Pre-Diwali dhamaka

So now we know it.Ever since Amar Singh, the first official wheels-dealer of Indian politics made a reentry into the beleaguered Samajwadi Party which is unable to accommodate the vaulting ambitions of its own Yadav clan,the media had been speculating as to who brought him in.

Who is the direct beneficiary of the entry of the wily Thakur whom everyone had forgotten.More important, why did the Thakur step in at a time when inner discord in the family was at its peak?What was the urgency for his return when elections are due in the most populous state of the country because he hardly commands any vote bank in the state or anywhere else for that matter?

But his statement on the controversial 'surgical strikes' by the Indian army which every political party worth its name is talking about has let the cat out of the bag.While every opposition party is feeling cheated about the secrecy of the mission Singh has revealed that Mulayam Singh Yadav was one of the select leaders who were consulted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the attack.

That is not a minor revelation.If true,it reveals a larger game plan of the Bharatiya Janata Party in its strategy to capture UP. After the humiliation it suffered in Bihar despite Modi's sustained campaigning, Amit Shah would leave nothing to chance in UP. And Amar Singh appears to be a plant of the BJP in the ensuing battle in Uttar Pradesh to reveal the cards of Netaji when matters get too complicated.

Amar Singh, by spilling the beans has tried to prove two things-one, that he is privy to information that no one in the party had and two that Mulayam Singh had more options in hand than people credit him with.

Going by the Diwali analogy you can view Singh either as Hanuman or Vibhishan depending on his capacity to destroy a strong contender (SP) from inside or create new alignments in the post-election scenario in UP.

If one were to go by the new found bravado of Akhilesh Yadav, who has asserted that he is ready to face elections in February next year it would appear Amar Singh has some aces up his sleeve to prevent Mayawati from returning to the throne in Lucknow.

Readers will not forget how Amar Singh was so scared when she filed hundreds of cases against him that he ran away from Uttar Pradesh after Mulayam Singh had lost the election last time.

As of now the pollsters are giving the BSP a clear chance of snatching power with SP coming second. Under the circumstances the SP cannot afford to keep all its eggs in one basket.Personal friendships and alliances are going to matter a lot in 2017.

Akhilesh and Rahul make no secret of their admiration for each other.But if that combination does not workout Amar Singh will have to use all his connections to prove his utility to his old masters who have given him a second chance.


We told you so

The appointment of Swati Singh, wife of expelled BJP leader Dayashankar Singh as chief of the BJP Women Unit in Uttar Pradesh may have come as a surprise to many.

But this columnist had mentioned it here that the way Swati Singh had turned the tables on Mayawati within days of her husband's crude remarks against her had forced the party leadership to expel him, was an indication that she was headed for a bright future.

It is another matter that a lot of credit for this goes to supporters of the BSP leader herself who had raised slogans against Singh's wife and daughter in a rally to show their solidarity with their leader.

Swati Singh, who came out of her role of a housewife after Dayashankar Singh went underground till he finally surrendered, to defend the honour of her teenage daughter, played the victim card to perfection.

She turned out to be a doughty fighter on TV channels and gave interviews to newspapers and magazines with grace bringing out the bullying tactics of the BSP leaders like Naseemuddin Siddiqui in the year of the elections to the UP assembly.

She has turned out to be the trump card in the hands of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh where the Congress has brought in Shiela Dikshit and Priyanka Gandhi, the BSP has Mayawati and the Samajwadi Party will be using Dimple Yadav as Election Day approaches near.

Not that the BJP is short of women leaders but an Uma Bharti or Sushma Swaraj or Maneka Gandhi may not be as effective in UP where caste equations are more important than their daily bread and butter.

This development, in effect, rewards Dayashankar Singh who has been a staunch loyalist of the BJP for years but had to be expelled from the party under pressure after all parties unanimously hauled him up in the parliament for his crude comments.

But within days Singh became a hero as his family was provided security by the Akhilesh Yadav Government in view of threats from the BSP. An FIR was also filed against the BSP leaders by an obliging Samajwadi Party for which this open fight between two of it's rivals was a bonanza.

A traumatised BJP soon realised that in Swati Singh it had found a perfect foil to not only counter an unstoppable and belligerent Behenji but also a rallying point to get the Thakurs of the state on their side.

And by August Dayashankar Singh was sounding the war bugle by challenging his bete noire Mayawati to contest against Swati Singh from any constituency of her choice in the elections.So far this has gone unchallenged by the BJP proving that Singh has become an asset instead of a liability in the poll bound state.


(This is an occasional light column on politics seen and heard)

Nitish is adamant

There must be some very strong motivation for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to continue with his prohibition policy despite so much adverse publicity.

The media is against him with newspapers and TV channels inviting panelists vociferously denouncing the archaic principles Nitish continues to follow in this century. Some incorrigible pessimists keep telling him that this policy has failed wherever it was imposed and if has only led to increased bootlegging and corruption.

The IAS lobby has always opposed prohibition because it is the easiest method of increasing revenues without resorting to the harsh and unpopular alternative option of imposing new taxes.

In states like Uttarakhand women are filing applications to get contract of liquor shops in the Devbhoomi.

Even the JD(U) supporters who appeared on TV panel discussions even though they supported their leader's policy and they were against liquor consumption they felt that some of the penalties were too harsh.

And then came the Patna High Court judgment quashing the promulgation of the draconian law by the Bihar government. But even before the BJP could celebrate this embarrassment to Nitish he brought in a fresh law which is even harsher and later challenged the High Court decision in the Supreme Court which over ruled the High Court.

Officially, Nitish Kumar maintains that he had taken this decision after listening to women groups and women of the state who were very happy with this decision and that was his only motivation.

But in the process, he has also set a trend which other chief ministers will not be able to overlook if he manages to survive the turbulent five years ahead.