It seems Nitish Kumar will not spare any opportunity to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On September 16, the Bihar Chief Minister will join Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar in Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh and deliver a speech. Patkar is on an indefinite dharna to protest against the decision to raise the height of the Narmada dam, a move that got the nod within 20 days of Modi becoming PM in June 2014. Nitish’s plan is being projected by his supporters as another Modi-versus-Nitish battle. They, however, are amused that he has chosen this distant battlefield, when his own state is battling floods.
If the Congress is wooing Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh, it is courting Dalits in Punjab. Having held two Brahmin conventions in Kanpur and Lucknow, the party is now planning conventions for Dalits in Punjab. The first of these will be held in Amritsar on September 17. Comprising more than 30 per cent of the population, Dalits are a major vote bank in Punjab. Recently, the Congress nominated Shamsher Singh Dullo, a prominent Dalit face, to the Rajya Sabha. The party is also planning Dalit-specific promises in its manifesto.
Icons In Focus
The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library might be witnessing a delay in appointment of a regular director and the consequent push for intellectual activities, but events on Sangh Parivar icons seem unaffected. After hosting exhibitions on Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, NMML is now holding a seminar on Integral Humanism of Deendayal Upadhyay. Organised in collaboration with Indian Council of Philosophical Research, an institution under the HRD ministry, and RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal, it will have BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi, professor Ashok Modak, IGNCA chairman Ram Bahadur Rai and Mukul Kanitkar of BSM as speakers. Modak, who has represented the BJP in the Maharashtra legislative council, was appointed by the then HRD minister Smriti Irani as UGC’s National Research Professor.