The Akali Dal is threatening to severe its alliance with the BJP unless the decision to rename Delhi’s Dyal Singh College as Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya is reversed.
The decision to change the name of this well known college was taken a few weeks ago by the college governing body headed by BJP man Amitabh Sinha. The Akalis have been on the warpath ever since because they see the renaming as an insult to the Sikh community and an attempt to obliterate the legacy of one of its most prominent philanthropists, Dyal Singh Majithia.
Not only has the Akali Dal formally protested, objections have come from the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee as well as the Delhi SGPC. It looks like the BJP has stirred up a hornet’s nest and has a serious problem on its hands.
Akali sources said Sikhs will take to the streets in protest demonstrations unless the decision is reversed. They point out that even the Pakistan government has retained the name of the original Dyal Singh College in Lahore instead of being driven by religious fundamentalist sentiment.
The Akalis believe that Sinha came up with the idea of changing the college name to Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya in a bid to curry favour with the RSS. What he ignored was the strong sentiments of the Sikh community. Dyal Singh Majithia was a foremost Punjabi philanthropist who set up not only the college but Punjab National Bank, The Tribune newspaper and a chain of leading schools in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.
Interestingly, although the decision has been taken, the name has not been changed formally. Is the BJP having second thoughts?
UP’s saffron-robed chief minister Yogi Adityanath is in demand not only among Hindus in India but also in Mauritius. While it is well known that Adityanath flew to Mauritius early last month to attend the regional Pravasi Diwas function in that country as chief guest, not many know that he went on a special request from the Mauritian government.
It seems that the Mauritian authorities specifically requested the Indian government to send Adityanath on popular demand from the Indian community in the island state.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj was supposed to be the chief guest at the function. But she graciously stepped aside for the UP CM and sent him a special invitation to fly to Mauritius.
Increasingly, Adityanath is being sent around all over as a Hindutva emissary. In recent weeks, he has toured Kerala and Gujarat as well as Mauritius. At least, it keeps him busy and away from UP where the BJP’s graph seems to be falling because of poor governance. The UP civic polls should serve as a wake-up call for the BJP which has performed below expectations after a thumping victory in the assembly elections earlier this year.
CM on the mat
When Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was summoned to Gujarat recently by BJP chief Amit Shah, it was assumed that he was being invited to campaign in the ongoing state polls.
According to BJP circles, the real reason was something completely different. He had been summoned to answer searching questions on the media investigation into the death of special CBI court judge Justice Brijmohan Loya who was hearing the Sohrabuddin encounter case.
The judge had passed strictures against Amit Shah during the hearing. The magazine investigation into his death raised questions about the manner of his demise which suggested foul play.
Shah, say BJP sources, was upset that Fadnavis seemed unaware that the journalist who wrote the story was traipsing around Nagpur where the judge died, asking uncomfortable questions.
The Modi-Shah duo never let anything escape their attention and they expect their chief ministers to be well informed about all happenings in their state. Obviously, Fadnavis lacks the kind of intelligence network that the Modi-Shah duo demand.
This was Shah’s grievance. Why didn’t Fadnavis know what was happening under his nose? Not only is he CM of Maharashtra, Nagpur happens to be his home turf.
BJP circles say that Fadnavis was pulled up by Shah for not being a more hands-on CM. They say the BJP boss felt Fadnavis should have given him a heads up that a media investigation was on into Justice Loya’s death.
The story generated an unwelcome controversy for the BJP in the middle of a tough election campaign in Gujarat.
Local leaders of the BJP in Gujarat are upset at the manner in which party persons from other states, particularly Delhi, are being promoted in the ongoing campaign.
It seems that local leaders have been debarred from using the swanky new party office constructed in Gandhinagar. It is called Shree Kamalam and is fitted with state of the art gizmos and gadgets.
Shree Kamalam has been reserved for BJP leaders from other states. The local leadership has been virtually banished to one corner of Ahmedabad where a media centre has been set up. All media persons who want to meet state BJP workers have to travel there to get the local flavor and opinion.
BJP circles say that one of the reasons for the below expectation attendance at Modi’s first rallies in Gujarat this week was the disgruntlement of the local leadership. They simply didn’t put in the effort to bring crowds to Modi’s rallies.
Amit Shah blew a fuse and pulled up local leaders for their lack of enthusiasm. His anger had a salutary effect because Modi’s subsequent rallies have been better attended.
The question now worrying the top leadership is whether local workers will show the drive and energy required to bring voters to the polling booths on voting day. This is Amit Shah’s big challenge.