Follow Us:

Chauhan ended Goa-like plan

As soon as it looked like the Congress would not touch the majority mark on its own and its victory margin was narrow, the BJP top brass began working the phones to the two BSP MLAs and Independents.

Arati R Jerath |

The Congress should send flowers and a thank you note to outgoing Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan for putting an end to the BJP efforts to repeat the Goa experiment in MP and form a government with the help of Independents and defectors.

As soon as it looked like the Congress would not touch the majority mark on its own and its victory margin was narrow, the BJP top brass began working the phones to the two BSP MLAs and Independents. The man in charge of the operation was the state party chief Rakesh Singh, also a Lok Sabha MP from Jabalpur.

It seems Singh was in constant touch with party president Amit Shah, giving him hourly updates on his progress. Significantly, Chauhan was neither informed nor involved in the operation.

He got to know through independent sources and those privy to developments say he was furious. Chauhan not only felt it was unethical, he was also worried that the central leadership would use the opportunity to replace him with a CM of their choice on the plea that the supporting MLAs want a change of leadership. It is well known that Chauhan does not share a good equation with Shah and Narendra Modi.

Chauhan quickly telephoned Singh and told him to call off the operation. He is also believed to have got in touch with the BSP MLAs and Independents with a warning to stay away from the BJP’s backroom shenanigans. At the same time, Mayawati summoned her MLAs to Delhi to keep them under watch.

All this gave the Congress breathing room to get its act together, contact Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav of the SP and seek their support. By the evening, Chauhan indicated that he was ready to concede defeat, thus putting a spoke in the BJP’s plans to keep the Congress out of government.

Son-in-law rises

A new star is rising in Tamil Nadu: DMK chief MK Stalin’s son-in-law, Sabareesan. According to political circles in the state, Sabareesan is playing an active role as an interlocutor between the Congress and the DMK.

Till recently, the interlocutor was Stalin’s half-sister, Kanimozhi, deputed by her late father M Karunanidhi to liaise with the Congress. Kanimozhi speaks excellent English and has developed a good rapport with Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul over the years as an MP in Parliament.

But after Karunanidhi’s death, Stalin has turned to his son-in-law to be the interlocutor. At his recent meeting with Sonia and Rahul, Sabareesan was doing the interpretation for Stalin, not Kanimozhi.

Tamil political circles say that Sabareesan has taken to flying to Delhi frequently to meet Congress leaders on behalf of his father-in-law. He has also taken charge of the DMK’s media campaign. It is said that he was the one who coined the catchy slogan “Tomorrow is ours” (Naalai Namadhe in Tamil). The phrase has become the DMK’s main slogan.

Naturally, Stalin’s promotion of his son-in-law is causing consternation in DMK politicians and in Karunanidhi’s family as well. But it is believed that Sabareesan has become such an integral part of Stalin’s inner circle that he will play an important role in the Lok Sabha polls including deciding ticket distribution.

Anxious MPs

After the Congress party’s 3-0 victory in crucial Hindi heartland states, BJP MPs are a worried lot. They fear that many of them will be axed for the Lok Sabha polls and not be given tickets.

It seems one of the reasons being given for the BJP’s poor performance is the refusal of Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan to drop sitting MLAs. This was something BJP president Amit Shah wanted and he had asked both to axe at least 30 per cent of sitting MLAs, including ministers, in their states to overcome local anti-incumbency.

But both Raje and Chauhan refused and paid a price for it. Several ministers and sitting MLAs in both states lost the election to the Congress.

Shah will be the deciding voice in the distribution of tickets for the Lok Sabha polls. If he implements his favoured formula of getting rid of sitting MPs, then at least 30 per cent of current MPs from all the Hindi heartland states will not be re-nominated.

Just imagine the worry and anxiety among MPs. All are looking over their shoulder and wondering who is going to be axed. Some are even taking bets.

Posters worry

Yogi UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath appears to be quite worried by the rash of posters that have sprung up in the state after the BJP’s defeat in the recent assembly polls. The posters call for Yogi to be made PM. “Yogi lao, desh bachao,” they say.

Interestingly, the posters are actually an announcement for a religious gathering on February 10 organised by a group calling itself Uttar Pradesh Navnirman Sena. But under the announcement is a charge sheet against the Modi government. The allegations include calling Modi a “jumlebaaz” (trickster).

The man behind the poster, Amit Jani, has minced no words in criticising the Modi government. He has also claimed that Hindus will not vote for the BJP in 2019 unless Yogi is declared the PM candidate.

It seems Yogi is worried by the posters. He fears a backlash from the Modi-Shah duo, especially since he is under fire for the poor law and order situation in his state and bad governance. He has asked the police to arrest those responsible for putting up the posters. Two persons were arrested but they have been since released.