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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Delhi Confidential: Managing Priorities

Nitish Kumar has an unenviable task of not only managing the pandemic but also striking the political balance of the alliance in the state.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: May 11, 2020 1:56:52 am
Bihar coronavirus, Bihar coronavirus cases, Bihar migrants, Nitish Kumar on Covid-19, Bihar elections Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

While managing the lockdown remains the priority, political work cannot wait, at least for those staring at elections in less than a year. Since Bihar is slated to go for polls later this year, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has an unenviable task of not only managing the pandemic but also striking the political balance of the alliance in the state. As part of this, Nitish held a video-conference with BJP legislators in the state. Though the focus was on suggestions and feedback for managing the COVID-19 outbreak, it was also seen as an attempt to keep the BJP flock in good humour ahead of elections.

Scheme On Hold

When the lockdown was imposed, 3,000 migrant students were stuck in 175 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs). Migrant students are those who migrate from one JNV in a Hindi-speaking state to another school in a non-Hindi speaking state, or vice versa, for one academic year. Once the government allowed inter-state movement of migrants, Navodaya Vidyalaya Sangathan made arrangements to send the migrant students back to their states. By Sunday, roughly all of them were back home. However, with the Sangathan preparing to start a new academic year amid the pandemic, it has decided to drop the migration scheme for a year.

Reaching Out

Many Congress leaders have tried to help migrant workers from their areas stranded in other states, but not many have reached out to party workers on the ground during the lockdown. Former Union minister Jitin Prasada has now began a campaign “Kaise hain aap” to connect with Congress workers across Uttar Pradesh. He is connecting with them through video conference. In a letter, Prasada said they are not alone in this time of distress and the entire party is with them. Interestingly, Prasada’s outreach has unnerved some Congress leaders in Uttar Pradesh.

Special Passenger

Gopal Baglay, who was joint secretary in the PMO, has been posted to Sri Lanka as India’s High Commissioner. While his appointment was announced in February, he could not go for his new posting due to the lockdown. But when New Delhi sent essential medicines to Colombo on Friday, Baglay flew in that Air Force transport aircraft, and joined office. An IFS officer, Baglay has earlier served as India’s deputy high commissioner to Pakistan, joint secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran) and MEA spokesperson in the past.

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