At the wedding reception in Delhi of Amit Shah’s son Jay, industrialist Gautam Adani congratulated...
At the wedding reception in Delhi of Amit Shah’s son Jay, industrialist Gautam Adani congratulated TMC MP Dinesh Trivedi on his appointment as party vice-president in place of the sidelined Mukul Roy. Trivedi didn’t think it was something to celebrate seeing it as a pre-emptive move and a little too late considering his previous humiliation at the hands of TMC boss Mamata Banerjee. As if to make his point, Trivedi remained at the Shah wedding for some two hours and greeted the BJP contingent from Bengal with great cordiality. He reportedly informed Banerjee he was going for the wedding but did not seek her permission. A marginalised Roy, meanwhile, is looking for a perch in the BJP and met home minister Rajnath Singh recently. Tainted by the Saradha scam, the BJP does not seem to want to touch him. Roy’s plus point is that he can teach the BJP a lesson or two in mastering the election process in Bengal.
Study in contrast
The wedding receptions of Amit Shah’s son in Ahmedabad and Delhi were a study in contrast. The Ahmedabad reception was nearly five times larger and far more informal. Shah had invited all his neighbours from the middle-class locality where he lives in Ahmedabad. The guests included polling agents, the family astrologer, district-level journalists and ordinary folk who had interacted with Shah over the years. The entire Gujarat Cabinet was there led by chief minister Anandiben Patel. Most of the state ministers came dressed in casual shirts and not in formal attire.
In Delhi, on the other hand, it was a display of the party president’s clout. Chief ministers, central ministers and leaders of the BJP’s allies all showed up as did President Pranab Mukherjee. Prime Minister Modi stayed for over an hour, holding up traffic outside the venue at Ashoka Road. At least four central ministers—Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan and Ananth Kumar—were on duty from
6 pm to 10 pm to help receive guests. Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay and several MPs lined up at the entrance to greet guests with
Long ago, when they were buddies, Pravin Togadia rode the bike with Narendra Modi as pillion. But for decades now, they have been sworn enemies. Supporters of Modi believe that Togadia, who is defacto boss of the VHP after the virtual retirement of Ashok Singhal, has encouraged his colleagues to give the Modi government a bad name by making irresponsible statements. For instance, they say, Togadia has deliberately organised the Virat Hindu Sammelan on March 1 to distract media focus from the Budget, which will be released a day earlier. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has instructed VHP International president Raghava Reddy, the nominal head of the organisation (Togadia is international working president), to ask his members to refrain from controversies and give Modi some time. But Togadia’s men claim that the most damaging Hindutva statements have come from within the BJP fold and not from the VHP. For example, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, a minister of state, used the term ‘haraamzada’ in the Delhi election and BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj talked of Godse being a patriot.
LK Advani was presented a copy of the Red Sari, the dramatised biography of Sonia Gandhi, by the author Javier Moro. Advani, a meticulous reader, was struck by the fact that he and wife Kamala share the same wedding anniversary as Rajiv and Sonia, February 25. This year is Advani’s 50th wedding anniversary and he plans to celebrate it with a large party. However, he is holding the function on February 22 so that parliamentary proceedings will not hamper the attendance. Among those who have been invited is Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has accepted the invitation along with wife Sunita. Kejriwal and Advani both seem anxious to project an image of being happily married men. Is this meant to contrast with Prime Minister Modi who has nothing to do with wife Jashodaben?
No post mortem
The BJP has not called a meeting to introspect on the party’s disastrous defeat in Delhi. The party believes that a post-mortem would only generate bad publicity and not serve any useful purpose. The Delhi state leadership is still fuming at the invasion by Amit Shah’s army from Gujarat who even talked about spoiling the ‘Confidential Records’ of the Delhi cadres. “Where do you have CRs in a political party?’’ asked one indignant Delhi party worker. The Gujarati lobby felt the Delhi cadres did not put their heart and soul into the campaign. After the results, some Union ministers not considered close to the Prime Minister called on LK Advani to sympathise with him about being totally ignored in the campaign. They hoped Advani would issue a statement on the Delhi defeat. But Advani, apart from a pointed remark praising Kejriwal’s “modesty and humility”, did not make his feelings known publicly.
By Coomi Kapoor