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As the BJP explores reasons for its poor performance in some state bypolls, the party’s national leadership appears to be inundated with explanations from its Karnataka unit. While a section of the leaders blamed Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s strategy of warming up to the JD(S) to split Congress votes in Hanagal – in his home district Haveri – others said the state unit leadership’s moves to limit the role of party veteran B S Yeddiyurappa and his family in the campaign infuriated the influential Lingayat community in the constituency. The JD(S) candidate in Hanagal could get only 923 votes. Central leaders said the defeat is a lesson for the state units. For a party that takes every election seriously, the leadership cannot afford being “petty” in its approach to the leaders as well as cadre, they said. But they acknowledged that the BJP has a task to keep up the morale of party MLAs as this was the first test for the new chief minister after he took charge.
The BJP leadership has a strange issue to handle in Himachal Pradesh, where the party lost the Mandi Lok Sabha seat as well as three assembly seats to the Congress in the October 30 bypolls. Sources close to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the bypoll defeat was a result of too many power centres in the state unit. Besides national president J P Nadda,Union minister Anurag Thakur also has been strengthening his position in the state. Jai Ram Thakur, they said, was not allowed to take decisions freely. They also pointed out that the Chief Minister gave in too much to the power centres when it came to candidate selection and campaign strategies. Therefore, they said, the blame should also be shared.
Meetings of the parliamentary standing committees on IT and Defence made headlines in the recent past with the panels taking up controversial issues for discussion. With key assembly elections coming up next year, and with farm issues back as a discussion point, the upcoming meetings of another parliamentary panel is also likely to grab attention. The standing committee on Food, Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution has decided to take up two politically sensitive issues to discuss in its upcoming meetings. According to a Lok Sabha bulletin on Wednesday, the panel led by Sudip Bandyopadhyay will take up issues such as payment of arrears to sugarcane farmers and edible oils. While the rising prices of edible oil has been a talking point, pending payment for sugarcane farmers has turned into a political issue.
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