- Adhir Ranjan Blasts TMC at CWC meeting
- Bhupesh Baghel takes a dig at Mamata Too
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Monday, October 18, 2021
The Game-2024 for the Lok Sabha polls has already begun. While the Congress Party is desperately working hard to revive itself and putting its entire might to win a couple of states in the ensuing round of Assembly polls early next year, the BJP is trying hard to defend its citadel in four states; UP, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. Punjab is being watched very closely as its an open game with pollsters predicting a win for the dark horse AAP though its early days. These polls are also crucial for some of the regional players like SP, and BSP who have been facing BJP's onslaught for the past seven years in UP. But for most of the regional Satraps in the East, West and Southern regions, these Assembly polls are not of much consequence.
In the East in West Bengal, Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee is rather waiting for the Congress to suffer a setback. She knows that she is not a player in North Indian politics and remains unruffled as her honeymoon with the Congress is virtually over. She is now on her own trip with poll strategist Prashant Kishore advising her actively. If grapevine has it, she is now targeting to secure 50 Lok Sabha seats during the 2024 parliamentary polls as she can be a player in any non-BJP government formulation. This is a huge target considering her appeal confined to West Bengal with 42 Lok Sabha seats. She hopes to polarize the state the same way as Modi did in 2014 and 2019. Rather, she will have an added appeal to the voters saying; vote for me as I can be PM, a first Bengali. She may be anywhere between 34-37 Lok Sabha in 2024. But to win extra 13-15 seats, is an Herculean task. She is working hard to replace Congress in the North East comprising 22 Lok Sabha seats. She has already brought senior Congress leader Sushmita Dev into the party and was rewarded with a Rajya Sabha seat to influence voters in Assam and Tripura. She is also making a strategy to get a couple of seats each in Odisha, Jharkhand and even Bihar and enter into strategic adjustments with parties in states where Bengali voters are in large numbers.
Until the other day, NCP Supremo Shaarad Rao Pawar was the only name that always cropped up for the post of PM probable. But knowledgeable sources say that unassuming Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray could be a new player in the Game-2024. He has changed the entire culture and ethos of Shiv Sena during the past two years in power. Uddhav is in the driver's seat and shown to the people how a coalition government is run. With no one around to take on the mighty BJP juggernaut Uddhav's style of working has given some hope as well. He has been a successful manager, measured in his responses, doesn't mince words either and knows when to keep quiet.
He is managing two very ambitious leaders, Sharad Pawar and Nana Patole with tremendous skill. Political pundits say if India gets a hung parliament, Uddhav is the man to watch. Uddhav has mastered the art of retaining his hard line Hindutva credentials and at the same time running a secular government without big jerks.
He continues to be close to the RSS, goes to Ayodhya, meets Modi and still keeps his secular partners happy. In addition, he also takes pride in his Maratha identity. The Sena has also shed its anti-minority violent image too. In a way, Uddhav Thackeray can be India’s first secular Hindu nationalist. It will be difficult for the BJP to use the minority appeasement bogey against a Hindu party. In addition, big corporate houses in Mumbai also like him. Interestingly, they are the same houses who bow before Modi in Delhi, But keep Thackeray in good humour in Mumbai.
Rising graph of Stalin
After two powerful southern leaders; K Kamraj and J Jayalalitha, failed to grab power in Delhi, DMK's M K Stalin is contemplating trying his luck. But he is not in a hurry and is slowly consolidating his position. He is looking beyond 2024 even if there is a hung house three years down the line. Poll strategist Prashant Kishore is a common factor between Stalin and Mamata Banerjee. If Mamata is targeting a 50 seats game, he is not far behind either. Currently, he is creating an identity raising issues like “federal structure” etc without talking politics directly. He is busy mobilising non-BJP Chief Ministers on key issues.
Monday, October 11, 2021
Amount in Crs 18599 28404 30131
Saturday, October 9, 2021
New Delhi, Oct 8
Friday, October 8, 2021
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Haryana's Congress stalwart Bhupinder Singh Hooda may be a signatory of the G-23 letter to Sonia Gandhi and at times airing his views. But his son and Rajya Sabha MP, Deepender Singh Hooda is standing with the Gandhis like a rock. He even got detained when he went along with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to Lakhimpur Kheri (UP) to protest against the atrocities on farmers.
Anand Sharma, deputy leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha has been maintaining studied silence for weeks together and did not join issue with Kapil Sibal who fired a huge salvo against the leadership a couple of days ago. In fact, none of the other senior leaders joined ranks with him, be it; Prithviraj Chavan, Mukul Wasnik, Shashi Tharoor and others. Even Manish Tewari was very guarded.
Some of the signatories like Jitin Prasada have already joined the BJP.
Ghulam Nabi Azad may have demanded summoning of the Congress Working Committee meeting, but Sonia Gandhi is unlikely to oblige.
A senior Congress leader told Lokmat that Sonia Gandhi won't commit the cardinal mistake that late Sitaram Kesari did by calling a CWC meeting and faced his own removal. Though Kesari was unwilling to call a meeting of the CWC in 1998 but he was persuaded by seniors like Dr Manmohan Singh that everything would be normal. In a virtual meeting, the command and control is operated through a remote button and members can speak only when authorized. Therefore, there is no question of any “physical meeting”, said the source.
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
The Election Commission is extremely worried over the mushrooming of political parties as more than 500 such outfits have sprung up during the past two years.
The EC has written to the government to seek powers to deregister them. What has made EC worried is that these have cropped up after the 2019-Lok Sabha polls and they came up between April 2019 and August 2021. In addition, more than 100 new political outfits have applied for registration in the past two months alone.
These are registered political parties but not recognized parties. More than 2700 parties are registered and most of them are defunct. There are eight recognized national and over 50 state parties. Others are registered parties but unrecognized and their number is rising rapidly.
The EC cannot refuse to register political parties. But it wants to de-register such parties who have no activity worth a salt. A senior EC official said it had come to the notice of the government and the Commission that some of the parties were used for money laundering as they are exempted from income tax. At times, large parties use the infrastructure of these registered parties during campaigning.
It is in this background that the EC has sought power to deregister defunct political parties as they enjoy tax exemption on donations. They can take donations below Rs 2000 in cash and submit a report to the ECI. Though rules have been tightened lately. The Act exempts parties’ income from house property, voluntary contributions, other sources and capital gains. The Commission has the power to delist parties under Article 324 of the Constitution but it cannot deregister dormant parties. From February 2016 to December 2016, the ECI had delisted 255 registered unrecognised political parties.
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
Friday, September 24, 2021
Monday, September 20, 2021
12 crore children need to be vaccinated now
After achieving the target of giving 100 crore doses by month-end to adults, the Centre is set to announce its plans to vaccinate children in the age group of 12-17 years.
When contacted, Prof N K Arora, Chairman of country’s top body, INSOCOG and Covid Task Force told Lokmat that the priority would be given to this age group as they could be carriers of Covid infections. Though the Sero-Surveys had established that the number of children infected with Covid is not higher than that of the adults. But they needed the vaccine now that most of the adult population had been covered with the first dose.
When asked when the decision would be taken in this regard, Prof Arora said, “It should come anytime now.”
In response to another question, he said, the vaccination of children in this category could start within the next couple of months. “In children as it is, severe disease and fatalities are uncommon. So, we have to ensure parents are safe first and children automatically become less vulnerable,” he added.
Arora added that children with comorbid conditions will be given priority in vaccination and even among them priority will be given to those who tend to have co-morbidities.
It is learnt that one percent children have co-morbidities out of the 12 crore children and the government had estimated that roughly 40 lakh such children will be given preference. The Jabs to them may start as early as October and may be free of cost. India’s drug regulator granted emergency use authorisation to Zydus Cadila’s vaccine, ZyCov-D, on August 20. This is India’s first vaccine for children aged above 12.
Saturday, September 18, 2021
A PM without a Coterie
Modi is perhaps the only Prime Minister of Independent India who doesn’t have a coterie or a close circuit around him. Even those who are around, cannot claim that they can get things done. No person; be a Minister, bureaucrat, friend, an industrialist or a family member can claim he can get things done. Even those having access to him dare not take liberties. Those who had free access to him in his first stint are not even around him. The usual refrain in the past was "I have spoken to the PM... it will be done." This word is unheard in the Modi dispensation. It is not as if the country didn’t see honest and competent Prime Ministers who worked for 18 hours a day. There were Prime Ministers like Lal Bahadur Shashtri or Morarji Desai who had no baggage either. But they didn’t have long tenures in power like Modi. More than seven years as PM, understanding Modi is still very complex. He has no family, hates to mingle with the media and didn’t address a single press conference in seven years. Modi has established complete sway over the government, party and even the mother organization, RSS. After the death of Arun Jaitley in August 2019, he is neither compelled nor obliged to consult anybody either. Many think this government is run by two people PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. But they are sadly mistaken. Modi is his own master. If Rajnath Singh as Home Minister was clueless about many key appointments despite being the only member of the Cabinet Committee of Appointments (ACC), the Home Ministry isn't in the know of all key appointments either. This remains an exclusive domain of the DoPT under the PM.
Modi is flexible too
Modi is quick to take corrective steps and not adamant on reversing his decisions either. For example, he changed four Governors in three years in J&K. He appointed Satyapal Malik as the Governor of the sensitive state in August 2018 replacing a seasoned bureaucrat N N Vohra. Malik's appointment caused a huge surprise as he was a rank outsider to the party and nothing to do with the RSS philosophy either. However, Malik was shifted to Goa in 2019 and Modi brought his most trusted bureaucrat G C Murmu. When Modi saw he was not delivering as per his plans, Murmu was also shown the door within two years. He chose to send a seasoned politician Manoj Sinha reflecting his willingness to change and quickly too. This flexibility is rarely seen at the top.
A Message with smile
Modi has his unique style of conveying a message. During a review meeting of all UP Mps, Modi asked state BJP Chief Swatantra Dev Singh smilingly, “Aap Varanasi ke Lok Sabha MP ka bhi hisab kitab rakhte ho? Usko Bhi kuchh Batao!”. Dev was sheepish but the message to all Mps present was loud & clear that they are answerable to the state party chief.
Sunday, September 5, 2021
- Wants decision-making accelerated
- Many riders attached
ield to protect them from harassment in future. This has been done to expedite the process of decision making which has been hurting the government’s growth path.
Monday, August 16, 2021
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
But toll collection rose during lock down, asserts Gadkariby Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
New Delhi, Aug 9
Thursday, August 5, 2021
by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
Why PK fell out with Shah
Disquiet in RSS
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
New Delhi, Aug 2
Monday, July 26, 2021
Secret of Modi-Pawar bonhomie
The Clock ticks after 27 years
Hidden Talent of Ashwini Vaishnav
Monday, July 5, 2021
Modi to get his 2024 War Team soon
by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
The review reflected the under-performance of some of the ministries particularly in telecom and education. There is a view that young faces be brought in to develop future leaders. The impending Cabinet reshuffle which is to take place anytime will show-case PM’s War team for 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Sunday, July 4, 2021
Saturday, July 3, 2021
by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
BJP’s offensive worries NCP
BJP’s UP Waterloo
Uttarakhand: A new pain in the neck
Thursday, July 1, 2021
It could be this weekend?
No news with Rashtrapati Bhawan so far