Thursday, April 18, 2024

Political delicacies


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By Rahil Nora Chopra

Nitish meets, Modi, Shah, Nadda to sort out NDA seat-sharing
Ahead of the floor test of the NDA government in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their first meeting since the Janata Dal (United) president dumped the Opposition INDIA bloc and joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) last month, asserting that he would not leave it again. After meeting PM Modi, Nitish also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda. Both parties have to deal with a number of influential political issues ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, including the distribution of parliamentary seats for contesting election among them and their smaller allies and Issues pertaining to Rajya Sabha polls in the state may also be discussed during the CM’s meeting with top BJP leaders. Six Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar are falling vacant, for which elections are scheduled to be held on February 27. There is also a speculation that Nitish wants the Bihar Assembly to get dissolved so that its election could be held along with the Lok Sabha polls expected in April-May but the BJP, which has much more power than the JD(U) in the House, might not be receptive to the idea.
Gaurav Gogoi accuses Modi of turning Parliament into ‘King’s Court’
Lok Sabha MP Gaurav Gogoi during vote of thanks on the president’s address accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being a “maharaja” who has turned Parliament from a “temple of democracy” to a “king’s court”. The Congress leader also highlighted grim unemployment situation in the country. Gogoi said that around 42% of graduates below the age of 25 were unemployed in India. To buttress the desperation for jobs, he flagged a recent incident where 303 people, a large number of them from the prime minister’s home state, hired a chartered plane and tried to enter the US illegally. He added: “In 2022-23, 90,000 people tried to enter the US illegally, sometimes from Canada, sometimes from Mexico. They are forced to go to the UAE, Canada and America, leaving their families and homes behind.” He continued: “The maharaja is sitting on such a high singhasan [chair] that he cannot see this.” He further said: “When farmers die by committing suicide, youth say they are unemployed, women say that there is inflation, when 10% of the population is controlling 50% of the country’s wealth, they claim to be the fastest-growing economy. They use bhram [lies] to hide their failures to weaken democracy. They want to trap people in a mayajaal [net of illusion] to make the king more powerful.”
RLD tilts towards BJP, as SP mends ties with Congress in Uttar Pradesh
The gulf between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) seem to be widening, as SP, which is part of the INDIA alliance, aspires its candidates to contest elections from Muzaffarnagar, Kairana, and Bijnor Lok Sabha seats on the RLD symbol – a change that may have upset Jayant Chaudhary. The speculation about the RLD and its chief Jayant Chaudhary’s potential switch to the BJP-led NDA comes close on the heels of Samajwadi Party highlighting a positive signal to the grand old party, with Akhilesh Yadav accepting an invite by the Congress to join the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra that is entering Uttar Pradesh. The BJP has offered four Lok Sabha seats – Kairana, Baghpat, Mathura, and Amroha – to RLD in Uttar Pradesh besides an offer of a ministerial berth at the center and one in Lucknow. While RLD president Jayant Chaudhary, who was elected Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh in 2022 with the SP’s support, has been maintaining silence on the recent reports of meetings with the BJP. Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday said the BJP knows how to break parties and when and whom to ‘buy’. He also accused the ruling party of misusing central agencies like ED, CBI and Income-tax. Meanwhile, Congress and the SP are currently engaged in discussions to decide on the seat share in UP, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats. The SP has already declared candidates for 16 seats and offered 11 seats to Congress, which is seeking to contest 20 seats.
Bihar assembly: with 128 MLAs, Nitish to face floor test on Feb 12
Bihar Assembly Speaker Awadh Bihari Choudhary made his stance very clear that he would not step down from his post, besides making the announcement that he would not resign until the Assembly Session, which commences on February 12, when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is set to face a floor test. Choudhary, who belongs to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), is currently the Speaker of the Bihar Assembly. The NDA leaders want to remove him before the floor test. On January 28, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nand Kishore Yadav issued a notice of no confidence against the Speaker to the Secretary. A no-confidence motion can be brought against the Speaker after 14 days of giving notice to the Secretary. If 38 MLAs support the no-confidence motion, the voting process can be completed. On the other hand, Jitan Ram Manjhi demands two ministerial berths in the Nitish Kumar cabinet, adding fresh tension to the government. HAM(S) has four members in the assembly, and their role becomes crucial during the trust motion. While Congress offered the CM’s post to Jitan Ram Manjhi of HAM(S), state Congress president Akhilesh Prasad Singh said: “Wo aa jayen idhar, ham log bana dete hain Mukhya Mantri (We will make him the CM if he joins our alliance).” JD(U), however, has said Manjhi was solidly with the NDA. “Their (opposition’s) one-point programme is to destabilise the NDA government in the state. However, it will not happen.” The JD(U) and the BJP leaders have been asserting the vote of confidence would be a smooth affair as the ruling coalition, comprising JD(U), BJP, Hindustani Awam Morcha and a few other parties, have a majority of 128 members in the 243 member state assembly, while the opposition has 114 MLAs.
Eye on Lok Sabha polls, BJP teams up with TDP in Telangana
Ahead of Andhra Pradesh assembly and Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is all geared to join hands with the TDP, since it has fallen out with Andhra Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu has met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J.P. Nadda to revive his political alliance with BJP, and an announcement that TDP joining NDA may soon come. TDP and Jana Sena Party (JSP) had formed an alliance in September last. JSP chief Pawan Kalyan had since said that he continued to have a good relation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top BJP leaders, and he was confident that the national party would unite with the TDP-JSP combine to together fight the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in the elections. For the BJP, a tie-up with the TDP would mean a win for the party in at least some of the Lok Sabha seats. (IPA Service)


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