Sunday, 02 September 2018 | Hari shankar vyas | in GupShup–
Political upheaval has started in Bihar. Here, electoral politics has started a bit earlier than other States. The JDU had given one month’s time to the BJP to decide over the seats, and that deadline lapsed. Then the JDU extended it by 15 days, saying the seat-sharing formula must be fixed within 15 days. Even though the elections would be held in November 2020, Nitish Kumar wants the seats to be decided along with the Lok Sabha Elections. The JDU also wants Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP out of the NDA. There’s no love lost between Nitish and Kushwaha, as the latter had left the JDU twice after challenging the party chief. Not only this, Nitish claims to be the leader of Koeri and Kurmi voters, and believes the NDA doesn’t need Kushwaha for these votes.
On the other hand, Kushwaha is upbeat after winning all three Lok Sabha seats which he had got in the last elections. He wants to fight on more seats now, which won’t be possible as long as he is in the NDA, and is said to be in touch with Lalu Prasad. Recently, a function was organised in honour of BP Mandal, who headed the Mandal Commission, and Kushwaha’s presence gave a clear signal of a possible alliance with the RJD. He said many Yaduvanshis are present here and if their milk and the rice of Kushwaha is mixed, kheer could be prepared. So, the alliance scenario in Bihar might be rejigged before the Lok Sabha polls. Small parties are also looking for their place. Jehanabad MP Arun Kumar, Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav, and Lalu’s brother-in-law Subhash Yadav are trying to side with one or the other alliance. However, if the RLSP breaks away from the NDA, the LJP, Arun Kumar, and Pappu Yadav will benefit.
SHIVPAL FLOATS NEW PARTY
Unhappy with being sidelined from the very party of which he was a founder member, Shivpal Yadav on Wednesday floated the Samajwadi Secular Front, urging those who felt humiliated in the SP to join his party. An SP leader blamed Amar Singh for this. Amar Singh, who had been shown the door by the SP, has come closer to the BJP. Recently, at the investor summit in Lucknow, PM Narendra Modi mentioned him during his speech, sparking rumours he might join the BJP. After that, Amar Singh has been trying to make a dent into the SP. It was earlier being said that if Shivpal takes any step under the guidance of Amar Singh, Azam Khan will stay away. Sources say that Shivpal’s party might have been floated with the sole intention of harming the SP, and Amar Singh is the mastermind. Amar’s other target could be Mulayam’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav and her husband Prateek. Aparna harbours her own political ambition despite losing the Assembly Elections. So, there is not much scope for her in Akhilesh-led SP. She has shown her inclination towards the BJP and Modi on several occasions. So, it will be interesting to see the future politics of Shivpal, Aparna, and Prateek Yadav.
SEATS FOR MULAYAM’S FAMILY
There is a distinct reason for the unhappiness of Shivpal Yadav and Aparna Yadav — the Samajwadi Party was not able to find Lok Sabha seats for them. In fact, many members of Mulayam’s family are already MPs and some more are gearing up to jump into the fight, and this has made it difficult for the party to ascertain safe seats for all of them. On the other hand, the SP will be going into an alliance with the BSP, which will further reduce the number of safe seats. This time, it is being said that almost half a dozen members of the Yadav family will try their luck in the Lok Sabha Elections. At present, there are seven MPs of the SP in the Lok Sabha, and five of them belong to Mulayam’s family. Mulayam is an MP from Azamgarh, Dharmendra Yadav an MP from Budaun, Akshay Yadav from Firozabad, Tej Pratap Singh Yadav from Mainpuri, and Dimple is an MP from Kannauj. Next time, Akhilesh will fight from Dimple’s seat and Mulayam will fight from Mainpuri. Thus, Azamgarh will be vacated, but this seat is not very safe. Last time, Mulayam had faced a lot of difficulty in getting through from this seat.
Tej Pratap — who is married to Lalu’s daughter — might be sent to Azamgarh. Apart from Tej Pratap, the party will need two more seats for its family members. Shivpal wants to put his son Aditya in the race and Aparna is also eager to get into the Lok Sabha. On the other hand, Akhilesh has said that he will curb nepotism in the party, which is why Dimple will not get a ticket in the next Lok Sabha Elections. So, it is unlikely that he will give tickets to two new members of the family.
GUJARAT leader IN BIHAR
The firebrand OBC leader of the Congress from Gujarat, Alpesh Thakor, has been made co-incharge of the party in Bihar. Nobody is able to understand the logic behind this step. Party leaders of the State haven’t been able to fathom why Thakor is needed in Bihar. The tallest OBC leader in Bihar is Lalu and he has good relations with the Congress. The RJD and Congress will fight together in the next Assembly Elections. Kushwaha is also a big OBC leader and is currently a partner of the NDA, but might go with the RJD. In this scenario, what could possibly be the need for a leader like Thakor in Bihar?
Before this, Rahul Gandhi had appointed Shaktisinh Gohil, another leader from Gujarat, as the Bihar in-charge. The former MLA of Delhi and Dalit leader, Rajesh Lilothia, is also the co-in charge for Bihar. The party has appointed a big team of in-charges for Bihar despite the fact that it has very few seats to fight on. Leaders of the Congress say Thakor would have been more useful in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. In these States, the Congress and its partners need OBC leaders. This must be noted that Thakor has been active in the adjacent States of Gujarat along with Jignesh Mevani and Hardik Patel.
EFFECT OF HARDIK’S FAST
Hardik Patel’s fast-unto-death is garnering support from the Opposition parties. Almost half a dozen Congress MLAs were present at the start of his fast. Many MPs from the party had also started a symbolic fast with Hardik to show solidarity with him. TMC leader Mamata Banerjee sent him a rakhi through one of her MPs and extended full support to him. Leaders from the RJD and HAM also went to meet Hardik. People are saying that leaders from the Shiv Sena, the alliance partner of the BJP, will also meet him. Hardik considers Bal Thackeray his idol and the Shiv Sena has shown a tilt towards him many times.
Hardik is on fast over the issue of reservation and this can have a serious impact in the run-up to the Assembly Elections in the States adjacent to Gujarat, such as Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Hardik’s campaign will affect elections in these States. There is a possibility that his fast will come to an end in a few days. If his health deteriorates, the Government will send him to a hospital, but his campaign will only get more aggressive. With the support of the Congress, this campaign will continue till the Assembly Elections.
MORE FUNDS FOR KERALA
The Central Government will give more funds to the flood-ravaged Kerala for rehabilitation and relief work. Till date, the State has received funds of Rs 650 crore; the PM had announced Rs 500 crore and Rajnath Singh had announced funds of Rs 150 crore. Meanwhile, controversy has erupted over foreign aid. There was news that the UAE and Qatar wanted to pitch in, but the Indian Government was not ready to accept help. Though later it was said that no country ever proposed any official help for Kerala. Sources say even if the UAE and Qatar propose help, the Government would not accept it. The Government is gearing up for more help. After the news of rejection of foreign help, both big parties of the State — the Congress and CPM — said if the Centre won’t accept funds from other countries, it should bear the cost of Rs 2,600 crore needed for rehabilitation and relief work. The Centre is expected to make an announcement of help soon.
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