A new angle has surfaced in Bihar’s political drama these days. Deputy chief minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has unveiled a ‘Code of Conduct’ for party leaders who are ministers in the Mahagathbandhan government. It includes not purchasing any new vehicles, not allowing anybody—especially the elder ones—to touch their feet, and being humble in all of their interactions. Anyone who violates the code will be promptly shown the exit door. However, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and the Congress party have not declared any such ‘Code of Conduct’ for their own. Tejashwi’s move has sparked rumours. Some are saying he is playing a longer innings, while others quip that no minister buys a vehicle in their own name.
Dilemma in Congress G-23
There used to be a G-23 in the Congress, usually angry. A little bit of caressing and cajoling by the party high-command calmed it down. With the effect of that cajoling wearing off, the G-23 has once again hit the headlines. After Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma resigned, the former’s house has once again become a meeting place. Congress office-bearers could be seen asking where the meeting is being held — South Avenue or Akbar Road? Journalists are also unsure if they should keep a tab on Azad’s house. The same dilemma confronts some office-bearers, who maintain a close relation with the G-23 leaders, because sometimes, meetings take place almost simultaneously at both the places.
Tide turns for BJP veterans
It seems like the BJP’s veteran leaders have hit some sort of a jackpot. They had suffered many jolts like having to resign from ministries or being sidelined in the party upon reaching the age of 70. But all of a sudden, the BJP has included once-popular leaders like Yediyurappa, Iqbal Singh Lalpura and Satyanarayan Jatiya in the party’s highest decision making body—parliamentary board. This uncharacteristic move has made many veterans see some light at the end of the tunnel before the 2024 Lok Sabha election and three crucial assembly elections in 2023.
Also read: Operation Lantern fails to light up in Bihar. And BJP in search of a Brahmin face in UP
Same ministers, different portfolios
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel is in full form. He snatched portfolios from two ministers against whom there were numerous complaints of work not being done properly. Still they were not removed. This administrative model of Gujarat seems quite conducive to be adopted in other BJP-ruled states.
‘Master’ and ‘Grand Master’
An important issue being deliberated within BJP circles these days is how to differentiate between a ‘senior’ and a ‘stalwart’. Is it necessary to be a ‘senior’ in order to become a ‘stalwart’ or is it possible to become a ‘stalwart’ without being a ‘senior’? This discussion is mainly due to the status of BJP general secretaries. Theoretically, all BJP general secretaries are considered as equals. Even the party president is deemed as their equivalent and is merely considered ‘first among the equals.’ But the discussion at this time is taking place to determine whether the secretary-general, who has more responsibility, is a ‘stalwart’ or is it the one with less responsibility. For example, it is not known as to whether Sunil Bansal is a ‘senior’ or a ‘stalwart’. He is perhaps the first general secretary of the BJP to be appointed in-charge of three states.
This is for the first time in the history of Himachal Pradesh that a serving member of the state Public Service Commission, who is also a former journalist, was nominated as its chairman. A notification was issued, but then the swearing-in ceremony was canceled at the eleventh hour. Now, everyone in the state is familiar with the real reason behind this volte-face, but it has become a real cause of concern for Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
Also read: NDA’s LK Advani makes room for BJP’s JP Nadda in new Parliament building
Time zone crisis
It is for the first time that it has taken so long for the BJP to roll out a damage control exercise to mitigate a crisis spawned by a tweet made by Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on the issue of giving shelter to Rohingya refugees. While the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an immediate clarification, the reason behind the delay on Puri’s side was that the minister, who was in the US on a personal visit, had fallen asleep after tweeting. The time difference led to the delay. The clarification tweet was made around 10 am local time in the US, but by then, the initial tweet had become a game of ‘open sesame’ in India.
Bharat Agrawal is Executive Director, Dainik Bhaskar Group, and a columnist.
By special arrangement with Dainik Bhaskar and translated by Ram Lal Khanna from the original in Hindi and edited by Prashant.