The BJP and JDU may have agreed to contest 17 seats each in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Bihar, but the toughest decisions are yet to be made. The two still have to decide the specifics of which of the 17 seats they will contest. Since the BJP currently has 22 MPs from the state, at least five of them will have to give up their seats to Nitish Kumar’s JDU. However, BJP insiders say that more than five MPs of the party could be asked to concede in JDU’s favour since the latter feels that many of the 22 seats won by the BJP are traditionally its stronghold. Moreover, JDU does not want a larger share of seats that the NDA did not win in 2014 polls.
Muslim League MP P K Kunhalikutty is in trouble for being absent on the day of voting on the triple talaq Bill in Lok Sabha last week as his party has sought an explanation from him for the same. Although he seems to have been forgiven by the party leadership, Kunhalikutty has got flak from his voters on social media, especially since his party colleague E T Mohammad Basheer was present and even voted against the Bill. Interestingly, BJP MPs, who were not present for voting despite a whip, have managed to escape punitive action and criticism for the same. BJP leaders admit that some of them had not taken prior permission for their absence as they were busy with preparations for PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Himachal Pradesh on December 27. However, a section of leaders pointed out that the absence of many women MPs had become an embarrassment.
Making the cut
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has been pushing Delhi University colleges to appoint regular principals for over six months. Despite threats of funds cut, only 10 of 21 DU colleges now have a permanent head. As for remaining, the higher education regulator has withheld the release of the non-salary component of their total funds in a bid to spur them into action. However, since the non-salary component, which covers maintenance and routine expenses, is less than 10 per cent of the budgeted funds for colleges, the cut hasn’t had the desired effect on the college administration. The Commission is now mulling if it should withhold the entire funds.