The coronavirus scare has not only disrupted society and business, it has cast its long shadow on the forthcoming Vidhan Parishad or the Legislative Council polls in Uttar Pradesh as well. The elections to fill 11 teacher and graduate constituency seats were slated to be held next month. However, the Adityanath government has already shut educational institutions till April 2 even as most of the government offices are also following the work-from-home model. Since the Election Commission has not released the schedule for the Upper House elections, political parties are still waiting for the notification to this effect. However, given the current crisis, it is likely these polls would be postponed to allow candidates ample time to file nomination and canvass support.
‘It’s all Digvijaya’s fault!’
After Jyotiraditya Scindia joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and his supporter MLAs resigned from the Congress, the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh had to fall. But most leaders of the MP Congress don’t blame Scindia for the debacle. One such leader and former minister, Mukesh Nayak, said the former CM and general secretary of the All India Congress Committee, Digvijaya Singh, was responsible for the current crisis. "Singh's political ambition led to this. He was the preferred candidate for the Rajya Sabha, which irritated Scindia who was already miffed with the working style of the Singh-Nath duo,'' said another. After losing the Lok Sabha elections, Scindia was eyeing a Rajya Sabha berth from the state where three seats are up for grabs. But Congress' wafer-thin majority, even when it was in government, meant party leaders were not sure of winning a second seat. Now Scindia is the BJP's Rajya Sabha candidate.
Surprise & anger
The two Houses of Parliament will start proceedings at 2 pm, and not the usual 11 am, on Monday, as Speaker Om Birla felt members might need more time to return from their constituencies, given the restrictions at airports to thwart the spread of coronavirus. However, several MPs said they were not planning to return to the national capital. There was some apprehension among MPs when they came to know that a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha member had attended a party in Lucknow where singer Kanika Kapoor, who has been afflicted by COVID-19, was also present. In their internal communication service, MPs vented their displeasure at the government for not ordering the session to be curtailed. Even Parliament staff, many of whom have worked there for decades, said they were intrigued at the obstinacy.