Three Desperate Suitors & An Unwilling Bride-Jay Panda,Kapil Mishra &Shehzad Jai Hind


There is always an ongoing election season in India .Turncoats are always in demand . In the past two years we have seen three such suitors knocking desperately at the BJP doors ,but  have  not yet been allowed entry inside the bridal  household . From the outside,it looks like a  no-brainer that the national party would accommodate all three of  them,but for some reasons ,things have not materialized as hoped.

KAPIL MISHRA  ,a Delhi MLA and an ex-minister in the AAP government, very nearly pulled off a coup against Arvind Kejriwal ,in cahoots with Kumar Vishwas .But the party leadership got whiff of it and promptly purged him  . Since then,Kapil Mishra has been in a constant war mode versus Arvind and Satyendra Jain. Not a day passes by  without  him lampooning  or leveling  some sensational charges against his former colleagues .His tweets and press conferences have been the most regular features of the Delhi political landscape in the past couple of years .In this bid  to expose and unseat his former boss,he has gradually moved quite close to the BJP line . His views are more vehement, nay hostile, than those  of  the BJP spokespersons, and a casual observer of politics might be forgiven in assuming that Kapil Mishra has already joined the BJP.

But that has not yet happened  ,despite senior leader Vijay Goel’s open invitation to Mishra when they met  as part of the  ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ campaign in Delhi .Kapil Mishra was actively involved in the Anna movement,and the anti-Commonwealth campaign .He even authored a book titled Common Vs Wealth .His mother is a BJP councillor,and is an ex-mayor of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation. Kapil is a good public speaker,has command over both English and Hindi and took his Assembly oath in Sanskrit.He holds a masters degree from Delhi School of Social Work,and has been involved with various social activities and NGOs.Such a politician can be a huge asset for the BJP ,then why this delay in inducting him ?

Maybe the party reckons that Mishra outside BJP is more of a menace to Kejriwal.The party currently holds all seven Lok Sabha seats and might not be in a position to offer Kapil a ticket.They possibly see him as a candidate for the Assembly polls which are yet far .Then again some local leaders in the BJP might be averse to the idea of an anti-corruption loudmouth joining them.In the meantime,Kapil keeps up his twitter tirade,and awaits his inclusion.

Next is the case of SHEHZAD POONAWALA who rebelled against the Congress when he claimed that the party presidential polls  were rigged in Rahul Gandhi’s  favour.He challenged Rahul Gandhi to a TV debate and questioned the lack of inner party democracy .Even the PM had praised his courage in speaking out against dynastic politics.

Since December 2017,he has become a permanent fixture in TV studios where he takes a virulently anti-Congress,pro-government line .He is fluent in both English and Hindi,and describes himself as a lawyer and a civil rights activist.He has been a columnist for Indian Express as well.

About his personal details,he claims his religion is Islam,culture Hindu and ideology Indian.Recently he has even dropped his surname and has begun to write his name as Shehzaad Jai Hind .In 2015-16,he sued Ram Gopal Varma for his derogatory comments on Lord Ganesh and forced him to apologize . After rebelling against the Congress,he has written to the CMs of Punjab and JK to accord minority status to the Hindus in their respective states.With such credentials,he must  win the approval of the Sangh Parivar.One does need some token  liberal Muslim faces as showpieces after all.

Shehzaad is the brother of Tehseen Poonawalla who is married to a cousin of Robert Vadra.He has been an office-bearer in Maharashtra Congress.An ultimate insider,he is currently penning down a book on dynastic politics which is to be released later this year. A ‘nationalist’,erudite and young Muslim can be asset to the BJP, yet there seems to be no  indication  that his entry is on cards.

Shehzaad,like Kapil,is also more potent outside the BJP than inside it.He is  not seen as a mass leader,and as such,even if he joins the party ,cannot  be offered a ticket for either the Lok Sabha or the Vidhan Sabha polls. As such there is not much that the party can offer him right now.As far as his regular TV appearances go,he does a better job than most  BJP spokespersons .But like Kapil,even Shehzaad is not a shoo-in before the 2019 General Elections.

Just the other day,I witnessed BIJAYANT PANDA joining issues with Yogendra Yadav on an  analysis of the Modi Economic Policies on Times Now. Adorning a saffron kurta,Jay, defended  NDA initiatives  like  demonetization and agricultural policies  ,doing a far better job  than what any BJP partyperson would have managed.

The four term MP ,facing a criminal suit for submitting a false affidavit related to his income and commercial interests, recently resigned from the Lok Sabha. BJD has already expelled him for anti-party activities.Naveen Patnaik has accused him of trying to spread rumours about his ill-health.Now Mr.Panda finds himself in political wilderness.

He might have hoped to join the BJP,as a reward for his consistent praise for the NaMo government and also given the fact that the party is keen to build  a strong organization and poach powerful leaders in the state of Odisha. But it seems that party is not too keen on inducting him,since it might annoy Naveen Patnaik and push him towards the Mahagathbandhan .BJD has stood with the government on various issues like demonetization,GST,No-Trust motion,Presidential and VP polls and the recent election of the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman.In the event of a hung Parliament in 2019,BJP might need Naveen’s help in cobbling up the numbers .It makes sense to keep him in good humour.Especially as the party has not been able to make much headway in the state ,despite its huge efforts and tall claims.

Jay Panda is an engineering and technology graduate from Michigan Technical University.He has worked with the corporate sector,and has large business interests in mining,energy ,real estate and media.He introduced many private member bills in 2012-13,and has been involved in many  social activities .His wife runs OTV, a private cable TV channel.But in the past few years, Panda has been accused of taking undue benefits for  his family businesses by taking advantage of his links with the former FM,P.Chidambaram .This,along with the criminal case related to false affidavit, is something which the BJP might not be very comfortable with.

Since his outburst against the Odisha CM,he has been greeted with stones,tomatoes and rotten eggs during his public appearances.The local leaders of Odisha BJP  ,like Dharmendra Pradhan,might not be too keen for his induction ,given that he is not seen as a mass leader.On balance,BJP has not much to gain,and a lot to lose by drafting him  in the crucial election year.It also doesn’t seem likely that Panda would  join Congress.By all indications , TV studios are where he might be spending  the next one year rather than amidst the din and bustle of elections.

As per my understanding,none of the three desperate suitors would become BJP members in the next one year.They must perform better as ‘circus monkeys’ if they are to make favourable impressions upon the powers-that-be.




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