SP sets dangerous precedent ~ arati r jerath
The Samajwadi Party has set a dangerous precedent by pitting the police against the administration to settle scores with intrepid young IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal. Reports from UP tell a disturbing story of the manner in which the local cops were used to trap Nagpal by deliberately manouvering her to the wrong place at the wrong time. The details are believed to have been recorded in the district magistrate&’s report on the incident that led to her suspension.
It seems the DM received a phone call from the superintendent of police that fateful morning to report communal tension in Kadalpur village over a mosque that was under construction. According to reports, the SP specifically asked for the SDM (read Nagpal) to be sent to the spot to control the situation before it went out of hand. She is supposed to have reached the village at around 1 pm. She stayed for only an hour because she was due to attend a farewell tea for an outgoing fellow officer at 3 pm. Where was the question of demolishing a wall in that short time?
A local policeman, probably of the rank of sub inspector, followed up her visit with a confidential intelligence report to his bosses which the Akhilesh Yadav government used to hit Nagpal. The report warned of escalating communal tension in the Kadalpur area because a mosque wall had been razed on orders from the SDM. Subsequent inquiries have debunked all this but the intel warning became a handy tool on that day. It is now suspected that the local cops cooked up the report on orders from their political bosses who wanted to hit Nagpal with a sledgehammer to teach her a lesson.
By pitting the police against the IAS, the Samajwadi Party has opened up dangerous fault lines. The patsy is young Akhilesh who as chief minister has to take responsibility for steering a boat that his father and three chachas rock at regular intervals.
Last parliamentary session?
Although speculation continues about an early Lok Sabha election, Congress leaders are working towards an April 2014 poll as scheduled. The party&’s war room has drawn up a timetable for the completion of election-related tasks. It starts in November and ends next March. This is a clear signal that there are no plans to advance the elections despite mounting pressure from corporates who want political and policy clarity so that they can unfreeze their business plans and start investing again.
Interestingly, the monsoon session of Parliament will probably be the last full session of the 15th Lok Sabha, as both Mayawati and Mulayam Singh have repeatedly warned. If the Congress grapevine is to be believed, there is a limited agenda for the session: to get its election showpiece, the food security bill, passed. The party couldn’t care less if no other business is completed. Since the rules permit a six month gap between sessions, there is a strong likelihood that there will be no winter session. Instead, again according to the Congress grapevine, the government will probably call a brief session sometime in February/March next year, go in for a vote-on-account and dissolve the Lok Sabha after that. The 2014-2015 budget will be left to the new government. It looks like the Congress wants to wash its hands off the economic slowdown and put the burden of tackling the fallout on the shoulders of its successors.
Wooing back BJP dissidents
The BJP&’s soon-to-be prime minister candidate Narendra Modi is trying to make up for scaring off allies like the JD(U) by wooing back rebel BJP leaders who have floated their own regional parties. Topping the list are KJP chief B S Yeddyurappa and JVM boss Babu Lal Marandi. Both have kept the BJP out of power in Karnataka and Jharkhand respectively by snatching away a large chunk of its voter base.
While Yeddyurappa seems keen on a homecoming, Marandi apparently is still mulling over Modi&’s offer. He has the option of tying up with another regional outfit, the All Jharkhand Student&’s Association. The two together could pose a challenge to the Congress-JMM alliance but a mahajot with the BJP would be formidable. The question is how far is Modi ready to go to accommodate the ambitions of regional leaders who, like himself, refuse to bow to the diktats of the high command? Marandi is expected to meet Modi soon to find out for himself.
Journalists who cover the ministry of external affairs were surprised at the way they were shooed away and deprived of tea after a function at the MEA&’s new home, Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan. It was a high profile function, to present a “green building’’ certification to the ministry for its environment-friendly construction. Since the function was outgoing foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai&’s last official do before handing over charge the next day, MEA&’s entire top brass was present, including the incoming boss, Sujatha Singh.
Journalists were invited for the function but as soon as it ended, they were unceremoniously packed off and denied entry to the tea hall. It would have been a great opportunity for an informal interaction. But clearly, the MEA didn’t want journalists nosing around.