With the announcement of elections, politics has taken center stage in the State. It is race against time for the political parties – both ruling as well as Opposition – and the leaders have got down to brass tacks straightaway, but with care. No sirens, no cavalcade. It’s all getting simpler.
Living to the adage that prevention is better than cure, the leaders conscious of the sword of ‘model code of conduct’ hanging over their heads, have started practising Spartan way of life. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been first off the block, stripping himself of the paraphernalia and getting out of his official car. He now prefers a Scorpio to his official Ambassador car to attend party related engagements.
Though he is still the Chief Minister, Kumar does not want to give any chance to anyone to point finger at him.
Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi is keeping pace with his superior though.
Modi has actually hired a taxi for his party-related activities, which have picked up momentum. “I have given leave to my driver. Though I have the official cars, I don’t use them anymore. I don’t have problem in moving in a taxi,” he told HT.
The usual piles of files on the tables of the two leaders are also no more to be seen.
A few days ago, the Chief Minister had sounded Chief Secretary Anup Mukherjee, that the files should be dealt with at his own level in view of his pre-occupation with the election work. Earlier also, Kumar had said that he would devote four-and-half years of his tenure to development work and the last six months to politics. Now, with barely one-and-a half-month left for polls, the changed stance is very much on expected lines.
Instead of presiding over their officers at official meetings, the two leaders have been spending greater part of their time in the midst of party workers. The key issue of ticket distribution is yet to be sorted out in most parties, though the prospective candidates have started camping in Patna to stake their claims.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad has also brought about changes in his itinerary. He has started visiting the party office to meet the ticket-seekers, contrary to earlier days when he visited the office on important occasions only. According to sources, he would now visit the office daily.
That will also help him avoid the crowd at his official residence, 10, Circular Road. On Tuesday, he not only met the ticket-seekers, but also gave them advice on how to go about the “do-or-die” battle, that lies ahead. “This time, work with all your might,” he told party workers.
Lalu interviewed prospective candidates, who queued up at the party office, in his characteristic style. He gave some a plot to deliver a speech, asked others to say why should people vote for them. Lalu also threw brainteasers at some. “What will you do if there is disturbance in the gathering? What will your reaction be if people disrupt your speech and start raising anti-slogans?” he went on.
One moment he had a word of advice for the ticket-seekers, while the next moment he virtually took their class. “Now model code is in force. Don’t crowd at my residence. There is no final decision on tickets yet; but it does not means it is up for grabs,” he said.
If he was not happy with speech, he did not waste time expressing his annoyance. “You will be given some other responsibility,” he told one.