Savitribai Phule, who had quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to join the Congress amid much fanfare in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, is disenchanted with the workings of her new party. The Congress had fielded Phule from the Bahraich parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh, but she failed to retain her seat and lost to the BJP nominee. With the Congress in the process of overhauling the state unit, which has resulted in the expulsion of 10 senior leaders, there is precious little for the self-proclaimed Dalit leader in the moribund state unit. To keep herself politically relevant, Phule has decided to launch an agitation on issues that might have just passed their sell-by date — reservation and electronic voting machines.
Murmu joins; Jahan doesn't
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Khagen Murmu, a member of Parliament (MP), on Tuesday joined Opposition MPs by mistake. MPs of the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, and other Opposition parties boycotted the function to mark the 70th Constitution Day in the Central Hall of Parliament on Tuesday. Instead, they protested the “murder of democracy” at the feet of the statute of B R Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution, on the Parliament premises. As Congress President Sonia Gandhi (pictured) led the MPs in raising slogans and reading from the Constitution, Murmu joined the group. He thought the MPs had gathered there to pay their tribute to Amebdkar. He left when he realised it was a protest by the Opposition. Murmu had crossed over to the BJP weeks before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and won a seat. Trinamool MP Nusrat Jahan sat in the Central Hall, attending the function, oblivious that the rest of her party MPs had boycotted it and were protesting.
Pride and prejudice
A Lok Sabha MP of the YRS Congress Party (YSRCP) on Tuesday took a dig at former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, saying he called designers from Singapore to develop the master plan for state capital Amaravati. Participating in the discussion on the National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Lavu S Krishna Devarayalu said “we have to take pride in our own designs and we want that to happen in India”, adding, “we do not want western people to come and show designs”. Objecting to Devarayalu’s comments, a TDP MP said the YSRCP had stopped all work for the state capital when projects worth almost ~9,000 crore had been completed and those of another Rs 50,000 crore were in different phases of completion. Another TDP MP wryly remarked Singapore was not in the “west”.