As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faced criticism for taking support from Haryana Lokhit Party leader Gopal Kanda, an accused in criminal cases, it was the friendship between Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) chief Dushyant Chautala (pictured) and Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur that helped it save some blushes. Chautala and Thakur are known to be good friends. He visited Thakur’s residence on the evening of vote counting on Thursday to wish him on his birthday. It was by then apparent that the BJP was set to fall short of a majority. According to sources, the discussion veered towards politics and Thakur could sense that Chautala would be amenable to an alliance. Next day as the BJP faced criticism from within and outside about Kanda and understood the difficulties it would face managing so many independents, Thakur let it be known to the party leadership that Chautala would be willing to join the government. BJP President Amit Shah returned from Gujarat early, and Thakur got Chautala to meet Shah, ensuring that the two enter through the back gate of Shah’s residence in Delhi to evade television cameras. The deal was struck and conveyed to the media at a press conference later on Friday evening.
Enterprising think tank
In an example of how think tanks affiliated to political parties can reach out to experts from all walks of life, the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies will host Ministry of MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) Secretary Arun Kumar Panda for a book launch and panel discussion in the first week of November. Panda will launch Story of Indian MSMEs: Despair to Dawn of Hope, written by B Yerram Raju, who is adviser at the Telangana Industrial Health Clinic. The event will also have a panel discussion on the issues in access to social equity. National Small Industries Corporation Director P Udayakumar, among others, will participate in the discussion.
Swinging fortunes in Kerala
Voters in Kerala have given both the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) reasons to cheer in the recently concluded by-elections in five constituencies. The ruling LDF won two seats, and UDF won the remaining three. The LDF wrested two seats from the Congress and managed to narrow the margin in the Ernakulam constituency, which is a Congress bastion. The UDF retained two seats. In Aroor, it managed to elect Shanimol Usman, who was the only Congress candidate in Kerala to lose the Lok Sabha elections last May. The BJP seems to be the only party left out in the cold by the voters. K Surendran, who led the BJP’s Sabarimala campaign, bit the dust in Konni and was pushed to third position.