Lok Janshakti Party’s national president Chirag Paswan and Rashtriya Janata Party leader Tejashwi Yadav have been in the news in recent weeks for the same reason: both young leaders were seen driving a hard bargain with their respective alliance partners in the seat-sharing negotiations for the forthcoming Bihar Assembly polls. But the two also have something else in common.
According to reports from Patna, young Paswan and Yadav have been in touch with poll strategist Prashant Kishor who has told them that they should not be impatient as their electoral prospects in the coming poll are not very bright. He has instead advised them to bide their time and focus on the 2025 Assembly election by which time they would have added to their experience and attained a degree of gravitas.
Realising that there’s merit in Kishor’s argument, Paswan and Yadav have decided on using this election to build their profile as both see themselves as future chief ministers. This explains their recent tough posturing.
After losing two allies, the Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Bharatiya Janata Party has stepped up efforts to persuade the AIADMK to formalise its entry into the National Democratic Alliance. The AIADMK has one foot in the door already as it has been extending full support to the Narendra Modi government on all major issues.
The Southern party has apparently been offered a Cabinet berth to sweeten the deal. Given its brute majority in the Lok Sabha, the BJP actually does not need the crutch of alliance partners.
But if the AIADMK comes on board, it will help the BJP correct the public perception that it is arrogant and is driving away its allies. At the same time, the BJP hopes such a development will strengthen its presence in Tamil Nadu as it one of the Southern states where it wants to expand its footprint.
Ever since it stormed to power in 2014 and emerged as the dominant political force in the country, the Bharatiya Janata Party has adopted a pragmatic approach when it comes to inducting leaders from other political parties. The saffron party has been happy to give them tickets if they have the potential to win an election.
Similarly, the party has no problem in inducting these “outsiders” as ministers. There was a time when the BJP drew the line at accommodating them in key party positions but not any more. This was once again evident from the composition of party president J.P. Nadda’s new team members.
A number of leaders once dubbed “outsiders” like D. Purandeswari, D.K. Aruna, Mukul Roy and Tom Vadakkan were given prominent positions in the party, once the preserve of those who had risen from the ranks and were steeped in the party ideology.
Though this has led to a lot of resentment among the loyalists, the party is unconcerned as these appointments have been made with a firm eye on spreading its wings in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal, the states these “newcomers” come from.
With speculation rife that Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat is on his way out, his rivals in the Bharatiya Janata Party are busy positioning themselves for the top post.
State tourism minister Satpal Maharaj is the latest to join the long list of chief ministerial contenders. Satpal Maharaj’s ministry has recently hired a private public relations firm ostensibly to promote tourism in the hill state but the fact is that it has been promoting the minister.
As a result, Satpal Maharaj’s visibility in the press has increased. The minister has also visited Delhi several times in recent weeks despite the coronavirus pandemic as he believes his status as a religious guru gives him an edge over the others. But Satpal Maharaj faces tough in-house competition. Union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and BJP media chief Anil Baluni are also in the race and both have a hotline to the leadership.
The outrage over the Hathras tragedy finally pushed the otherwise somnolent Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati to put out a statement demanding the dismissal of the Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh.
This is a change from the recent past when Mayawati was virtually invisible and refrained from attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Yogi government. Her periodic outbursts were instead directed at the Congress, especially its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who has made a conscious effort to woo the Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, the BSP’s support base.
On her part, Priyanka makes it a point to visit victims of violence, particularly dalits, while tweeting regularly on the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. Realising that she could end up losing the perception war and the loyalty of her core voter, Mayawati finally roused herself to take on Yogi Adityanath.