States Diary


Mukul Roy Quits Trinmool Congress After Meeting BJP Leaders

Mukul Roy, one of the founder members of Mamata Banerjee’s party, announced last fortnight that he was quitting the Trinamool Congress. He resigned from the party’s working committee, and says he will soon surrender his membership of the party and of the Rajya Sabha. Roy met with top BJP leaders in Delhi in recent weeks, adding to the perception that he was “getting close to the BJP”, said sources.

He said he was being “forced” to resign and was exiting the Trinamool ‘with heavy heart and pain.’ When asked if he would join the BJP next, he told, “Today, I will not say a word, I will explain after puja,” referring to the annual Durga Puja festival which is celebrated widely in Bengal. The BJP has acknowledged that Mr Roy has been in touch with its leaders.

Congress Bid to Pacify Virbhadra, Gives Him Say in Poll Picks

Congress has assured Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh that he would have a decisive say in ticket distribution in the state elections in a bid to persuade him to relent on his demand for removal of bete noire Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu as state party chief. The assurance appears to be more of a face-saver as Singh has declared that he would not contest the upcoming elections if Sukhu is not removed despite the leadership having taken a stand that his demand would not be accepted.

Sources said the leadership has conveyed to Singh that change of guard in the state unit so close to elections would trigger confusion among party workers. They argued that key issue in polls would be selection of candidates and Virbhadra would have a principal say in that. By insider accounts, Virbhadra Singh has demanded that 60 of the 70 candidates should be his nominees.

Aslam Sher Khan Quits Congress, Floats National Congress Alpsankhyak Dal in MP

Former Union Minister Aslam Sher Khan last fortnight announced the formation of a party for minorities that will try to unite the Muslims across the country. He also claimed that soon there would be change of guard in the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC). While talking to media persons, Aslam said that named as National Congress Alpsankhyak Dal, the party will work in coordination with the Congress party but will be a separate entity.

“Muslims feel that the Congress is not standing for them on critical issues on one hand while the Congress party too is losing crucial support from the majority community as it was being labeled as a party of minorities. So I felt the only way forward was to form the National Congress Alpsankhyak Dal,” he said. He further said that Muslims have a sizeable strength in at least 50 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh.

Ajit Jogi Demand Enquiry in Breaking of Balco Rakhar Dam

Alleging conspiracy in polluting the Hasdev river water, former chief minister of Chhattisgarh Ajit Jogi has demanded full-fledged enquiry into the matter. Jogi claimed that the dam was full of dust generated by the Balco plant and the company had no other source to dump the further dust it had generated furtherwards. Hence, during heavy rain in the region, the company officials conspired and pilfered the whole dust into the river by breaking the dam from various places. He also demanded from both company and the related government authorities to make the places used by the company to dump its dust be made public.

Alleging Raman Singh government for being non-sensitive towards the problems people of Korba region (Aazadnagar, Pasabhanta and villages falling around Belnagri drainage) are facing due to the Hasda river pollution Jogi vowed to support the protesting Korba people.

Centre Mints Special Coins in Bid to Appropriate MGR’s Legacy

In India’s fractured polity, it would have come as a surprise for many when the BJP paid tribute to actor-turned-politician MG Ramachandran on his 100th birth anniversary on 17 January. Eight months later, as part of the continuing celebrations, the BJP-led Centre announced it would mint special Rs five and Rs 100 coins bearing his portrait. On the face of it, the decision may pass off as yet another move to commemorate the Tamil icon. But if one looks at it through the prism of Tamil Nadu’s ongoing political turmoil, it is loaded with a lot of symbolism.

Tamil Nadu is a state where actors, like MGR, have used their cinematic fame to venture into state politics. The matinee idol founded the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in October 1972, and went on to occupy the chief minister’s position between 1977 and his death in 1987.

Manik Sarkar Alleges BJP for Inciting Tibals for Separate State Demand

The BJP has been trying to incite a section of Tripura’s tribals to raise the issue of a separate state the way Congress had done in the past, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said in Agartala last fortnight.

“The BJP has been trying to get a foothold in Tripura by using a small section of tribal leaders to raise the demand for creation of a separate state. The Congress had also done the same years ago, and created the Tripura Upajati Juba Samiti (TUJS), with which it also formed a coalition government about 30 years ago. This time the BJP is trying to prop up the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) with the same demand,” Sarkar told. He also pointed at the 11-day road blockade in Tripura called by the IPFT in July to press for creation of a separate state. Assembly polls in Tripura are due in February 2018.