Missing in action
THE BLOW-HOT-BLOW-COLD Uma Bharti continues to embarrass the BJP. Ever since she won the state election from Charkhari, in Banda district, the saffron sadhvi has not visited her constituency even once. She hasn’t been seen in Lucknow either, having attended just one of the three Assembly sessions last year — that too to avoid disqualification. It seems Bharti is so busy with the ‘Save Ganga’ campaign that she has no time for the denizens of Charkhari. Now, partymen are suggesting a ‘padyatra’ along the Ganga to find their ‘missing’ MLA.
The Shadow Returns
Palace intrigues are back in play at the Poes Garden residence of J Jayalalithaa. After her infamous parting of ways with Amma over a year ago, companion and aide Sasikala Natarajan is clawing her way back to No. 2, a position she had earlier exploited to the hilt. Though Chinnamma, as Sasikala is known in the AIADMK, does not deal with party affairs, tremors are being felt all around. She has reportedly told her loyalists that she should be in ‘control’ before next year’s Lok Sabha poll. That has sent shivers down the spines of partymen who had ditched her when she was thrown out of Poes Garden in 2011. Some have apologised, but word is that Chinnamma does not forget or forgive easily.
Tripura CM Manik Sarkar is furious with Delhi for foisting Devanand Konwar as the new governor. Apparently, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde called to inform of the Centre’s decision to swap the governors of Bihar and Tripura. Sarkar was not amused, pleading that incumbent DY Patil had even prepared his inaugural speech. But ‘Big Brother’ didn’t budge. This is the first time in 15 years that a non-consensus candidate has been imposed on Sarkar.
Friends in Need
Now that the Karnataka Assembly polls have been announced, hectic parleys are afoot to cobble together allies. The Congress is buoyant after its good showing in the recent local body polls. But it’s the BJP and the JD(S), who are planning a reunion of sorts. Having lost some of their traditional strongholds, the two have firmed up pre-poll seatsharing in 10 Assembly constituencies. Well, seat-sharing is one thing, power-sharing a different kettle of fish, both should know from their bitter experiment of 2006.
The commitment of MPs to a strong antirape law can be assessed from the thin attendance during the House debate. But before that, the Cabinet meeting to discuss the Bill saw major fireworks. Eminent lawyers among the council of ministers had several queries for Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. His response: the Bill was based on the Justice Verma Committee suggestions.