As 2020 Bihar Polls Loom, CM Nitish In a Soup over Covid-19

Political Delicacies - Column

The Janata Dal (United)-BJP government in Bihar might be facing the heat for its coronavirus crisis management, or the lack of it, but Chief Minister Nitish Kumar can breathe easy for two reasons — the state has no formidable political alternative, and people’s continuing trust in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the opposition parties have questioned the government and are trying to make an issue of coronavirus —a main political agenda with Bihar scheduled to go to polls in October-November of this year. Most of the parties are preparing themselves to campaign on the issue of migrant labourers and students who are coming back to their homes in the state. The RJD head Tejasvi Yadav is working hard to rally around the issue of the plight of migrant labourers and intends to carry this issue all the way into the 2020 assembly election. On the other hand, CM Nitish Kumar seems to be on a sticky wicket on this issue, since he, earlier, had strongly opposed the return of students and migrant labourers back to the state, but now is trying to please the same set of people. Meanwhile, Pappu Yadav has worked hard to bring back the students from Kota and has become popular among the students’ family. He is also opposing Nitish Kumar on this issue. Given the muddled situation, deputy chief minister Sushil Modi is trying to control the damage with the help of the central government.

Corona Conversations: Rahul speaks to migrant workers

After the online conversations of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi with the economists Raghuram Rajan and Abhijit Banerjee on the national response to COVID-19 pandemic, Gandhi had said that the central government should not behave like a moneylender and argued in favour of cash assistance instead of loans to tide over the coronavirus crisis. According to Rahul Gandhi, when a child is hurt, the mother does not offer a loan. He said he was pained to see the government was offering loan and not giving direct cash to the needy. Gandhi also met a group of migrant workers at Delhi’s Sukhdev Vihar area, who were resting for a while in the middle of their long journey home to Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi from Ambala in Haryana. Rahul Gandhi meeting them for an hour-long conversation is possibly a part of efforts to remake himself ahead of his potential return as the party president. The Gandhi conversations, whether with top-notch economists or with hapless migrants, have been widely appreciated and viewed as a powerful tool of political messaging, without directly antagonizing the government for its handling of the ongoing situation.

Corona Politics in Madhya Pradesh: Sacindhia camp anxious

Inspite of the heavy spread of coronavirus and the return of migrant labourers in Madhya Pradesh, fiery politics between Congress and BJP is at its peak. The former chief minister Kamal Nath is claiming that he is in touch with BJP MLAs and waiting for the by-election. On the other hand, the 22 former MLAs who left the Congress under the leadership of Jyotiraditya Scindia are worried and meeting with each other after the cabinet expansion, where only two MLAs, Govind Singh Rajput and Tulsi Ram Silawat, got berths. BJP leader Deepak Joshi, who lost the assembly election in 2018, has warned that he might go with any of the two parties. Joshi is the son of former chief minister Kailash Joshi and Congress is trying to exploit this situation. Meanwhile, Jyotiraditya Scindia is also disturbed and trying to hold onto his 22 MLAs, as due to coronavirus crisis, neither the Rajya Sabha election nor the assembly by-election is going to be held soon. Moreover, BJP is unable to give tickets to all the 22 MLAs who have come away from the Congress with Jyotiraditya Scindia, causing more heartburn for the former legislators. Both the parties are giving more time to their politics when the number of corona patients is going up daily in Madhya Pradesh.

BJP cries foul as West Bengal police book 2 MPs for communalising Covid-19

Both the major political parties in West Bengal, TMC and BJP, do not want to lose any chance for political fighting, whatsoever the issue. Now, it is coronavirus that both the parties are fighting over with each other on the matter of giving relief to the people of West Bengal. At present, West Bengal police has filed a case against BJP Lok Sabha members Locket Chatterjee and Arjun Singh for their alleged involvement in provoking communal clashes in Hooghly district. Chatterjee, the BJP MP from Hooghly, and Arjun Singh who represents Barrackpore constituency, have been named in two separate cases. They have been booked under non-bailable sections. According to BJP, CM Mamata Banerjee is vindictive and in place of fighting coronavirus, she is fighting with BJP workers and leaders.

Bengal’s ousted Health Secretary sings Kishore song at farewell

Removed from his post of state Health Secretary amid a row over coronavirus related data from West Bengal, 1990 Bach IAS officer Vivek Kumar proceeded to sing the Kishore Kumar number “Musafir Hoon Yaaron” at his farewell. The farewell was attended by senior bureaucrats as well as members of the medical fraternity. The bureaucrat’s rendition of the song went viral on social media.

(By arrangement with IPA)

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