By Arati R. Jerath
BJP spokespersons not willing to appear on same show as AAP spokespersons resulting in AAP vanishing from TV scene
Have you wondered why AAP spokespersons have virtually vanished from prime time TV debates? The banishment of AAP from evening discussions seems to be the result of a silent war declared by the BJP on Arvind Kejriwal’s party. Apparently, BJP spokespersons are under strict instructions not to appear on TV debates in which AAP spokespersons are also part of the panel.
One of the first questions BJP spokespersons ask channel guest coordinators who invite them to join the evening debates is whether an AAP representative will be taking part in the discussion. They agree to appear on the channel only if the answer is no. Otherwise they impose conditions. They say they will only participate if AAP is dropped from the panel.
By now, TV channels have got the message. All of them have virtually cut out AAP from their evening shows. After all, the voice of the ruling party is far more important than that of a small Delhi-based party, even if its leader Kejriwal punches above his weight.
The BJP’s tactic is proving to be a huge loss for AAP as it unable to get its point of view across even when the discussions revolve around elections in Punjab and Goa where the party is a contender. TV channels are now wondering what they will do on polling day and counting day if the BJP persists with its excommunication policy.
AAP leaders trace their banishment back to the point when Kejriwal raised the Sahara-Birla diary entries in the Delhi assembly and made a direct corruption charge at Narendra Modi. They say the BJP has escalated the war since then.
Delhi Polic caught by surprise
Trinamool MPs arrested for holding a protest march to the PM’s residence caught the Delhi Police by surprise when they broke out into Rabindra Sangeet at the police station where they were being held.
They sat on dharna at the Tughlaq Road police station for nearly three hours. It was a nightmarish experience for the cops as the MPs seemed to have excess energy. They not only kept shouting slogans like Mamata se jo takarayega choor choor ho jayega, they kept breaking out into song. They sang popular songs penned by Rabindranath Tagore including his famous Ek la chalo re.
The MPs were protesting the arrest of their floor leader in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandhopadhyaya who was picked up by the CBI in connection with the Rose Valley ponzi scam.
The police tried to quieten the Trinamool MPs by offering them tea and snacks but the MPs refused. Later, one of the MPs gave a constable some money and asked him to go and buy samosas and tea for them.
By the time the MPs left, the police were exhausted. It had been a trying day.
Real cause of Yogi’s annoyance
BJP’s firebrand saffron MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath created a stir when he staged a protest walkout from the just concluded National Executive meet in New Delhi. He was annoyed because he wasn’t allowed to speak.
But the real cause of his annoyance is that he has been left out of the state election committee which will shortlist names of candidates for the upcoming assembly polls.
Adityanath fancies himself as a future chief minister so to be omitted from this important committee is real humiliation. To make matters worse, new entrants from other parties like Rita Bahuguna Joshi from the Congress and Swami Prasad Maurya from the BSP have been nominated to the committee.
Adityanath has protested to the high command about his exclusion but his complaint was fobbed off.
Congress returns favour
After Mamata Banerjee lent her support to Rahul Gandhi when he fired his corruption salvos at Modi, the Congress has returned the favour by backing her protest against the centre for unleashing the CBI on her MPs.
While the Left is out on the streets trying to mobilize public opinion against Mamata on the corruption issue, the Congress has declined to join the protests.
Interestingly, in the beginning, West Bengal Congress leaders did join hands with their Left comrades in the anti-Mamata protests. The Congress high command quickly dispatched West Bengal in charge C P Joshi to Kolkata with strict instructions to tell party workers to support Mamata, not criticize her.
Joshi’s message to the Congress West Bengal unit was very clear. He told party workers that the larger fight in national interest was against Modi and the BJP, not Mamata and the Trinamool Congress. He said the Congress and Trinamool were allies in this fight and their unity should not be disrupted by local rivalries.
Glaring omission in Modi’s speech
There was a glaring omission in Modi’s speech at his mammoth Lucknow rally last week. He showered praise on former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh but made no mention of Rajnath Singh who was also chief minister of the state for nearly one and a half years, from October 2000 to March 2002
Although Rajnath Singh was present by his side at the rally, Modi chose to refer to two other BJP icons from UP, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Kalyan Singh. He said that if they were watching the rally on TV, they would have been thrilled by the huge turnout.
He probably did not mention Rajnath by name because the home minister was on the dais. But in BJP circles, this is being seen as a wrongful omission. Modi used Vajpayee to reach out to the Brahmins and Kalyan Singh to reach out to the OBCs. This is the social combination the BJP hopes will power the party to victory in UP.
Rajnath is a Thakur, which is also a key caste for the BJP. Some in the party feel that Modi is taking the support of this caste for granted whereas he is unsure of the Brahmins and OBCs who have a history of switching their loyalties from election to election.