains to Jabeda Begum claiming citizenship after being declared “a foreigner of post-1971 stream” by a Foreigners Tribunal in May 2019. She had submitted 15 documents, including voter lists of four years, a parent’s NRC clearance, land revenue payment receipts, certificates from the village headman attesting to permanent residency and marriage, ration card, PAN card and bank passbook to back her claim. But all these were simply rejected by the Court as proof of Indian citizenship. It clearly said that she “failed to prove her linkage with her projected parents and her projected brother”. To make it to the NRC the person has to submit documents that established pre-1971 ancestry and her papers couldn’t do so. Besides, in another case, the court held that already it has been held that PAN card and bank documents are not proof of citizenship. Thus, the court dismissed her case, much to her anguish. The big question is whether she will now knock on the Supreme Court’s door? A lot many will be watching.
TN Counters Protests
Tamil Nadu does one better than the others. Ruling AIADMK and Chief Minister Palaniswami has found a novel way of countering protests demanding the Assembly pass a resolution against the CAA in the Assembly like others. Following peaceful protests held in major towns across the State primarily by the Muslim community and a march attended by 30,000-odd people in capital, Chennai on Wednesday last, despite the High Court putting restrictions, Palaniswami stumped many. That very day he decided to shower sops for the Muslim community. He announced hiking the monthly pension of Islamic scholars from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000; financial assistance for Islamic scholars registered with the TN Waqf Board to buy two-wheelers and allocation of Rs 15 crore for construction of a Haj House. Will the appeasement work?