THE NAME NOT ANNOUNCED
Najma Heptullah has been compensated for the loss of her ministerial berth by being made Governor recently, though it may not be the compensation she was hoping for, with her eye firmly set on Rashtrapati Bhawan. But there is one BJP leader who is yet to be compensated—former Chief Minister of Gujarat, Anandiben Patel, who was made to vacate her post recently. Ostensibly, both Najma and Anandiben quit at the same 75-year cut-off age. But it’s interesting that Najma, who joined the BJP recently, has been compensated while Anandiben has been left out. Party sources say that Anandiben was eyeing the Governorship of Karnataka. But clearly that didn’t happen as she spent Independence Day not hoisting any flags but meekly tying a rakhi on Vijay Rupani, the current Gujarat CM. Another side story is that the only reason Anandiben “agreed” to resign as Gujarat CM because of her age, was only if there was a precedent in place. Which is why Najma was told to put in her papers well after the Cabinet reshuffle.
CHANDIGARH BECOMES A CHESSBOARD
Last week the government suddenly announced that it was appointing a former IAS officer and BJP member K.J. Alphons as the administrator of Chandigarh. The move took many by surprise, for a new Governor for Punjab had just been announced. Why then appoint an administrator for the union territory and one who would be dealing directly with the Centre and not the Governor? The Punjab Governor has been officiating as the Chandigarh administrator since 1984, ever since the Rajiv-Longowal accord. Was this an attempt to cut off Chandigarh from the control of Punjab? The move has been put on hold for now after the Punjab CM and NDA ally Parkash Singh Badal objected. But one wonders about the logic of such a move with the state elections round the corner, for Captain Amarinder Singh has been quick to seize on the issue to question the Centre’s motives.
CORPORATE BUT POLITICALLY CORRECT
Last week the Prime Minister did the bhoomi poojan for a new BJP office in Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg. The downside is that it will not be as accessible as its old office in Ashoka Road in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi; but it will be much more hi-tech, with solar panels, water harvesting, a 450 capacity conference room, committee rooms with video conferencing facilities, ten high speed elevators and a cafeteria serving international cuisine.
All the major political parties have been allotted land outside Lutyens’ Delhi, but it seems that the BJP will be the first to make a move. The work on this is expected to be completed in two years, on 25 December 2018, which is former PM A.B. Vajpayee’s birthday. And in time for the next Lok Sabha elections.