Nirupam is fed up
Trouble for the Congress in Maharashtra does not seem to end. Even as it is plagued with several leaders quitting the party in the run-up to the Assembly polls, the party’s former Mumbai unit chief Sanjay Nirupam on Thursday vented his frustration with the Congress bosses on Twitter. “It seems Congress party doesn’t want my services anymore. I had recommended just one name in Mumbai for (the) Assembly election. Heard that even that has been rejected. As I had told the leadership earlier, in that case I will not participate in (the) poll campaign. It’s my final decision,” he tweeted. Nirupam has served two terms as Rajya Sabha member — first representing the Shiv Sena and the second representing the Congress; he was also the Congress Lok Sabha member from the Mumbai North constituency.
Keeping all options open
Over the past one week, Congress spokespersons have held press conferences to highlight the flood situation in Bihar, but have stopped short of attacking Chief Minister Nitish Kumar . Even when Congress Rajya Sabha MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi and the person in charge of Bihar affairs, Shaktisinh Gohil, spoke on floods in Patna recently, they criticised the state government’s lack of preparedness but remained noncommittal about making it an election plank for the Assembly bypolls in the state next year. Gohil said, “For us this issue is one of humanity, not politics ... We have so many other issues to raise during the bypolls.” Singhvi sidestepped a personal attack even when asked a pointed question on whether the episode tarnished Kumar’s image of being a good administrator (sushasan babu). Sources in the Congress, the Janata Dal (United), and the Rashtriya Janata Dal say efforts are on to keep the option of a rapprochement among these parties open.
Congress legislator Aditi Singh hogged the limelight on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Wednesday by attending the special session of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly even as her party boycotted it. The unsung dissenter that day, however, was Bahujan Samaj Party legislator Mohammad Aslam Raini. Defying his party’s stand, Raini attended the 36-hour session, which concluded on Thursday. Addressing the House on Thursday, he said he had listened to his “inner voice” and decided to join the Assembly. Raini thanked Chief Minister Adityanath for the government’s initiatives, adding, “if I thank too much, everyone will say I have joined the BJP”. When Assembly Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit joked, “don't be afraid... jab pyar kiya to darna kya” (why be afraid when in love ) — echoing a line from a song from Mughal-e-Azam — Raini replied "teri mehfil me kismat aazma kar hum bhi dekhenge”, quoting another song from the same film. Loosely translated, it means, “I will try my luck in your court.”