Poster war in UP
Posters put up by Congress workers in Uttar Pradesh two days ago have intensified the political storm in the state. They show Chief Minister (CM) Adityanath, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, and other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, and the criminal cases against them. These posters appeared right next to the hoardings, put up by the Lucknow district administration outside the UP BJP office in the Hazratganj area of the city, showing anti-citizenship law protesters. A day before the Congress posters were put up, the Samajwadi Party (SP) had emblazoned banners showing the rape accused ex-Union minister Chinmayanand and the Unnao rape convict Kuldeep Singh Sengar, both former BJP leaders. The district administration had, however, removed the SP banners and beefed up security in the area.
Virus unites brothers
The two, somewhat estranged, sons of Lalu Prasad put up a united front over the weekend to drive home the message of personal hygiene with the threat of COVID-19 looming. Elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav tied a face mask on his mercurial younger brother Tejashwi Yadav and handed him a bottle of hand sanitiser, a gesture aimed at spreading awareness of the pandemic and ways to prevent/avoid it. The brothers, who have not seen eye to eye on many issues, posed for pictures with their face masks on outside their mother and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi’s residence. Tejashwi, the politically weightier of the two Yadav brothers, then urged the people of the state to remain vigilant, avoid crowded places, and follow the guidelines issued by the government.
Ever since the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) gave a Rajya Sabha ticket to political greenhorn Amarendra Dhari Singh, party leaders have been on the back foot, trying to explain the move to its main constituency, the Muslim-Yadav cohort. While many were surprised by the announcement initially, it appears to be a calculated move by party chief Lalu Prasad to woo the upper castes, especially the Bhumihars, who are powerful and have been National Democratic Alliance loyalists. Lalu’s younger son and the party’s chief ministerial candidate, Tejashwi Yadav, termed the nomination of Singh as a befitting reply to critics who had been accusing the RJD of pandering to the Muslim-Yadav interests alone. He, however, added that this was in no way a dilution of the party’s commitment to social justice and the uplift of the backward castes, economically backward classes, and Dalits.