Sunday, February 21, 2021

Fly on the wall | Pawar’s mysterious Silence in Rajya Sabha

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Pawar’s mysterious Silence in Rajya Sabha
The entire political class is baffled about the mysterious silence of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar when the Rajya Sabha discussed three farm laws for days together. It was expected that the tallest farmer leader from Baramati who was UPA’s Agriculture Minister for ten long years, will put the record straight. If a leader of his stature had spoken, farmers and the government would have listened to him. He is perhaps the only one who could have told the farmers to end the agitation as farm laws had been stayed for 18 months and has the stature to tell the government also to mend fences and find a way out. After all, it was Pawar who had brought many agricultural reforms during his tenure at the Centre and earlier in Maharashtra. Pawar was very much stationed in Delhi during the session of Parliament. But he maintained a mysterious silence in Rajya Sabha and chose to field Praful Patel instead. Though former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda who takes pride in calling himself “poor farmer from Karnataka” spoke in Rajya Sabha. But he has lost his rhythm and touch. Pawar could have made the difference. But he looked the other way. Why?? No answers are coming from the NCP.

Why PM is angry with Babus?
Ever since Modi came to power in 2014, the Babus are the worst sufferers. Gone are the days when they used to rule the roost and ministers used to eat out of their hands. In some of the ministries, the bureaucrats used to work as brokers between private players and politicians to reap the harvest. They were partying in 5 star hotels, playing golf, coming to the office at will etc. PM Modi talked of this Lutyens Delhi culture in 2014. Since then, Modi has been tightening the noose and Babus are now a nameless & faceless class. The Lutyens’ Delhi does not recognize when PM’s Principal Secretary PK Mishra takes a walk in the Lodhi Gardens. Modi wants to end Babus direct interaction with the businessmen completely and doggedly pursuing ‘faceless’ resolution of grievances. The Babus were crestfallen when Modi had a dig at them in the Lok Sabha saying they are not experts to run airlines, chemical or companies and everything. No PM has questioned their ability to deliver. Obviously, Modi was peeved that Babus are creating one hurdle after the other in the implementation of his policies. He blames them for sabotaging his vigorous divestment program and mobilizing Rs two lakh crores by selling PSUs. Modi feels Babus are to be blamed for it and gave them public bashing. Modi is now hoping for a Bonanza this year.

Rahul calling shots, G-23 crest fallen
Rahul Gandhi is neither Congress president nor Parliamentary Party leader. He has declared he won’t hold any post and rather no Gandhi will hold it either. But he continues to call the shots in the party, Parliament and makes no bones about it. He doesn’t mince words and is rather ruthless in getting things done. The Group of 23 dissident leaders had thought that he would be conciliatory to them after Priyanka Gandhi’s meetings with Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma. Both are part of G-23 letter writers. But their hopes were dashed when Sonia Gandhi sent a letter appointing Mallikarjun Kharge as Leader of Opposition in place of Ghulam Nabi Azad three days before his retirement. It sent Anand Sharma sulking who was in the race for the top post. The shocker came when Nana Patole was appointed as Maharashtra PCC chief. Now the word is that Patole may be given a ministerial berth making one of the Congress ministers resigning. The issue was broached when Patole met Rahul in Delhi. It is said that one Congress minister will quit to make room for Patole. No final word has emanated from 12 Tughlaq Road, the official residence of Rahul Gandhi in this regard. K C Venugopal is gradually replacing late Ahmad Patel in AICC.

The lone winner
The NaMo administration cleared 26 IAS officers of 1988 & 1989 batch to be promoted as Secretary and 14 as Secretary Equivalent. Maharashtra was lucky as Rajesh Agrawal was the lone officer figuring in the list of 40. But he too was made Secretary Equivalent and not as full secretary. Not a good sign for the richest and one of the largest states.