By Rahil Nora Chopra
Kalraj Mishra and Bandaru Dattatreya, who have been dropped from the Union Cabinet, as well as S M Krishna, who quit Congress to join BJP, are tipped to become Governors. Similarly, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who was dropped along with the others, is likely to be made party president in Bihar. There are reports of differences between the BJP and the three alliance partners over the number of inductions as also the choice of portfolios. JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena chief Udhav Thackaray and the TDP leadership are said to have been lukewarm to the offers made to them. And what all this means is another reshuffle in the months to come.
BJP patriarch L K Advani was conspicuous by his absence during the oath taking of the new ministers at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Sunday. So was Murli Manohar Joshi. But Kalraj Mishra, who quit as Union minister, sat in the front row. Also absent was Uma Bharti, but she tweeted: “I am in Varanasi. I am in my constituency Jhansi-Lalitpur, for participation in some pre-scheduled event.”
GADKARI WINS REPRIEVE DUE TO RSS BACKING
According to sources, Amit Shah wanted Nitin Gadkari to leave the Road & Transport and Shipping ministries due to his poor performance but Gadkari refused to oblige.. It is believed that Gadkari got a second chance and the additional Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation ministry due to the intervention of RSS, with which he is supposed to be very close.
RAJNATH SULKS OVER RESHUFFLE SNUB
According to sources, Home Minister Rajnath Singh is upset over the way he is treated in the party. He wanted his men to be inducted into the cabinet in Sunday’s reshuffle but the party and the RSS ignored his pleas. That was probably why he was absent from the three-day conclave of RSS, which was held during 1-3 September in Keshav Dham, Vrindavan. Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley had gone to pacify Rajnath Singh on the first day of the conclave, but he refused to budge. Almost all the senior RSS leaders, including Mohan Bhagwat, party president Amit shah, Ram Lal, general secretary in-charge of the organisation and cabinet ministers, except Rajnath Singh, were present at the meeting.
NIRMALA’S ELEVATION TO COUNTER SMRITI’S CLOUT
According to sources, the Arun Jaitley lobby is promoting Nirmala Sitharaman. The way she got prominence is the recent cabinet reshuffle, having been given the key defence portfolio, shows that the emergence of a strong lady as a counter force to Smriti Irani is being encouraged. When Smriti Irani was given charge of the HRD ministry it had raised quite a few eyebrows as no one expected such an important ministry to be entrusted to such an inexperienced person. In the same way, Nirmala Sitharaman’s elevation has surprised many in the party and outside. The buzz is that Arun Jaitley has had a hand in Nirmala’s rise.
SONIA BLASTS BIHAR LEADERS FOR BETRAYAL
Bihar Congress leader Ashok Chaudhary and Sadanand Singh, accused of anti-party activities, met party president Sonia Gandhi, who gave them a bit of her mind. She reminded them that they had enjoyed power and position in the party, including ministership, and their conduct was not acceptable. She asked them to reprimand themselves for their anti-party activities, but they inisisted that they had no role in the move to break up the party. According to speculation, 16 Congress MLAs are in touch with Nitish Kumar.to break away from the party, but they need 18 MLAs to do that without inviting action. According to sources, a Bhumiar leader will be the next PCC chief in Bihar as the party leadership looks for a new face to lead the party in the state and keep the folks together while countering Nitish Kumar’s machinations. The names in discussion are of Anil Sharma, Akhilesh Singh and Shyam Sunder Dhiraj.
AICC IN CHARGE OF MAHARASHTRA TO GIVE WAY TO AZAD
A delegation of senior Odisha Congressmen met party vice president Rahul Gandhi and demanded the appointment of a new PCC chief without further delay. The PCC chief’s post has been lying vacant for the past one month and those in the race include NSUI chief Sharad Patnaik and Bhakta Charan Das who came to the party from Janata Dal. Also on the cards is the removal of Mohan Prakash from the position of AICC general secretary in charge of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Rahul Gandhi is expected to visit Nanded and Parbhani in Maharashtra this week but Mohan Prakash has not been invited to his programmes. Ghulam Nabi Azad is expected to become the new general secretary in charge of Maharashtra. (IPA)