When two big ‘Bees’ met in Mumbai

Is Amitabh Bachchan going to be NDA’s presidential candidate? While his name has been doing the rounds, it has received a fillip following unconfirmed reports that he hosted the RSS chief at home

 Photo by Prodip Guha/Hindustan Times via Getty Image  
Photo by Prodip Guha/Hindustan Times via Getty Image


Unconfirmed gossip in Mumbai suggests that RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat called on Bollywood super star Amitabh Bachchan. The grapevine held that Bhagwat in fact was invited to have his meal at the Bachchan household and that the ‘Big B’ later gushed about Bhagwat’s humility, patriotism and grasp of national issues. Some sections see the meeting as a prelude to Bachchan being projected as NDA’s Presidential candidate. In fact names of both Bhagwat and Bachchan have done the rounds as probable nominees. But while the RSS chief was quick to rule himself out in public, the Big B, these sources claim, would not be averse to the idea. The NDA also believes that the choice of Bachchan would trump the Opposition.

Is Uttar Pradesh being trifurcated?

While Yogi Adityanath is said to be holding marathon meetings in which he dutifully takes down notes, watches presentations and listens to the babus, the perception in the national capital is that he is not quite in control, that he has not been able to deliver. While people sympathetic to the Yogi say that he is hamstrung because of the dual loyalty of many of his ministers and bureaucrats who look up to leaders in Delhi, the critics point to his lack of both administrative and political experience, which has allowed his deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to assert himself.

While there is a strong undercurrent that the Centre is planning to trifurcate Uttar Pradesh before the next election, leaving Yogi to look after his turf in eastern Uttar Pradesh, a recent meeting in Lucknow is being avidly discussed in BJP circles. Maurya stunned everyone at the meeting by lashing out at people running organisations parallel to the BJP. While he took no name, it was evident that he was referring to the Hindu Yuva Vahini founded by Yogi in 2002 in the wake of Gujarat riots. The clout of the Vahini and complaints against it are rising proportionately but Yogi has maintained a studied silence on the issue. Large sections within the BJP admit to be uneasy at the growth of the ‘parallel’ group and Maurya, they believe, would not have been so blunt if he did not have blessings of leaders in Delhi.

Bachchan, chivalrous as ever

Appearance of Amitabh Bachchan in a video with the wife of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was bound to set tongues wagging. And they did. The busy actor and model in his seventies, say amused reporters on the entertainment beat, certainly knows how to cosy up to the powers that be.

The singing career of Amruta Fadnavis, who has sung a song, Phir Se, in the video has taken off after her husband became the Maharashtra chief minister. Acutely conscious that he would be accused of sycophancy, Bachchan however has sought to pre-empt the backlash by explaining in his blog, “They the Fourth Estate ask the reason for me doing the video of the song. I tell them it’s not because she is the wife of the CM, but because she is a woman, a lady... one who does not wish to remain shackled within the four walls of this house, be independent and free to pursue her ambitions and her dreams. and if my pro-bono presence needs to be utilised... then it must be done!! T-series has produced the song while Ahmad Khan directed the song.

Bedi would not give up!

Puducherry (Pondicherry) may have a population of just about two and a half lakh but Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi has been working very hard to make the lives of people better. Convinced that chief minister V Narayansamy is a stumbling block and does not want her to serve the people of Puducherry, she has been sparing no opportunity to snap at the latter. While her favourite mode of attack is Twitter, this time she chose a WhatsApp group to accuse that the chief minister wants her to be a rubber stamp Lieutenant Governor. She would not give up her fight for the wellness of the people and the state, she snapped even as a hapless chief minister wailed that Bedi was exceeding her jurisdiction and interfering in executive functions.

Farmers ready to sell cows to the RSS

It is not often that RSS ideologue and spokesperson Rakesh Sinha finds himself speechless on TV debates. But a farmer and Jat leader from western Uttar Pradesh shut him up recently when he accused farmers of being greedy and selling cattle to butchers for a profit. Stung, Pushpendra Chaudhary, who has been lamenting the falling price of cattle, declared that farmers would be ready to sell cattle past milk-bearing age to the RSS. It was the anchor who came to Sinha’s rescue and diverted the discussion.

When the nation did not want to know

The one and only anchor on Republic TV was at his hectoring best while mocking at a CPM leader Suneet Chopra for his party’s alleged ‘deal’ with the Congress. He then named a person related to a Congress leader and asked why the CPM was not demanding action against the said relative. Chopra, at the receiving end of the shouting for some time, calmly turned the table by claiming that the relative in question actually had his entire family owing allegiance to the RSS. And the onus was on the BJP Government to take action, if it deemed it fit. For once the Republic loudmouth found himself for a loss of words.

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Published: 06 Jun 2017, 6:07 PM