by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
Meira as interim AICC Chief!
Why Nadda on 7th Heaven
Something unprecedented happened when the PM visited BJP headquarters for a “thanks giving” function to Bihar voters after its rare win. The BJP emerged as a “big brother” to Nitish Kumar after two decades and it was no mean achievement. The Bihar polls were a turning point for the party’s fortunes in elections due next year. Addressing workers, the PM suddenly turned to Nadda and said, “Nadda ji aap aage chalo hum tumahare saath hain” (Nadda ji, you lead it from the front and we are with you). Heads turned as such right-handed compliments were never given to any of Nadda’s predecessors by Modi in the past. When Modi repeated the compliment, Nadda got up from his seat to thank Modi. When Modi repeated the Nadda slogan a third time, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and others got up and clapped for Nadda rather sheepishly. Was Modi sending a message to leaders who did not go for campaigning in Bihar anticipating a defeat. The rare compliment sent Nadda on 7th Heaven as he single-handedly remained stationed in Bihar earning a feather in the cap. Is he coming out of the shadow of his seniors? One will have to watch out. But he has made his mark.
Finally, STC begins winding up
When the Modi government came to power, it had big plans to sell or shut down ailing PSUs. But six years in power, the Modi government realized it was easier said than done. It failed to sell or revive BSNL/MTNL despite spending billions of rupees of golden handshake to employees. It may succeed selling Air India and BPCL but at a far below the money it had envisaged. It wanted to shut down STC six years ago. It is only now that STC will be delisted from NSE and BSE. The STC Board has issued notifications to close down all branches including Mumbai, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad by November 30 and others by December this year. Come 2021, STC may exist only on paper to resolve its ongoing legal issues. Employees have been offered a lucrative golden handshake or transfer. Next in line will be MMTC. Both have huge land banks that could be sold off at a later stage to recoup the accumulated losses.
Rajnikant gives a miss
Amit Shah may have created a flutter by his roadshow in Chennai and sealing the BJP-AIADMK electoral alliance for the May 2021 Assembly polls. But his desire to meet the veteran cine-star Rajnikant or M K Alagiri, estranged brother of DMK Chief M K Stalin did not succeed. He held meetings until 2.30 in the morning in his hotel room. But both of them did not turn up.