Whether it's an Amit Shah "master stroke", as the adoring political groupies including journalists term his moves, remains to be seen but what is patently clear now is that the contest for Bengal will be between the Trinamool A-team, led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and the Trinamool B-team, led by Shah.
The farmers say the government's offer to keep the laws on hold for 18 months while talks are held between both sides is unacceptable. The government says it will not repeal the laws but is open to hearing what changes are needed. The latest pictures arriving from camps, though, of farmers being virtually blocked into their sites, speak volumes of how far apart the tw...
Hours after he added seven ministers to his cabinet, BS Yediyurappa, the 77-year-old Chief Minister of Karnataka, came face-to-face with allegations of "son stroke" and "blackmail via CD". The charges are thrown at him by a group of senior leaders of his own party, the BJP, venting after they were not promoted to ministers.
Mamata Banerjee, 65, has the toughest of opponents - Union Home Minister Amit Shah - in her endeavour to get a third term as Chief Minister of Bengal. The last few weeks have seen some key members of her party transplanted firmly to Shah's side in the BJP.
Kamal Nath has presented himself to both sides as an "honest broker" who wants to help the dissenters achieve their goal of party elections, present a rejuvenated leadership of the Congress, and help the Gandhi family adjust to the new situation which is a huge departure from the unchallenged supremacy they have enjoyed for their political careers.
The departure of leaders like Adhikari portrays Mamata Banerjee as a leader struggling to keep her flock together, unable to ward off the allure for her party members of the BJP. But if there is one thing she is known for, it is as a fighter. It would be foolhardy, at this juncture, to assume she is operating from a position of weakness.
No election is too small to ignore. Not for the Modi-Shah version of the BJP. Each election is a chance to test, create or edge out allies. And to expand, expand, expand.
Patel was the last of the old-school leaders of the Congress - a big heart and broad shoulders which shrugged off minor issues but could tangle - or un-knot, as needed - complicated political threads. Patel was a "politician's politician" with a huge network of relationships across party lines, corporates and the media. A consummate back-room strategist, he knew both ...
The Congress dissenters have not asked the Gandhis to relinquish organisational/party roles - yet. But, after the loss in two general elections and serial defeats in state elections (most recently, the disastrous run in Bihar), it has come down to this - when, not if.
The "double engine" claim of NarendraModi and NitishKumar is exaggerated. The centre under NarendraModi is the engine and NitishKumar is now just a bogey being tugged along by NarendraModi. Nitish Kumar has been claiming that he will get a better financial deal for Bihar from the centre. The jury is still out on that. Nitish Kumar, who has a huge sense of entitlement ...
Having mistreated or annoyed some of its big allies into exiting its team, the BJP has more reason than ever to keep Mayawati happy. Her huge Dalit support base will help in the BJP's re-election plan for Uttar Pradesh, which is, along with Bengal, the big focus now for India's ruling party. And it will all move at a deliberate, carefully-timed pace.
Within his new party, and to his old, Scindia has a lot to prove. Above all, the need to be taken seriously as a commanding leader who merits a bigger role than allowed so far.
Till a few weeks ago, Tejashwi Yadav, who is leading the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Bihar's main opposition party, while his father, Lalu Yadav, is under arrest, was dismissed as an heirloom politician, not entirely indefensibly.
The Sangh knows that Yogi's star power and appeal has to be nurtured and projected as ever-growing so that by the time UP gets ready to vote, there's really only one choice. As he reaches out to voters in Bihar, thecampaign there helps to build up Yogi more. That's not just a happy coincidence. For either him or the RSS.
The new Shah is meant to disarm. But just wait till the momentum kicks in for thr Bengal elections. Expect a return to old-school Shah then.