Last week, the Budget Session of Central Hall saw an interesting development when both Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and ex Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav dropped in for a visit. With both Mamata Bannerjee and Mayawati also present there, the air was abuzz with the talk of a Maha Gathbandhan. But what was interesting was that Akhilesh walked up to Mayawati and apparently told her that since he was younger than her, she should take the lead and head the Maha Gathbandhan against the BJP. According to sources, he feels he has age on his side and can afford to wait his turn. But the BJP has to be stopped in its tracks. Clearly, a very mature outreach from Yadav. It remains to be seen if Mayawati obliges, for don’t forget that the DA cases against her make her a very vulnerable leader.


All is clearly not well in the state of Bihar between the two allies, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav. It does seem with his support to demonetisation that the Bihar Chief Minister is rethinking his options. BJP sources say that he even sent a feeler through one of his MLCs who is close to the BJP leadership, but this outreach has been snubbed by none other than the Prime Minister himself. Narendra Modi, it seems, has a longer political memory than Nitish Kumar had bargained for.


A NewsX-Sunday Guardian Roundtable on Aadhaar took an interesting turn when three of the four politicians on the table admitted that they did not have an Aadhaar card as yet. Subramanian Swamy, Dinesh Trivedi and Rajeev Chandrasekhar have not got an Aadhaar card made. Their concerns are related to data security and privacy. During the Budget Session, Rajeev Chandrasekhar had initiated a short duration discussion on the subject where he articulated his concerns. As for Swamy, he is very clear that the court has ruled it is not mandatory to own an Aadhaar card. He says that he is waiting for someone to question him so he can move court. So there is a lot of buzz as to when Swamy will be filing his income tax return.


The NCP recently held a dinner to felicitate Sharad Pawar for being awarded the country’s second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibushan. Hosted by Supriya Sule and Praful Patel, the party saw leaders across party lines in attendance. Clearly, the Maratha strongman enjoys an all party goodwill, which could be one reason why Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has suddenly reached out to him to try and work out an anti-BJP alliance. One does not know if Pawar will oblige.


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