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Yadavs making up signals normalcy in relations

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
By Arati Jerath

In a significant development for UP politics, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav has made up with his estranged son Akhilesh Yadav. The normalization of their relationship after an ugly public spat prior to the UP assembly polls 2017 has been evident for some time now.

Mulayam turned up for Akhilesh’s birthday celebration at the SP headquarters in Lucknow last September. He stood next to Akhilesh as the former UP chief minister cut his birthday cake. Both fed each other cake.

Then, in November, a similar scene happened on Mulayam Singh’s birthday. Mulayam cut his cake and father and son fed each other a piece.

More recently, Akhilesh flew to Delhi specially to attend a dinner thrown by Ram Gopal Yadav for SP MPs shortly before the winter session of Parliament ended. It was like old times again, one of the invitees remarked. Father and son chatted comfortably with each other and when Mulayam left, Akhilesh went to the car to see him off.

SP members are relieved that the relationship between the two is back on an even keel. While Akhilesh is firmly in the saddle as SP chief, he needs his father by his side to shore him up.

His father’s support is particularly important because the relationship between his uncles Shivpal and Ram Gopal remains bitter and hostile. Shivpal did not show up for Ram Gopal’s dinner. His absence was felt by all present.

Sanjay Singh is late AAP addition
Gupta and Gupta were not the only surprise Rajya Sabha nominees by Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP. Sanjay Singh is believed to have been a late addition to the list.

Although Sanjay Singh is an old and trusted Kejriwal man, his stint in Punjab as campaign in charge during the 2017 assembly elections made him very controversial. There were all sorts of charges against him and after AAP’s debacle, he was forced to lie low.

Actually, AAP sources say former journalist Ashutosh was a front runner for a RS nomination. He has been keeping AAP’s flag flying in print and on television and has been leading his party’s charge against Narendra Modi and the BJP.

His chances were scuttled because reports reached Kejriwal that Sanjay Singh had a secret meeting with rebel leader and another RS aspirant Kumar Vishwas at a house in Noida.

The reports rang alarm bells that the two could be plotting to drive a schism in AAP that could lead to a split on the eve of the RS elections. Sources say Sanjay Singh was called and offered a nomination to placate him.

The offer to the two Guptas was made several weeks ago. It was the third nomination that changed at the last moment, leaving Ashutosh out in the cold.

Interestingly, N D Gupta is well known to BJP leader Arun Jaitley while Sushil Gupta was in the Congress till a couple of months ago. The question being asked is this: has Kejriwal chosen wisely by picking people with links to the two national parties or has he made a strategic mistake?

Lalu Yadav issues family ban again
It seems Lalu Prasad Yadav has forbidden his family to visit him in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Jail where he is lodged for the time being. Apparently, seeing his family makes him emotional and sad.

He issued the same ban when he was jailed last time in 2013. That time he spent nine months in prison before he was given bail.

This time, his family is hoping that the jail stint will be shorter because they feel the conspiracy case in which he has been convicted is bailable. They are hoping that the high court will give him relief.

Lalu’s family members are quite stoic about his refusal to meet them. They keep in touch with his lawyer to get news of his health and well being.

Colorful report on tourism promotion
The railways ministry parliamentary standing committee headed by Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandhopadhyay has come out with a colorful report on tourism promotion and the pilgrimage circuit.

When the report was tabled in the Lok Sabha last week, BJP members were thrilled and heaped praise on it. Strangely, the words of praise were not for the chairman but for his boss, Mamata Banerjee. BJP MPs lauded her for the wonderful report.

Political circles were surprised by this sudden expression of affection for someone who has been fighting with the ruling party almost on a daily basis. Was it the subject of the report – pilgrimage circuit – that excited the BJP? Or was there a subtle message in the praise asking for Mamata’s help to get the triple talaq bill passed in the Rajya Sabha?

The ploy doesn’t seem to have worked because the Trinamool Congress remained at the forefront of the demand in the Rajya Sabha to send the bill to a select committee. In fact, it is the Trinamool’s consistent and aggressive approach that has forced the Congress to discard its wishy washy ways and finally take a stand.

BJP having problems
Despite the formidable presence of BJP president Amit Shah in Parliament and the scolding by Narendra Modi during the monsoon session, the BJP is having problems getting its MPs to Lok Sabha to pass the constitutional amendment bill granting constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.

On Wednesday, Lok Sabha Speakeer Sumitra Mahajan abruptly adjourned the house for the day after a lone BJP MP tried to disrupt proceedings. It seemed to be a planned move because the ruling party didn’t have the numbers to get the bill passed.

The next day, despite a three-line whip, it found a high rate of absenteeism in the House, which is why the government has now deferred the bill.

Ironically, this is the same bill which failed the quorum test in the monsoon session and provoked the PM to rap his MPs on the knuckles for being absent when the bill was to be passed.

Political circles are surprised by the defiance of BJP MPs. The persistent absenteeism suggests that many MPs are secretly unhappy with the bill and don’t want to see it become law. Wonder what the Modi-Shah duo have to say about this.

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