One for the Cause

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was in the national capital recently, organising a three-day seminar cum exhibition to celebrate the 400th birth anniversary of the Ahom general Lachit Barphukhan, who defeated Aurangzeb’s Mughal army. This is part of the ongoing exercise by the Narendra Modi government to highlight the lives and valour of regional heroes, who have contributed towards nation building, but their exploits have been ignored by governments of the past. Nor do these make it to our history books which are replete with tales of Mughal domination. So on the one hand, there is a course correction at hand, where a version of history handed down by our colonial rulers is being adjusted to accommodate those historical heroes whom we as a nation want to felicitate instead of just learning about how the Mughals came and defeated us. But there is also the underlying narrative of a Hindu king defeating a Mughal army which fits in well with the BJP’s own political narrative. There is also a reachout to the Ahom community, dominated by the Gogois, by a Brahmin Chief Minister. The message here being what Tarun Gogoi could not do for his own community, Himanta has delivered. And with the Prime Minister as well as the Home Minister attending the event, he could not have asked for more publicity for his cause. Clearly, this is a giant step in Sarma’s larger goal of bringing the Northeast closer to the national capital.

Some of the displays at the exhibition.


The Sachin Pilot vs Ashok Gehlot is fast becoming a huge stumbling block in the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Can the Congress resolve this face-off before Rahul Gandhi’s yatra enters Rajasthan? So far the optics are not in favour, as this will not be solved with a quick fix solution. The egos of both men need to be handled tactfully and each has made it clear that the middle ground will not work for them. Political historian Rasheed Kidwai recalled on the Roundtable (NewsX) about a time when then Punjab Chief Minister Partap Singh Kairon and Jawaharlal Nehru were travelling in a car they saw a dog that had been run over by a vehicle lying in the middle of the road. Seeing this Kairon pointed out that this is what happens when you don’t choose a side. It is now time for the Congress leadership to choose a side and stop keeping the ambitions of both its leaders hanging. While Pilot has been assured of a regime change, at the same time the leadership is reluctant to act on it. This is what has led to the current confusion and the fault is squarely with the party leadership, not individuals for nursing ambitions. The irony of course is that – who is the Party High Command for Rahul is busy with the yatra, while Kharge is still to get his team together.

Who will win Himachal?

Given the BJP’s home court advantage in Gujarat, the pollsters and political analysts are focusing on the smaller hill state that has gone to the polls and where the battle is evenly poised between the BJP and the Congress. In the fray are around 22 rebel candidates, most of them from the BJP stable. Given that the total number of seats is 68, this is a sizeable chunk. While the rebels are expected to make a dent in the BJP vote bank, there is also little doubt that if there is a hung house the BJP has more “swaying” power than the Congress and could tilt the balance in its favour. So nothing is certain till the last vote is counted—and perhaps even after that. As a side note, the MCD election in Delhi is proving to be more interesting than covering the Gujarat polls, for here the battle is between the BJP and the AAP, with Congress playing the role of a spoiler. Given that the Congress would cut into its vote bank, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal is telling his voters not to waste their vote by voting for the Congress. Clearly, nothing livens the Indian landscape with all its contradictions and strengths more than an election be it for a state or a municipal body.