Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A mysterious Fadnavis-Raut Mission - Fly on the wall

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

A mysterious Fadnavis-Raut Mission
The tremors of Fadnavis- Raut close-door 150-minute meeting continue days after the event and even felt in Delhi. The top BJP leadership is also maintaining a studied silence except for saying that Fadnavis is tasked to oversee Bihar elections. There is no general secretary incharge of Maharashtra after the exit of the affable Saroj Pandey. Is the BJP smelling blood in Maharashtra again, not really? The party is in no hurry and feels the present government will crumble due to inherent contradictions. Then why Sanjay Raut’s 150-minute close-door meeting with former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ? No one is buying the theory that it was held to discuss modalities of Fadnavis’ interview with Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece, Saamana. But there are no takers of Fadnavis’ statement either where he said “politics was not discussed”. Is the turf ready to pull down the Uddhav Thackeray ? The CM’s baiters allege that he has largely been confined to his Matoshri residence even once for eight months and his handling of the economy is dismal. However, Pawar is enjoying fruits of power in Maharashtra and Uddhav is reaping the harvest and never had it so good. Did he dispatch Sanjay Raut as his emissary on a secret mission? Doesn’t look like it! Was Raut playing solo? Political watchers say Sanjay Raut is his own master these days.

And a Failed Amit Shah- Jagan meet
If the Fadnavis-Raut meeting is shrouded in mystery, another unreported meeting between India’s second most powerful man Amit Shah and Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy ended in a damp squib. The Union Home Minister who was incommunicado since August 2, held a rather long chat with Jagan after declining to meet him twice before. Amit Shah granted the audience after a word came from the PMO to grant him time. Jagan wanted funds for Polavaram project, GST compensation among other favours. But Amit Shah was worried as the NDA has weakened after the exit of Sena and Akali Dal. Insiders say that Amit Shah sounded out Jagan if his party, YSR Congress would join the NDA. Amit Shah is reported to have told Jagan that TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu is also keen to re-join the NDA. But the BJP wants to start a new inning with YSR Congress. It transpires that Jagan expressed his reluctance to join the NDA due to his party’s strong Christian-Muslim-Reddy vote bank. But he agreed to lend support to NDA wherever needed. Amit Shah was not impressed and the meeting ended in a fiasco.

BJP's New Modi from South!
Ever heard of B L Santosh ? If not, the loss is entirely yours. He is the new man on the horizon in BJP. Many in the ruling party go to the extent of saying that he is Narendra Modi of South though not as charismatic as the PM is. If Modi brought BJP in power in Gujrat, Santosh brought the saffron party to power in Karnataka in 2008. If Modi installed Kesubhai Patel as CM, Santosh installed B S Yediyuruppa as CM. Santosh never looked back since then and was promoted as BJP general secretary incharge of the Organisation 11 years later. A chemical engineer, bachelor and 24X7 RSS worker, Santosh is a no-nonsense, tough man. He is tech savvy and a person with an open mind and new ideas. He watched Shahrukh Khan’s “Chuck de India” ten times to understand how the spirit of patriotism can be inculcated among the party workers through visual medium. He reminds of the days of late Sunder Singh Bhandari who built the party with Atal-Advani-Nanaji Deshmukh. The recent shake up in the BJP is attributed to Modi-Shah-Nadda Trimurti. But the man behind the entire exercise where 4 powerful generals secretaries and seven Vice presidents were shown the door is B L Santosh. Of course, some may be accommodated in ministries and others as Governors. But Santosh convinced the RSS and party high command that new blood is needed for 2024 now if BJP wants to gain in five major Southern Indian states, North East and West Bengal. The Growing Beard

Why is PM Modi growing his beard these days? Everyone in the town's talking about it but no one has the answers. Not even those who interact with him. One explanation is that the PM doesn’t want anybody in his immediate proximity due to Covid. A hairdresser to trim his beard can cause infection. Therefore, everybody is kept at arm’s length including those who serve at his official residence. There are a few who feel it may have something to do with ‘divine” help he is seeking to fight Coronavirus.