Deep Throat

A regular column on the essential buzz


Saffron Sondesh

The Bengal BJP is confident it will slowly but surely capture power in the state. Its leaders feel that by the 2021 assembly polls, the party will be in a position to take charge. After all, the BJP’s voteshare has gone up to 24 per cent in the panchayat polls, from 11 per cent in 2016, despite facing some violence.  Sources claim party workers are now waiting for Amit Shah to do what he did for catapulting the BJP to power in states like Manipur and Tripura. They want the party president  to make “frequent visits” to Bengal, and, seemingly keen to play ball, he landed there for a two-day visit on June 27. Shah’s first target is to get more seats in 2019 general elections. He also wants to know the truth about the killings of BJP workers during the panchayat polls.


Holier-Than-Cow

After doing a first by having a ministry of happiness, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh is now mulling a ministry for cow protection. Cow Protection Board chairman Akhileshwaranand Giri, who was recently accorded cabinet-­minister status, has written to Chouhan asking for a full-fledged ministry dedicated exclusively to ‘gauraksha’. Since Madhya Pradesh was the first state to establish a cow sanctuary in Agar district, Giri believes it is the right time to take it to the next level. Even though violence resulting from cow trafficking was never an issue in the state, the BJP government had announced setting up of the first cow sanctuary in 2008 to preserve cows that are not self-sustaining. Incidentally, happiness minister Lal Singh Arya is facing murder charges. Rajasthan is the only other state that has a similar ministry for cow welfare.


Divided In Fight

Much was said about the bonhomie between ‘UP ke ladke’ (UP boys) Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav  during the ass­embly polls in 2017. Things don’t appear to be that hunky-dory between the Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP) scions. This was evident from Rahul Gan­dhi’s iftaar, where most Opp­osition leaders were inv­ited. Neither did Akhilesh go nor did he send a representative. SP has made it clear that while the party is keen on a tie-up with the BSP and the RLD to take on the BJP in 2019, it is not warming up to the Con­gress as a partner. It is still smarting at the Congress not joining hands with them in the Phulpur and Gorakhpur byp­olls. Now the SP says they can only offer two seats to the Con­gress­—Amethi and Rae Bareli!

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