The Inimitable Party Treasurer 

It seems that Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi did not take too kindly to social media rumours relating to the death of the nonagenarian Motilal Vora and reached out to those who offered condolences, asking them to retract. The rumours came at a time when Vora, who is suffering from Covid-19, was shifted from the ICU to a private ward at AIIMS. It is not just the Gandhis but the former party treasurer enjoys a warm rapport with almost the entire party as well as journalists covering the party headquarters. His room always had visitors dropping in, some with a hard luck story hoping for a handout, others for a cup of tea and gupshup, for Vora-ji knew exactly what was going on in the premises at 24 Akbar Road. In fact, I recall when I was a cub reporter, I accidentally hit one of the AICC vehicles in the parking lot while reversing my car. Fortunately, nothing happened to the other car though mine was somewhat damaged. That evening I got a call from Vora-ji who enquired after my accident. A bit sheepishly I confirmed and offered to pay for any damage that I may have caused to the party vehicle. Pat came the reply: “No I haven’t called to complain but since I was told your car was damaged more severely, I am calling to ask if there is anything we can do since it happened on AICC premises.” Truly an old school politician and here’s wishing him a speedy recovery!

No Allies in Modi’s Cabinet

Ram Vilas Paswan’s sudden demise has left a glaring gap in the Narendra Modi Cabinet. After Paswan’s exit the Cabinet is now officially a BJP one instead of an NDA composition, for there are no allies with a Cabinet berth. Yes there are some allies at the MoS level, but after the exit of the Shiv Sena and later the SAD, the LJP leader was the last NDA partner left in the Cabinet. Will this prompt the PM to do a Cabinet reshuffle sooner rather than later? Because don’t forget the BJP has an outright majority and doesn’t need to give Cabinet berths to NDA if it doesn’t want to. But the PM has always maintained that despite the numbers he would like to continue with the spirit of the NDA.

Realpolitik Post Ballot

Given the rate at which the NDA allies are dropping out of the coalition, one wonders who will be the next to cut ties with the BJP. The heat is on Nitish Kumar and the JDU, especially after Chirag Paswan has decided to break away from the NDA at the state level and field candidates against the JDU. The fact that he is not contesting against the BJP candidates itself shows that there is an implicit understanding between the two, for the buzz in the state is that the BJP is contesting all 243 seats in the state, with the LJP accommodating BJP candidates in the JDU quota. Which brings us to the question: if the BJP has a Plan B, what is Nitish Kumar’s Plan B? Will he do a Shiv Sena and opt for the Mahagathbandhan post polls? Well, as they say the real Bihar election will only start once the ballot has been cast.