by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
Mayawati as PM candidate ?
Mayawati's frontal attack on the BJP alleging that it is hatching a conspiring to eliminate her is the first direct hint of her joining ranks with other Opposition parties during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The BSP has mostly kept away from the 17-parties Opposition parties' conclaves. She was quiet for some time and some attributed this silence to Enforcement Directorate (ED) going after her brother Anand in the Rs 1200 crores money laundering case. With Mayawati blasting the Modi government is the first signal of Opposition unity taking a positive turn. It transpires that Rahul Gandhi is sending out signals that he is willing to do anything to dislodge Modi. Mayawati thinks she can play a role at the national level. Akhilesh Yadav is working out a barter deal with Mayawati quietly under which he will support her for the PM's post while she will back him for the CM's post. Lalu Yadav is also ready for Mayawati. The BSP has following amongst the Dalits outside UP in several North Indian states. One may hear more news on this front sooner than expected. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also been nursing the Prime Ministerial ambitions. With Mayawati throwing her hat in the ring, one will have to watch.
Hooda may be in the dock, thanks to CBI
After M L Tayal, its the turn of another top official related to former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to face the music. The CBI is now tightening its grip around Chhatar Singh who is now a member of the UPSC. He was chief administrator of HUDA and principal secretary to Hooda after Tayal retired and facing CBI cases for corruption. The case against Chhatar Singh is strong and may put Hooda in serious trouble. The Modi government helped Hooda by not charging him under the PMLA in the National Herald case. But the case against these top aides of Hooda is so strong that the CBI is unable to dilute them. It is learnt that Chhatar singh may even be asked to resign from the UPSC. Hooda had ensured that Chhatar Singh is appointed member UPSC during the UPA regime after retirement.
Rajnath not consulted on NIA's new chief
When Y C Modi was appointed was appointed as the new chief of the NIA, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was in the dark until the file landed on his desk from the PMO. Normally, the file to fill vacancies with regard to departments and police organisations directly under the Ministry of Home Affairs are sent to the Cabinet Secretary by the Home Minister. The NIA is directly under the MHA and its Chief Sharad Kumar was to retire on October 30. Normally, announcements with regard to such postings are done 15-20 days prior. But in this case, the PMO called up the Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and asked him to send the proposal which he did without losing time. Gauba was also asked to send the name for the successor of SSB Chief also. But before Gauba could recover, the file came back in no time clearing the name of Y C Modi. Rajnath Singh who is also a member of the Cabinet Committee for Appointment (ACC), was taken aback when the file was put up to him for information and subsequent action.
Scared BJP delinks Gurdaspur LS Bye-poll with others
The BJP has de-linked the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha byelection with that of Gorakhpur and Phulpur. Though Yogi Adityanath had quit the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat and Keshav Prasad Maurya had quit the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat on August 6 itself, the Election Commission didn't hold the LS polls in these constituencies. When asked, a senior Election Commission official said that byelections are to be held only on the recommendation of the state government. Since the Punjab Government recommended the holding of bypoll in Gurdaspur and six months mandatory period was also expiring, we are holding the same. But in the case of UP LS seat, there is time. It is, however, up to the state government to take a call when it would like to hold. The state government indicated that it will contemplate after the festival season. It is said that the BJP doesn't want to test its popularity in UP at this juncture and delaying bye-polls. There are two vacancies in Rajasthan (Alwar & Ajmer) and one in Telangana.
Kejriwal Went to Igatpuri, lessons to keep quiet
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal quietly went into silent mode even after winning the Bawana Assembly seat in a tough byelection. This was a surprise to all in the Capital. He did not react when BJP was routed in the Delhi University Students Union polls. It now transpires that he opted to go to Igatpuri in Nashik and stayed at the Vipaasana Centre for ten days. Though he had been going to Bengaluru for his throat treatment and practice silence, habits die hard. He is back on twitter after ten days and roar in Gujrat shortly.