Save Tigers ‘(Singhs)’
Nowadays a campaign is gathering momentum, i.e. Save Tigers (Singhs). The campaign is being launched at both print and electronic media, besides the billboard on roadsides. But this campaign has become a hot potato in the central hall of Parliament as two ‘Singhs’ belonging to two different parties are in trouble! The latest is Thakur Amar Singh from the Samajwadi Party (SP). As he having resigned from the SP and his resignation having been accepted by the party supremo Mulayam Singh, he is feeling “cheated” and alone in the wilderness. Now there is a demand that he should also resign from Chairmanship of Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare. But he refused. He is following the precedent of another ‘Singh’ Jaswant Singh of Bharatiya Janata Party. When he was expelled from the BJP for his book in praise of Jinnah, he was also asked to resign from PAC Chairmanship but he also refused. Later, he had resigned. At present Mr Jaswant Singh is nowhere in politics. So, it may not be astonishing if the two ‘Singhs’ turn out to be the protagonists of the campaign “Save Tigers” (‘Singhs’), as at present, both the ‘Singhs’ are in search of their future habitat.
Will Nitish become another Naveen Patnaik—This is the million-dollar question being asked in the political circles from Patna to New Delhi. As speculations are rife that Nitish is chalking out a strategy to woo Muslim votes along with Backward Castes votes, which are already under the influence of Nitish Kumar. As Bihar Assembly elections are due in the early next year, all political parties are gearing up for this battle. The alliance partner of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) is Bharatiya Janata Party. The leader of BJP Mr Sushil Kumar Modi is Deputy Chief Minister in the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government. The realisation within the Nitish camp is that if JD(U) fights election with BJP then Muslim votes will not be on its side. On the other hand, Congress is gaining the Muslim and forward classes’ votes. The party is also aiming to cash in on voters’ fading fad with Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan. So, in view of the prevailing situation in the state, Nitish Kumar is planning accordingly. However, the persons like NK Singh in the Nitish camp are of the view that JD(U) should fight this election alone. But the question of forward classes’ votes is the main hurdle, as they are intact with BJP in Bihar. And Nitish doesn’t want to lose this vote bank, which is an important factor in winning the election. Hence the poser, whether Nitish Kumar would be able to repeat the experiment of Naveen Patnaik in Bihar.
The fifteenth Lok Sabha will complete a year in the forthcoming May. Most of the new Members of Parliament and Ministers on one or the other occasion have made their speeches, interventions or asked the questions, barring one Minister in the Union Cabinet. He till today has not replied to any question relating to his ministry or has not participated in any debate or any other business of the Houses of Parliament. And this Minister is none other than Mr Alzhagiri, the Cabinet Minister for Fertiliser and Chemicals, and son of Tamil Nadu’s Chief minister K Karunanidhi. Actually, his predicament is that neither can he speak in Hindi nor in English. He can converse only in Tamil. So, he has sought the permission of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha to give reply in Tamil. According to the business rules of the Parliament, a Member can ask question or speak in his or her mother tongue with prior notice to the respective House but the Minister concerned has to reply only in English or Hindi. Similar problem arose when Mr Devegowda became the Prime Minister of the country in 1996. He, however, learnt to speak in Hindi and English. But Mr Alzhagiri is not Mr Devegowda or maybe he doesn’t want to become Devegowda. So, the wait is on for the Minister to deliver his “maiden” speech or give reply to a question or make any intervention.