It’s common knowledge that Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda can’t bear to let go of his close IAS officers. No sooner does one retire than he/she is promptly appointed in one or the other commission. The State Information Commission is particularly plagued, and is now the virtual preserve of one family. It’s headed by Naresh Gulati who retired two years ago. Wife Urvashi, who retired as chief secretary last month, now joins him as an information commissioner. She fills a space vacated by elder sister Meenakshi Chaudhary, who retired as chief secretary five years ago. The commission now consists entirely of ex-IAS officers, the very same who honed their skills blocking access during their civil service days. Needless to say, they are being well rewarded by Hooda.
As details from the CAG report on a land scam were selectively leaked last week in Maharashtra, not a few A-listers from the Congress and NCP, including Vilasrao Deshmukh, Narayan Rane and Chhagan Bhujbal, found themselves under fire. Piling on the pressure, both inside and outside the state legislature, was the BJP state leadership. For two days they went at it relentlessly, Deshmukh—who’s already mired in a number of scams—especially coming in for some scathing attention. Then, suddenly the BJP guns fell silent. Buzz is the Mumbai boys were told by “Delhi leaders” to keep the larger picture in mind. Translation: why take on Deshmukh when the BJP itself was working on reinstalling scam-tainted B.S. Yediyurappa as CM in Karnataka? Such are the trade-offs in politics. In all this, it’s Teflon man Vilasrao Deshmukh who is leading a charmed life!
Tarun Bharat, the RSS publication in Marathi, recently had a special issue out to celebrate Nitin Gadkari’s two years as BJP boss. Now it turns out all those who penned eulogies for him got Rajya Sabha seats. So was that the understanding, an Upper House berth for some fulsome praise for full-on Gadkari? It’ll be hard to prove but circumstantial evidence suggests there’s been some hanky panky. Consider the names of the contributors: Bhupendra Yadav, J.P. Nadda (both in the RS) and Anshuman Mishra, who only lost out because senior BJP leader from Jharkhand Yashwant Sinha put his foot down. Mishra, in his piece, compared “visionary” Gadkari to ex-president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and ex-PM A.B. Vajpayee. Unfortunately, even this rocketing praise didn’t help him. Gadkari’s still here, though, soaking it all in.
It wasn’t just the Gandhis in the Congress that got whupped at the UP hustings. It also singed cousin Varun, out on the far right flank in the BJP. With no role in the polls, and tantrums and sulks not getting him anywhere with party boss Nitin Gadkari, the Pilibhit MP realised he had to mend bridges. Last seen, a deflated Varun was welcoming guests at a function at Gadkari’s official bungalow on Teen Murti Lane, complete with sorry smile and folded hands.
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