Rahul Gandhi’s confidant and Road Transport and Highways Minister C P Joshi would not have even imagined that he would not get support of officials coming from his home state Rajasthan. During the 13th Road Safety Conference held in the national capital recently, Joshi was brimful with confidence when he started sharing amendments in the Motor Vehicle Act. The minister in charge of Road Transport and Highways ministry informed the delegates gathered from various states about the proposed changes in the Act. To his surprise an official from his home state respectfully intervened and apprised the minister that states do not face any such problem that the minister was talking about. Actually, Joshi wanted a slew of amendments in Motor Vehicle Act to make road travel more safe. In his proposal, he had suggested stringent financial penalties for law breakers. For example fine for jumping the red light would now be increased five folds and repeat offence of mixing driving with alcohol can force somebody to part with the driving licence and four years of imprisonment. The only feel good factor in the list of stringent amendments is that the traffic cops would let somebody go if he or she has enjoyed a small peg. That means you can drive a vehicle without facing a penalty if and only if alcohol in per 100 ml of blood sample does not exceed 30 mg.
It seems the BJP is still licking its wounds received in UP elections. While sitting in the Central Hall of Parliament, on the second day of the ongoing budget session, two BJP leaders—one party’s national general secretary and other a senior leader from UP—were enumerating the reasons for the BJP’s defeat. The general secretary said that while Samajwadi Party was like a private limited company where the loss to the boss of the company had to be borne by all its employees, the BJP was like a Public Limited Company, where the loss was confined to the persons concerned. The BJP leaders attributed the party’s dismal performance to ticket distribution. According to them, 100 seats were allocated on caste basis, 100 went to those candidates who had come from other parties, 100 went to fixing (sold) and 100 went to the party’s cadres. Given this breakdown of the seats, it becomes evident that the party fielded only 100 candidates from among party’s cadres, and out of them 48 seats were won by the party—48 per cent result—not a bad performance, after all!
Politics makes strange bedfellows. This was substantiated once again when Biju Janata Dal having achieved the landslide victory in Panchayat elections in Odisha received compliments from none other than LK Advani, BJP’s veteran leader. It is no secret that BJD is not part of NDA. In his tirade against corruption, Advani never uttered a word against multi-crore mining corruption of Naveen Government. Advani’s accolade is being seen as an attempt to bring BJD back to the NDA fold. It is said that Advani suggested to Naveen Patnaik how to raise objections against the NCTC bill so as to create detachment from the UPA government at the Centre.
The India Today Conclave has earned a distinction of a summit of eminent persons. Prominent leaders from all over the world participate in it. From the BJP, senior leader LK Advani was invited to this conclave in the past, not the party president. But this year, Nitin Gadkari had been given prominence over Advani in the conclave advertisement. Does this show the declining influence of Advani among the intelligentsia and the media?