Scindia supporters ecstatic
Although the Congress is in high spirits after retaining the two Assembly seats for which byelections were held in Madhya Pradesh, sources say that the party leadership is not in a hurry to declare a chief ministerial candidate for the state 10 months ahead of the elections there. Similarly, the Congress is not showing any signs of projecting a CM face for Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh as well. Both states are scheduled to go to the polls this year. Congress president Rahul Gandhi is said to be more comfortable betting on a collective leadership in the poll-bound states rather than field a face, for the time being. The fear of rivalry among top leaders from these states coming out in the open is very much there. However, in Madhya Pradesh, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia’s supporters are ecstatic over retaining the two seats, Mungaoli and Kolaras, although barely, at drastically reduced margins from earlier. Both seats are under Scindia’s Guna Lok Sabha constituency and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had made winning these two seats a prestige battle. Scindia’s supporters are now going around town shouting “Ab Ki Bar Scindia Sarkar (This time there will be a Scindia government).”
BJP decides on strategy to fight incumbency
The BJP top leadership has decided to evolve a strategy to beat anti-incumbency in the party-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh that are going to the polls this year. They will concentrate on the underlying anger at the grass-roots, especially in the farming community.
Top sources claim that the party may drop a good number of “non-performing assets”—sitting MLAs. The party is also considering seriously fielding several of its sitting MPs from the states.
BJP strategists are confident that the BJP would be able to decrease some, if not all, the anger against sitting MLAs and introduce fresh talent in the Lok Sabha polls from these states. Apparently, the need for a new strategy is fuelled by the Congress’ recent gains in Gujarat which the BJP managed to save by a whisker.
AMU students threaten Kovind
Security agencies are in a tizzy over President Ramnath Kovind’s visit to the Aligarh Muslim University to address the convocation ceremony on 7 March. On Wednesday, the vice-president of the AMU students’ union, Sajad Subhan Rather, a Kashmiri, demanded an apology from Kovind for his remarks in 2010. Rather told The Sunday Guardian that either Kovind should apologise for his 2010 statement that “Islam and Christianity are alien to the nation” or stay away from the convocation. The students’ union secretary, Mohd. Fahad has warned the university authorities that they would be solely responsible for the consequences in case any RSS functionary attends the convocation. “If any Sanghi or BJP MPs and MLAs or anyone associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and demolition of the Babri Majid attends the convocation, they will not be treated well as we know how to deal strictly with such elements.”Rather said that “if something adverse happens during the visit then the Vice Chancellor and the President will themselves be responsible for it. Students are angry with the President’s visit due to his controversial statement regarding the community.”In his opinion, Kovind’s presence was not essential. “There will be no benefit to the institution. The President has been invited by the VC due to his personal interests. The VC wants to send out a message that AMU has accepted the BJP government and their ideology.”
Meghalaya’s eye-catching candidates’ names
The Meghalaya Assembly elections always amuse outsiders because of the names of the candidates. In the past, elections have seen candidates with names such as Hitler and Frankenstein. Many candidates with eye-catching names made it to the Assembly. This time also, Frankenstein W. Momin was in the race, contesting as an NPP candidate from Mendipathar. Then there was a Field Marshal Mawphniang, who contested from the BJP.
Among the list of 370 candidates were also Ian Botham K. Sangma (NPP), Air Marshal Diengngan (PDF) and Sing Wahlang (PDF). Two candidates were Nehrus—Nehru Suting (UDP) and Nehru D. Sangma (Independent). Then there was Mody M. Sangma (Independent).
Other interesting names include: Bomber Sing Hynniewta (Independent), Highlander Kharmalki (PDP), Process T. Sawkmie (Congress), Sounder Strong Cajee (NPP), Hispreachering Son Shylla (NPP), Hilarious Pohchen (PDP), Goodleader Son Nongsiej (PDP), Marathon Sangma (Congress), Roger Benny Sangma (Independent), Predecessor Rumnong (NCP), Firstborn Sn Nongtdu (Independent), and Secondson Sangma (NPP).
Locals told this paper that names always differ from place to place as they are influenced by different cultures, traditions and language. In the electoral rolls, names include Premier Sing Khongbeh, Everyday Tangson, Satellite Thabah, Rebirth Rungnga, Incharge Diengdoh, Remainder Khongsdam, Player Khongtim, Meghalaya Khontim, Eleven Ryngnga, Fourteen Rungnga, Sunday Diengdoh, Remote Massar, Beyond Chalam and Morality Hadia. Some voters share their names with countries and places like England, Italy, Japan Damascus, Mysore and Meghalaya.
A globally famous hodonomist (the science of study of names) Sarat Phukan , Guwahati, says that there were more than 30 reasons behind people choosing various kinds of names, including fancy. These names, including pet names, can originate from respective languages, religious scriptures, local beliefs, contemporary episodes, popular heroes from politics, public life, sports and cinema, etc.
Pleas against disabled soldiers withdrawn
Good news for disabled soldiers. The Ministry of Defence has taken a major decision to withdraw all appeals filed in courts against disabled soldiers. Credit goes to the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for this. At a recent meeting of her officials, Sitharaman said that a formula must be devised to withdraw appeals filed against the grant of disability pension to soldiers. In June 2017, the MoD had decided not to challenge court orders asking “to give disability pension to its soldiers”. The move affected hundreds who suffered disability during service or families of those who had died because of a disability while in service. But the Defence Ministry had not issued instructions on pending cases in which appeals had been filed in the courts even when soldiers had won in the Armed Forces Tribunal.
Man Mohan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org