Will sulking Nishank upset BJP mascot Khanduri?
The BJP may be brimming with confidence in projecting B C Khanduri as its chief minister candidate and putting up a stout fight against the Congress in its bid to retain power, but the role of his predecessor, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, is giving some anxious moments to the party’s campaign managers.
It’s no secret that a sulking Nishank is upset that he was removed in September last year to make way for Khanduri and was told by the party high command to limit himself to his constituency, Doiwala, for campaigning because the Congress bigwigs are harping on his sullied tenure.
BJP insiders, however, say Nishank’s key men are busy working against some official BJP nominees in key constituencies in support of their rivals. In fact, a recent report about his supporters allegedly reaching an understanding with those of senior Congress leader Harish Rawat at a hotel rendezvous has sent alarm bells ringing in the official BJP camp.
Some party managers fear the role of money power to ‘destabilise’ some candidates because the race has got too close for comfort to both the sides. A loss of three or four seats could tilt the balance in the state, which has a 70-member House, a BJP aide pointed out.
Nishank was given BJP ticket much to the displeasure of the RSS brass, which has not hidden its displeasure at the corruption charges levelled during his tenure in office. On his part, Nishank too has been promising to the party high command his “full cooperation.” Even his pictures have been used in the BJP campaign materials, along with, of course, Khanduri who is hogging the limelight.
A version doing the rounds is that many of Nishank’s supporters apprehend ‘witch hunt’ if Khanduri is back in office and therefore may want the rivals to win as they could be more ‘lenient.’ This is notwithstanding the fact that AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi has blamed Nishank for squandering R620 crore allocated for Mahakumbh, saying, “the BJP had to replace Nishank with Khanduri to cover up its scams over the years. Just by changing CMs your scams are not buried.”
Earlier, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had questioned the BJP’s effort to take the high moral ground over corruption by flaunting the appointment of a ‘clean’ Khanduri as chief minister.
In response, Gadakari had defended Nishank, saying that “he has not been indicted in any case whether it relates to land use changes pertaining to Citurgia (chemical factory based in Rishikesh) or the distribution of hydropower projects among outsiders.”
But Nishank has not drawn comfort from Gadkari’s support. After all, his supporters argue that Khanduri was forced out of office in 2009 by his detractors after the BJP lost all 5 Lok Sabha seats. Now, Nishank finds himself “totally sidelined” when he steered the state government through those ‘tough times.’ Gadkari went by his advisers who told him that Khanduri, whose image was unsullied, alone could ‘salvage’ the situation.
On his return as CM, Khanduri quickly ensured unanimous passage by the state assembly of the Citizens’ Charter, Lokayukta and a transparent transfer policy for government employees, which were seen as game changers. In fact, Team Anna even hailed his bill as being closest to Jan Lokpal Bill.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Giving two weeks to the government to come back with its response, the bench then formally recorded in its order that one of the issues that has caught its attention is “uncontrolled and unscreened viewing of films” on Amazon Prime Video and other OTT platforms.
- The roughly 20,000 centres being used for the vaccine drive at the moment are hospitals, private as well as public, while many primary and secondary health centres at present are kept out of the programme.
- The external affairs ministry, which too rejected Freedom House’s report, also took exception to the depiction of Jammu and Kashmir in the map used in the document.
- A home ministry spokesperson said these rules prepared by the Foreigners’ Division were part of a brochure issued on November 15, 2019. The rules were consolidated and notified on Thursday.
- After the allegations on Jarkiholi, there were unverified reports of several similar videos and other sex scandals against other cabinet ministers.
- India is a signatory to the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- On the other hand, the DMK’s stalemate continued with its main and long standing ally, the Congress, on seat sharing.
- The person said it was imperative that the photographs are removed from certificates distributed in the poll bound states, adding that the system can continue in other states.
- Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, former President Pratibha Patil, economist Amartya Sen, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, spiritual leader Baba Ramdev, chief ministers of states and senior political leaders are among those included in the panel.
- According to Indian agencies, the JeI has maintained that J&K is a disputed territory.
- Interestingly, the election of the six YSRC members comes at a time when a resolution adopted by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in the state assembly in January 2020, seeking abolition of the legislative council, is still pending with the Union home ministry.
- When the matter came up before a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy on Friday, the bench adjourned it to April 7 as it had no time for a full fledged hearing.
- Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also held a review meeting on Friday to discuss with the divisional commissioners the steps being taken to contain the spread of the infection.
- There is a cost difference of about 25-30 per cent in containers made in India and abroad.
- After an agreement last month on pulling back frontline troops along with armoured vehicles and artillery from strategic heights around Pangong Lake, the two sides have been unable to make progress on disengagement at other friction points such as Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra.