By Rahil Nora Chopra
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has revealed his card for the 2019 elections: his TDP will not align either with Congress or the BJP. According to him, 2019 will see the emergence of a winning coalition of regional parties and TDP will play a leading role in this effort. Back from his visit to Bengaluru to attend HD Kumaraswamy’s swearing, which also witnessed the grand show of Opposition unity as a precursor to the grand alliance for the next general elections, Naidu told his party workers that they will not do any pre-poll alliance with BJP or Congress as both have failed to fulfill their promises. He claimed that as the BJP failed to make a dent into the southern states, it has hatched a conspiracy involving Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, claiming that some jewels were lost; so they are trying to wrest control of the temple of Lord Venkateshwara.
BENGAL FIGHT CONTINUES BEYOND PANCHAYAT POLL
The panchayat elections in West Bengal are over, but the fight between TMC, BJP and other opposition parties is still going. The new fight is over the pay of 1.23 lakh civic volunteers who helped conduct the poll. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has raised the salary of the volunteers from Rs 5,500 per month to Rs 8,000, which the opposition parties accuse as a reward for helping Trinamool to win the elections. But TMC is denying this and saying that the hike had already been promised before the elections. The pay rise will entail an additional burden on the state exchequer from Rs 812 crore per year to Rs 1,180 crore.
NITISH RE-ENGINEERING CASTE EQUATIONS
Ramvilas Paswan crossing over to Nitish Kumar’s side by way of his alliance with the BJP, of which Paswan is a partner, has prompted the Bihar Chief Minister to engineer a change in the state’s caste equations. There were 21 castes of Dalits when Ramvilas Paswan was against Nitish, with Paswan’s caste kept out of the group. But after Paswan submerged his opposition to the Bihar strongman, Nitish has included Paswan’s caste and made it part of Maha Dalits, which will entitle its members for additional economic benefits. Nitish has been playing a politics of division with the Dalits, keeping them in different categories and using economic benefits to lure them into different political affiliations. Now all of them come into the category of Maha Dalits and as part of the deal Ramvilas Paswan’s younger brother has been inducted as a minister as well.
VASUNDHARA FACES A CASTE CONUNDRUM
Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje is worried about her inability to fulfill her election promise of creating an economically backward class among the forward castes and giving them 14% reservation even though her government has completed more than four years. This has turned the forward classes against the BJP while the Gujjars are ready to come on the street to get the 5% extra reservation for themselves along with the OBC reservation. They have already given an ultimatum as the community wants a special OBC Class created for them on the pattern of Bihar. In view of this demand, the Jats have also demanded reservation and threatened the government against such move. With Sachin Pilot, a Gujjar, heading the Congress party in Rajasthan, Vasundhara does not want to provide a cause for Congress to exploit discontent among the Gujjars.(IPA Service)