The Congress high command may finally end up shifting Manmohan Singh from 7 Race Course Road to Rashtrapati Bhawan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is all set to be Congress candidate for the President of India‘s post. There is serious concern within the Congress top brass over the fast decline of the Manmohan Singh‘s scam ridden UPA government’s performance graph and its image. Manmohan Singh is in the target range of one and all. At the meeting convened by Rahul Gandhi of Uttar Pradesh leaders two weeks ago to review the UP defeat, most of the leaders from the district level to MPs and MLAs, one of the reasons mentioned was the failure of Manmohan Singh government and the rising prices. Even for the defeat of the Congress in the Delhi MCD elections, Sandeep Dixit was heard blaming the policies of the central government. As a result, the thinking in the rank and file of the party leadership was that there was an immediate need for course correction and change of leadership. Manmohan Singh has no plans to quit on his own. The only option before the party is to pack him off to Rashtrapati Bhawan. The Congress hopes there would be no opposition to his name.
IS RAHUL GANDHI A BRAHMIN?
Questions are being asked in political circles over Rahul Gandhi’s assertion in a closed door meeting in Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Road where he said ”I Am A Brahmin”. How can Rahul Gandhi be A Brahmin? His father and grandfather were both Parsees. His mother is a catholic Christian. Only his grandmother was a Brahmin. Rahul can be a Hindu by adopting its religion but how can he adopt a caste is the question being asked.
NEW STATE CONGRESS PRESIDENT IN PUNJAB SOON
The Punjab PCC President Capt. Amarinder Singh has resigned and his resignation has been accepted. In the aftermath of the Punjab poll debacle, the Congress President Sonia Gandhi has decided to change both the PCC President Amarinder Singh and the AICC general secretary in charge of Punjab, Gulchain Singh Charak. Amarinder Singh is all set to be replaced by another Jat Sikh. Pratap Singh Bajwa the MP from Gurdaspur. He is product of the youth movement and was President of the Punjab Youth Congress. The other name also under consideration is of Jagmeet Brar who is presently secretary AICC. Brar too is a Jat Sikh and a product of the youth movement. Both Bajwa and Brar are young leaders in their mid fifties. As for Gulchain Singh Charak the general secretary in charge of Punjab who led the party to defeat has already been cut to size. Charak is not being consulted on any matter related not only to Punjab but even Bihar the other state under his charge. Complaints of financial corruption have been lodged with the Congress President against Charak by the Punjab leaders.
SHEILA DIKSHIT MAY BE SHIFTED TO CENTRE
Punjab is not the only state set for a change Delhi is the new state that has now been included on Sonia Gandhi’s priority list where she intends radical changes. Even as the blame game has begun with both the Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit blaming the PCC Chief JP Agarwal and Agarwal blaming chief minister Sheila Dixit for the Congress defeat. Agarwal who sat at home in the entire electioneering period without campaigning for anyone has charged the Dikshit government for its decision of increasing the price of Amul Milk by Rs 2 the night before the elections as a major cause that could have impacted the party’s prospects. Agarwal who is accused of sabotaging the party candidates for not calling a single meeting of the campaign committee, has also blamed the MLAs and MPs for the defeat. His supporters are saying the MLAs who had the blessings of Dikshit were given free hand in the distribution of tickets. While there are speculations already that the Congress leadership wants Dikshit to take centre stage as the party is in dearth of tall leaders Agarwal is in for a major set back.
BJP LEADERSHIP IN BIG DILEMMA OVER NAMING PM CANDIDATE
Narendra Modi is a man in a hurry. He wants to be projected as the prime ministerial candidate before the Gujarat Assembly polls this year. Modi who has no poll issue this time wants to win both the Gujarat and the national elections on the same slogan which is not being liked by the top BJP leaders. The national council of the BJP is expected to meet sometime in September to take stand on the issue. The BJP is gripped with a fierce debate and dilemma whether the party should go to polls with a face and whether it is the right time to do so and who the face would be . BJP has always gone to polls with a face but the face was never of the party President. When Atal Behari Vajpayee was projected, LK Advani was the President and when Advani was projected in 2009, Rajnath Singh was the President Going by that rule, Gadkari would be out of the race . In 2009 when Advani was the PM candidate, Vajpayee was the chairman of the parliamentary party and NDA and Advani was the Leader of Opposition. Now Advani is chairman of the NDA and the parliamentary party, Sushma Swaraj is the LOP and claimant for the post . But she cannot claim the post till Advani forfeits his claim. He is yet to announce his retirement despite pressure from the RSS. When he started his Yatra, Narendra Modi too started his Sadbhavna Yatra at that time. Modi had then asked Advani to sit back and rest. But if the party announces Modi or anyone else as their PM candidate, then Sushma would be reduced to a lame duck LOP with no authority. She in closed quarters has threatened to resign if someone else is projected.
AMBIKA GETS KHURSHID SUPPORT AGAINST AZAD
Union I&B Minister Ambika Soni and the Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid have ganged up against the Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to overturn his decision to implement the rule regulating smoking scenes in Films and on Television shows unless they are justified. The health ministry rule was implemented on November 14 last year. In December, Ambika Soni refused to accept the order saying how can the health minister interfere in the functioning of her domain. Soni then complained to the law minister seeking his intervention. Salman Khurshid last week has given an order giving Soni the authority to overturn the health minister’s order.
GOM METTINGS NOT GETTING PRIORITY ATTENTION
Pranab Mukherjee who heads most of the GOMs is a harassed man. The unavailability of senior ministers is his latest headache hampering the functioning of the GOMs. For example the last meeting of a GOM to review mega projects was last held in November last year. No meeting has been held since then While A K Antony, Pranab Mukherjee and Chidambaram give priority to GOMs but the problem lies in finding a common date for some other ministers. C P Joshi a senior minister who holds a crucial infrastructure portfolio expressed his inability to attend the meeting of the GOM last month on a certain date as he had to attend the meeting of district cricket board presidents of Rajasthan. Another minister also holding important infrastructure portfolio refused to attend the meeting of the GOM as he had to celebrate his birthday in his ancestral village. Another problem is foreign travel as. Jayanthi Natrajan who is part of several GOMs is always out of the country. As a result, not a single GOM meeting has taken place so far during the Parliament recess.
KAPIL SIBAL NOT CONCEDING HIS COLLEAGUE’S DEMANDS
It is not only the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is at loggerheads with the HRD Minister Kapil Sibal over the place of central university but even the Congress Minister Sachin Pilot is not finding adequate support from Sibal for an educational institute in his constituency Ajmer. Pilot is very keen to get an ITI in Ajmer but Sibal is insisting on having it somewhere else in Rajasthan. Again C P Joshi is also opposing the idea of an ITI in Ajmer But Pilot is lobbying hard as he feels that an ITI will contribute in the skill development of the younger generation in that area.
KAMALNATH ASKS AIR INDIA CMD TO VACATE HIS DELHI FLAT
The Urban Development Minister Kamalnath is giving nightmares to Air India’s new CMD Rohit Nandan. Nandan is facing problems after he shifted from Delhi to Mumbai. Before he shifted to Mumbai he had an arrangement approved by the then Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi whereby he could retain the house allotted to him in Delhi. Nandan was permitted to retain his Delhi residence on sympathetic grounds as his ninety one year old ailing mother stays there and it would be very difficult to shift her to Mumbai as was pleaded by Nandan. The permission was given to him for a temporary period. But now Nandan is in for a jolt as the Urban Development Minister Kamalnath has shot off a letter to him asking him to vacate the Delhi residence. An extremely upset Nandan sees this as a breach of promise. He has been heard saying to people that he would not have agreed to join Air India if he was told that he would have to vacate his Delhi Residence. (IPA)