AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa was sworn in as CM of Tamil Nadu on Monday. But the first signs of the shift in power were visible within hours in Chennai and Delhi. Chennai’s police commissioner and Tamil Nadu’s DGP landed up at the AIADMK chief’s home even before results were out. In Delhi, Kanimozhi vacated her room in Tamil Nadu House, which she had held as a privilege of being the daughter of the then chief minister M Karunanidhi. Kanimozhi moved to 601, Swarnajayanthi Flats on Baba Kharak Singh Marg, allotted to her as a Rajya Sabha MP. And she walked alone and put her luggage in the car. No Tamil Nadu House employee came forward to assist her. It’s lonely at the bottom as well.
The comeback conundrum
When CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and environment minister Jairam Ramesh ran into each other recently, Ramesh couldn’t resist taking a dig at the comrade. He asked him how he would get re-elected to the Rajya Sabha since his term was coming to an end. Mamata Banerjee’s sweep of West Bengal and the Left’s loss of Kerala left him little scope, Ramesh pointed out. Yechury’s retort, “You too have to worry, sir.” The Congress is in trouble in Andhra Pradesh as Jaganmohan Reddy has retaken Kadapa. Ramesh, originally from Karnataka, has been elected to the upper house from AP. Not quite at home anymore.
Meet and greet only
A visit by the Taiwanese education minister to India last week offered a close look at the tightrope Indian diplomats and government officials need to walk in dealing with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC) — the official name for Taiwan. The ROC, recognised by the UN as the real China till 1971, today has official diplomatic ties with only 23 countries with limited geopolitical influence. India, and most of the world, recognises the PRC as the real China. Keen not to upset diplomatic ties with China, while not appearing impolite to Taiwan, the ministry of external affairs arrived at a solution. HRD minister Kapil Sibal met the Taiwanese minister, and the two discussed the latter providing Mandarin teachers to India. But India did not sign any pact with the Taiwanese, who, among other things, wanted India to announce scholarships for students from their country. Most crucially, unlike other official meets with foreign dignitaries, the meeting between Sibal and his Taiwanese counterpart was deliberately not publicised. A bit of chop suey diplomacy by India.
It’s about politics, dummy
Contesting elections is probably as much about educating voters as it is about confusing or misleading them. So one noted in the Lok Sabha by-elections in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar constituency. There were two candidates by the name, Dinesh Kashyap — one of them a BJP candidate — and three more, who shared Dinesh as their first name. There is good chance that these ‘dummy’ candidates were sponsored by Congress leaders to cut into the BJP’s votes. Just as the BJP probably had something to do with a Kawasi Lakhma contesting the by-poll as an independent. The Congress’ Lakhma lost 32,000 votes to his dummy and came second. The seat went to the BJP’s Dinesh Kashyap, son of the sitting MP Baliram Kashyap whose death resulted in the by-poll. The voters were not struck dumb.
Feeling the heat in the heat
With their past rivalry behind them, BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley joined hands when Singh decided to fast for agitating farmers in his constituency of Ghaziabad. Showing solidarity, Jaitley stood along with Singh in the 46-degree heat for six hours. The next day, Sushma Swaraj followed suit, offering juice to Singh to break his fast. What brought them together? A day before, AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi had managed to ‘sneak’ into Bhatta-Parsaul village in Greater Noida to be with the kisans whereas UP chief minister Mayawati prevented Singh from entering the place. Not playing fast and loose.