Why Did Harsimrat Badal Resign?
Harsimrat Badal, SAD minister in the NDA submitted her resignation over three anti-farmer ordinances, especially one that wants to do away with the mandis, with the Farmers Produce Trade & Commerce Ordinance. This has raised apprehensions as to whether it would also do away with the MSP which has got the farmers on the streets. It’s ironic that the one sector that has been doing well during Covid is the agricultural sector, and now that is the one that is being hit. The Congress too has joined hands against this bill but given the fact that they had made similar suggestions both in their 2019 manifesto and the 2017 Punjab state election manifesto, their opposition lacks conviction. Maybe that’s why the party chose to walk out during the voting instead of voting against the bill. As for Harsimrat, she has denied the BJP’s allegations that she did not voice her concerns over the ordinance when it came up in the Cabinet. The SAD leader says she did flag her concerns, both inside the Cabinet and later on separately with the Agriculture Minister as well. And more importantly, as she points out that if the farmers for whose benefit the bills are allegedly being brought, are against it then how can a pro farmer party support it? Is the BJP right when it calls it’s a political stunt? If so then why did the Narendra Modi government bring in these ordinances on 5 June 2020, just as India was emerging from a very harsh and very long lockdown? Why was this such a priority? These are questions that the government will have to answer instead of simply lobbying the ball back to the SAD court.
Caste Does Dominate
The BJP recently announced a 70-member election steering committee headed by Union Minister Nityanand Rai for the upcoming Assembly polls in Bihar, with the party’s state unit general secretary Devesh Kumar as its co-convenor. A handful of Union Ministers are also on the committee, with Ravi Shankar Prasad heading the poll campaign group. But what is interesting is that the list of the committee members also had their castes mentioned alongside their names. Yes, Bihar does have more than its share of caste-based politics, but equally the BJP has recently made a big deal about how it doesn’t indulge in caste-based politics. Moreover, sources indicate that this is a move that has not gone down well with the RSS at all. Guess to take one step forward, one has to first take two steps backward.
Ambitions and Aspirations
G.S. Sappal, once a powerful name in the UPA government as CEO of Rajya Sabha TV, is looking for a soft landing after his current enterprise Swaraj TV shut down. Sappal was initially known as a Hamid Ansari manm who then became close to Ahmed Patel and Digvijaya Singh. The buzz is that he is now said to be looking for some berth within the Congress either in the media cell or the party’s war room. Well, it’s reshuffle time within the Congress and there are still some posts to be filled!