Tough taskmaster that Amit Shah is, he has made life difficult for UP state unit leaders. They have been told that they have to agitate on pro-people issues and assume a proactive profile even at the risk of a crackdown by the Akhilesh Yadav government. The importance of winning the 2017 Assembly polls is being dinned into everyone’s head. The idea is that the bjp should emerge as the principal opposition to challenge the Samajwadis on issues like deteriorating law and order and rising crimes against women. Shah’s diktat led to a month-long agitation in Lucknow. But the brutal lathicharge that greeted them has demoralised the cadre. Shah, however, is in no mood to relent.
Even as misgivings over the move to push Hindi for official use are rife in the Northeast, some states are mulling over palliatives to tide over the problem, just in case the Centre insists on the move. Most of the five Congress-ruled states want headsets and interpreters to manage things. The clamour for the technological package is bound to become shriller if the Centre goes ahead with making Hindi mandatory as the official language.
Though Assembly polls in UP are due only in March 2017, there already are many aspirants within the saffron camp for the cm’s post. Several of them have made a beeline for the social media in order to expand their base. The frontrunners are Pankaj Singh, son of Union home minister Rajnath Singh, Varun Gandhi, Rajvir Singh (son of the former CM Kalyan Singh) and the Hindu Vahini rabble-rouser Yogi Adityanath. Amit Shah is not amused by this misplaced ardour, and has curtly suggested that they should keep aside their personal ambitions and instead focus on winning the bypolls to the 13 Assembly seats due in less than three months.
Relatively junior ministers in the Akhilesh Yadav government are making bold to speak out against their neglect by the cm and his senior colleagues. The minister of state for forest, Fareed Kidwai, summed up the mood at a function at Akhilesh’s residence when he said that he is actually a minister on rest instead! A stunned chief minister simply ignored the remark.
The anti-Siddaramaiah camp in Karnataka is rooting for having Dalit veteran and state Congress chief G Parameshwara as his deputy with immediate effect, if not indeed replacing the incumbent chief minister. The feeling is that if such moves are not made, the Congress may end up losing the plot altogether.