Sunday, December 6, 2020

Fly on the Wall - Modi subtle goal-post shift

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Modi subtle goal-post shift
If you thought PM Modi will hang his boots and hand-over reins of power once he turns 75 years to a successor, you may be in for some surprises. Reason being that Modi has subtly shifted his goal-post from 2022 to 2029. An indication of changing goal-post came at a virtual function last week which largely went unreported wherein he said that a lot of work has been done during the past six and half years. But for India’s growth and development next nine years are very important. Modi had said on several occasions in the past that by 2022 when India celebrates its 75th anniversary of Independence, farmers' income will be doubled and all will have pakka houses, education for all and many more tall promises. In fact, when he came to power in 2014, he had promised that farmers income will be doubled within the next five years. But later, he shifted it to 2022. Now he is talking that the next nine years are crucial for India’s development. Two things clearly emerge from his statement; one that he will be around until 2029 and secondly, he is working hard to win the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Though many of his lieutenants like Amit Shah have said that the BJP will rule India for the next 50 years. But Modi had always refrained from making such tall claims.

Focus on the Bungalow now!
After losing Rajya Sabha seat for his mother Reena Paswan, the LJP chief is working hard to retain ministerial bungalow at Janpath. The 12 Janpath Road Bungalow was allotted to Ram Vilas Paswan when he became a Minister in the V P Singh government and continued since then. His son, Chirag Paswan who is a two term Lok Sabha MP is not entitled to type VIII bungalow. After Paswan’s death, the bungalow has fallen under the "general category". With no Cabinet berth round the corner for Chirag, he may have to vacate the bungalow unless the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation allows him to retain it. One will have to watch out what happens to this “Hanuman” of Prime Minister Modi. His hopes rest on BJP Chief J P Nadda who said recently, “At the Centre, the matter is different. But in Bihar, this is what it is.” Nadda was asked whether Chirag is part of NDA or not. The vague reply given has raised hopes for Chirag.

What went wrong with Ahmed Patel

The sudden demise of Ahmed Patel has left a void in the Congress at a juncture when the party needed him most. It is not as if he didn’t see ups and downs. He suffered a setback when Ambica Soni became the political secretary to Sonia Gandhi replacing him. It’s a different matter that he was back at the center- stage soon. When Rahul took over as party chief, Patel was subtly sidelined again as the scion of the Gandhi family wanted his own team. However, Sonia Gandhi was wise enough and retained him as her chief political adviser until his death. It’s a different matter that Rahul Gandhi also found virtues in him later and he was back in the political game. It, however, remains a mystery as to why he chose to travel all the way to Faridabad’s Metro Hospital in October for treatment when he was first tested positive of Covid. No doubt, he had been regular at Metro whenever he fell ill. Later, he shifted to Apollo hospital and finally brought to Medanta in Gurugram. Three hospitals in two months did not prove lucky to him.

A promoted with demotion
It's strange that Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha got a demotion while he was promoted as new Chief Information Commissioner. He was holding the rank of the Supreme Court judge as Information Commissioner. But the moment he was promoted as CIC, he was demoted to the rank of a Cabinet Secretary. He will lose salary and pension. Interestingly, his four old colleagues will hold SC judge rank while three new colleagues will be in the rank of secretary. A dichotomy created by the amendment to the RTI Act in 2018!