While the appointment of BJP vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe as the President of Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) may have disappointed other hopefuls, the BJP unit in Madhya Pradesh is more keen about what follows his appointment. Sahasrabuddhe is currently in-charge of party affairs in Madhya Pradesh for almost three years now. With the state slated for polls next year, the issue is whether Sahasrabuddhe can devote time to both the responsibilities. Now, the BJP MP unit is keeping fingers crossed whether they will get a new in-charge.
Rift Between Allies
Lok Sabha Friday witnessed a glimpse of the widening rift between BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. During Zero Hour, BJP MP Kirit Somaiya raised the issue of the fire at Kamala Mills compound in Mumbai and alleged that the collusion between the municipal authorities and owners of building complexes had led to violation of fire regulations. The Sena’s Arvind Sawant did not take Somaiya’s targeting of his party-run BMC kindly. Pointing out that the incident happened in his constituency, Sawant accused Somaiya of “encroaching” on others’ areas. “Inko tho gusne ki aadat hein, ye aadat se mazboor hein,” Sawant said.
Although the announcement that Parliament will not meet on January 1 was made only on Friday, several opposition members were quite confident about it days before the announcement. The reason for their confidence was the Assembly elections in Nagaland and Megalaya, slated for early next year. Given that the new year is celebrated with much fanfare in Nagaland and Meghalaya, which have substantial Christian population, the opposition was sure that the ruling party will not push for a sitting on January 1. They also believe that the Houses did not meet on Tuesday (the day after Christmas) because of the same consideration weighing on the mind of the ruling party.
On The Backfoot
The government had announced a scheme of electoral bonds in its budget this year. The plan was sold as a masterstroke to clean electoral funding. However, almost a year after the announcement, there is nothing on ground to show for it. The scheme had come in for criticism from activists and even the Election Commission once the finer details where clarified by the government. The move would make electoral finding more opaque, they argued. The criticism seems to have put the Finance Ministry on the backfoot. Nothing has happened after one meeting it held with the EC officials. And now it’s almost time for the next budget.