The Congress scion has been at it again. During his recent visit to Odisha, Rahul Baba got itchy feet once again and at midnight came out of the Circuit House at Sambalpur and took a half km walk up to the Jail. The security personnel had a hard time keeping in tow. It seems Rahul Baba was looking for tribal households in the vicinity, where maybe he could spend the night. He should have been allowed inside the Jail, as there quite a few jailed tribal Maoist inmates are housed. He was firmly persuaded to return back, but his half hour jaunt threw the district administration into a tizzy.
The next day, at Cuttack, the Congress vice president could not spare any time for the group of Dongria Kondhs who had come all the way from Niyamagiri to meet their sipahi, and remind him of the promises he had made to them. The dozen tribals had made the nearly 1000-km trip, and waited patiently outside the Windsor Palace venue the whole day. They were seen pleading with the local Congress honchos, however they were not allowed inside, and they had to go back disappointed. Midnight trips are always more interesting.
The Benevolent Boss
The exit of Nitin Gadkari as party president has saddened many hearts at the party headquarters in Delhi. The ex-boss was known for his penchant for flair and flamboyance, and had got the party headquarters renovated with the state of the art ambience. Gadkari was a stickler for details and had personally seen over the renovation. He did bring corporate culture into the political organisation and had bestowed largesse on the staff, increasing their salaries and perks.
Many of the hanger-ons are now not seen as the new president Rajnath Singh is a more down to earth and simple man. He is austere and avoids the trappings of power. Singh is known for his no-nonsense attitude, something which is not going down easily among many of the old flock.
No Friends Or Foes In Politics
The enfant terrible of Odisha’s politics today, Pyari Mohan Mohapatro is adept at keeping things murky. He churned muddy waters once again by his hint that the Jan Morcha would consider allying with the BJP, provided they extended the olive branch.
The brazen shamefacedness of Pyari is evident, as he himself in October 2012 had claimed that Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was reluctant to sever electoral ties with the BJP ahead of the 2009 general elections, but ultimately did so on his, i.e Pyari’s insistence.
Pyari had reportedly told a local channel—“Naveen Patnaik was not ready to snap ties with BJP. He agreed to do so only after he was told by me that the Congress would benefit if BJP candidates were given more tickets. Ultimately, my strategy worked and BJD won with overwhelming majority.”
What is more surprising is the fact that senior party man Suresh Pujari acknowledged that a coalition was possible. Pujari is well aware of the communal slur that had been labeled on the BJP by Pyari post the Kandhamal riots. Politics does make strange bedfellows, the dismal state of affairs in the Odisha BJP may compel them to join hands with Pyari’s Jan Morcha.
And Pigs Will Fly
The remarks of the Odisha’s Tourism & Culture Minister Maheswar Mohanty at the recently held International Buddhist Conference in Udayagiri are a grim reminder of the state of affairs prevalent in the state. When queried by newspersons about the pending status of the Buddhist Circuit being declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, Mohanty made a derogatory and vulgar comment, stating that it was akin to horses laying eggs. All those who were present were taken aback and the clip was played and replayed in the local channels.
The CM, Naveen Patnaik took a serious view of this incident, and ticked him off severely. The conference was a mixed affair, with most of the state’s scholars being ignored. On the concluding day, a cobra fell out from the ceiling creating a big uproar. The only good news is that the minister had to eat humble pie, and the state has written to the centre for granting of world heritage status to the circuit.