Kissa Kursi Number Do Ka
When Narendra Modi flew to New York for a five-day visit, everyone in the BJP and the bureaucracy waited for a signal from him as to who would be in charge during his absence. The BJP leadership was apprehensive that if Modi chose some favourite of his, a chasm might be created between him and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Only a month or so back, it was alleged that Modi had informed Rajnath Singh that his son accepted some money for recommending his employment to him. Rajnath Singh, it was said, accepted that his son had recommended a person for employment but he was not aware that the son took money. It was embarrassing for a senior person like Rajnath Singh.
Later both Modi and Nitin Gadkari issued statements contradicting the entire story. It closed the chapter but scars remained. The rift would burst into open in case someone junior was designated by Modi to act on his behalf. But the expected crisis blew over, when Modi notified that Rajnath Singh would act on his behalf. That was in effect declaration that Rajnath Singh was number two in the Cabinet. The likes of Gadkari and Arun Jaitley would have to wait. Kursi number do abhi khali nahin hai.
Mystery Of Missing Prince
Where is Rahul Gandhi? The question was put repeatedly by a TV anchor to a panellist belonging to the Congress Party. Narendra Modi, despite his busy schedules, has been campaigning strenuously in Maharashtra and Haryana. Sonia Gandhi has also addressed a few meetings. But where is he, on one of his regular jaunts to exotic lands or is brushing up his oratory skills and knowledge about the two states going to polls.
Or renunciation from politics or complex about matching campaigning skills with Modi—such views, not very complimentary to Yuvraj have been thrown up. The fact is that while Modi has high stakes in the outcome of polls in the two states, the Congress and its royal bosses have in a way accepted that the wind is blowing against them, that they are not Indira and Sanjay, and their own troopers, the party men who used to tremble in their presence, are praying for their political demise. Rahul has, in the past, made promises to people in Maharashtra which he has not kept. So why must they waste their time fighting for a lost cause.
In Haryana, the son-in-law Robert Vadra has done enough Houdini magic to become a billionaire in a record time. Haryana’s Chief Minister—a Congresswallah—violated the Election Code by okaying a land deal of Vadra. With such acts, what can Rahul hope? A young bright MP, back from his constituency said, “Kahe jao, kamaye jao, national jamai babu ka religion hai. Aur unke susral-walon ko himmat nahin hai ki unko roke. Fact is we are all taking it easy until Gandhis depart.”
A pious hope! But on a serious note one minister in Maharashtra said that in case “we lose both the states, exodus would start”. If that happens, his advice for Gandhis was to take sanyas from politics.
Analysts agree that an adverse outcome in the two states would be like a final call to the Congress party members to leave the party to the Gandhis and broke a new deal to start a new Congress. Why not call it Reformed Congress! Its founders taking a cue from Modi’s na kahunga na khane dunga, proclaim, “Khane wale chale gaye, hame madad karen, kyon ki wo log tiffin mein bhar ke some khana lagaye.” It all sounds very filmi, but the fact is that while party men are in despair, Sonia is maha-worried, the son is said to be quite complacent. Wonder if he really does understand that his party has become a whirlpool for all of them.
Why BJP Played Its Trump Card
The fact that Prime Minister of India spearheaded the BJP campaign in Maharashtra and Haryana signified the importance of these two Assembly polls especially in the context of power equation and alignments. Normally, these polls would be just what they are, election of state assemblies. Of the two, Haryana hardly impacts on Central politics.
The reason for such tight and strenuous schedule being drawn up is that stakes are very high for Modi personally. It has been ventilated that there was no Modi wave and he had lost that magical touch which entranced voters to elect him and his party men. Modi had to disprove the rumours and dispel negative impressions. He showed at his meetings that he had not lost the art of establishing immediate rapport with the audiences nor his wit and weight in his statements. He was cheered after every three or four sentences.
Apart from personal reasons, the fact is that if Modi can win the two states by ousting the Congress party, Sonia & Co would have just Karnataka and some politically insignificant states in North-East. It could open flood-gates for the Congress men to desert the sinking ship of the Gandhis. One more step forward for Congress-Mukht Bharat.
Cabinet Of Crorepatis
Gone are the days when a lakhpati was considered a very rich man. Now drivers, cooks in households and even companions and nannies are lakhpatis. One would have felt embarrassed if our ministers were in their category. But luckily 17 out of 35 cabinet ministers are crorepatis. Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stands out as the richest minister with assets totalling Rs 72.10 crore while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assets worth Rs 1.26 crore. Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu is among the Union Ministers who has the least assets of Rs 20.45 lakh, according to the Assets and Liabilities declared by the Prime Minister and other 44 members of the Council of Ministers.
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, daughter-in-law of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, has assets to the tune of Rs 37.68 crore, closely followed by Minister of State for Coal and Power Piyush Goyal with assets of Rs 31.67 crore. The five Cabinet Ministers who are not crorepatis are Naidu with assets worth Rs 20.45 lakh, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan with Rs 39.88 lakh, Labour and Employment Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has assets worth Rs 44.90 lakh.