Congress’ Punjab Discord
The Congress recently appointed a three-member committee to look into the discord within the Punjab Congress. This was essentially the feud between Navjyot Singh Sidhu and the sitting CM Captain Amarinder Singh. However, there are those who are wondering as to why Sidhu’s complaints should be elevated to a high-level committee since of the two, it is clearly the Captain who is a bigger asset to the party. Yes, Sidhu has a better equation with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, but isn’t it time that strong leaders are given a preference over family favourites?
BJP’s Punjab Plan
Realising that the party has in all probability lost the farmers’ vote and after its break up with the SAD, the BJP is now looking for ways to make inroads in the state. Hence, it has come up with the formula of promising the state its first Dalit-Sikh as CM if the party comes to power in the next state polls due early 2022. The strategy, according to party sources, is to tap into the 31% Dalit vote (mostly in rural Punjab) as well as the 38% Hindu vote. The BJP is clearly hoping to capitalise on the frustration among the non-Jat Sikhs that with only 21% of the state’s population, yet it is always a Jat Sikh who gets to be the CM, whether from the Congress or the SAD. Which is why, interestingly, we have seen Punjab Congress MLAs raising pro-Dalit issues of late.
Human Cost of Politics
While the spotlight has been on the plight of teachers in Uttar Pradesh who caught Covid during polling duty during the Panchayat polls, few have noticed the plight of the Uttarakhand police personnel who were deployed during the Kumbh Mela. Official estimates put the number of cops who were down with Covid during April and May as 2,382. But anecdotal evidence suggests a much larger number than the official figures (as was the case with the UP teachers as well).
UP Hot Potato
BJP circles are abuzz with rumours of a stand-off between the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the Centre. Apparently, the Prime Minister is keen for his favourite bureaucrat turned UP MLC A.K. Sharma to play a larger role in the state government. In fact, some are even talking about a deputy chief ministership for the man who was singled out for praise by the PM for his handling of Covid cases in Varanasi. The pro-Yogi faction, however, is said to be resisting this move. Will the RSS take a call? Certainly, the rumours to replace Yogi as the Chief Minister before the UP polls have been scotched.
Sachin Pilot’s Next Move
With Ashok Gehlot still to accommodate Sachin Pilot’s faction in his ministry, Congress leaders are wondering what will be Pilot’s next move. He has resisted every lure to move to the Centre; for instance, there were offers of him to shift to the party headquarters during the reshuffle last year with some even speculating that he would be the media chief since Randeep Surjewala was made General Secretary. After Rajeev Satav’s untimely demise, it was also speculated that Pilot could be made in-charge of the crucial state of Gujarat (which was under Satav’s charge). However, Pilot has resisted any move to shift him out of Rajasthan until all the promises made to him have been fulfilled and his followers accomodated. But with Ashok Gehlot refusing to do so, is the Rajasthan Congress heading for another confrontation?