by Nora Chopra
The Congress will be open to taking support from the left both in getting its MP elected to Rajya Sabha fromWest Bengalas well as in the election of the President if Mamata does not collaborate. West Bengal Assembly can elect five Rajya Sabha MPs out of which the Trinamool Congress will get clear three MPs One seat would go to the CPI(M) and one the Congress wants in its quota. While one MP inWest Bengalcan get elected on 49 votes, the Congress has only 4 and. It needs 7 more votes to get its MP elected. Mamata Banerjee has 38 surplus votes but she is unlikely to support the Congress. Mamata is planning to field a fourth candidate. To get the fourth candidate she needs 11 surplus votes. The Congress is determined to field a local Muslim candidate. The name of Abdul Manan is making rounds. But in case Mamata refuses to support, the Congress can think of fielding an independent candidate who would then get elected both with Congress and the left support. Similarly the Congress will do real politics. To counter the BJP and Mamata, the thinking in the Congress is to field Hamid Ansari as the Presidential candidate against the BJP who is planning to field Abdul Kalam to counter the Muslim card of the Congress on the hope that Mulayam and other third front parties will support Kalam. The Congress is however very hopeful of sailing through. The UPA has 41 % votes and the Congress alone has 35% votes The BJP has 27 % plus 4 % JD (U) votes, The Left has 4 % and SP and BSP 4% votes each . The third front parties would be the deciding factor. The Congress is also banking on the left support. Congress can even consider the name of Mohsina Kidwai.
CONGRESS WANTED BRAHMIN CM IN UTTARKHAND
Harish Rawat lost the race to the chief minister’s post because the Congress high command did not want a Rajput as the CM in Uttarakhand. The central leadership was clear that they should have a Brahmin CM. After losing UP merely because of the erosion in the Brahmin votes, the Congress leadership was under pressure to have a Brahmin CM in the upper caste dominated hill state. The thinking got a boost when the former chief minister of Himachal Pradesh andUnionminister Vir Bhadra Singh called on the AICC general secretary Janardhan Diwedi last week and though not much is known what transpired between the two, it is learnt he wants a free hand in Himachal. The perception is if the Congress wants to win Himachal Pradesh it will have to project Vir Bhadra Singh as the CM. The Congress could not have had two Rajput CMs.
AZAD, VIRENDER SINGH UNDER FIRE FOR UTTARKHAND MESS
Knives are out at both the AICC general secretaries Ghulam Nabi Azad and Choudhury Virender Singh in charge of Uttarakhand for the mess up in the hill state and their failure in curbing the rebellion in the party in the state.. If the Congress leaders in the state are to be believed, the mismanagement of these two general secretaries triggered the rebellion. Clipping Virender Singh’s wings Sonia Gandhi had sent Ghulam Nabi Azad to manage the show. Both met all the MLAs and came out saying that the MLAs have left the decision on Sonia Gandhi. According to Singh both Harish Rawat and Vijay Bahuguna met him and said we have no problem if any of us would be made the CM. But sources claim that after Bahuguna’s name was announced, the same Harish Rawat and the MLAs who had left the decision on the Congress President revolted. Allegations are being levelled that the MLAS were provoked by the two general secretaries to settle their scores with certain leaders in Delhi Vijay Bahuguna however should thank Janardhan Diwedi who proposed his name when it was decided that a Brahmin would be made the CM. Bahuguna was given precedence over Indira Hirdesh as he was seen closer to Delhi than Hirdesh.
SANJAY SINGH WOOING MULAYAM
Sanjay Singh, the Sultanpur MP whose wife Ameeta Singh lost the assembly polls, is set to leave to Congress. Sanjay Singh who has been sulking since the last two years for not being rehabilitated either in the party or cabinet was already in touch with the BJP. But since BJP is also not in good health in UP, he is said to be in touch with Mulayam Singh Yadav. The Amethi Raja can fill the vacuum created by Amar Singh He has a good hold over the Rajputs in the state.
BAD DAYS FOR AMAR SINGH
Poor Amar Singh. After suffering a resounding victory by Mulayam Singh Yadav, Thakur Amar Singh has become irrelevant. The Congress which tried using him in UP elections to defeat the Samajwadi Party has no place for him. He fielded over 300 candidates but lost in all seats includingRampurwhere Jaya Prada lost to Azam Khan. Last week Amar Singh landed up at Pranab Mukherjee’s house without an appointment. He was not entertained at all.. He sat outside for more than two hours but the minister refused to meet him.
GOPAL GANDHI ANGLING FOR PRESIDENT’S POST
Lobbying has begun for the post of the President. Former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, a keen contender for the post already has the support of Mamata Banerjee. He is now soliciting support of other chief ministers also. Last month he went toPatnaand met Nitish Kumar also. Nitish is said to have assured him of his support. A few weeks ago when Naveen Patnaik came toDelhi, Gandhi called on him to seek his support. Naveen however has different plans. He may soon come up with a new name. Gopal Gandhi is expected to meet Mulayam and even Jayalalithaa in the next few weeks.
DIGVIJAY SINGH UNDER ATTACK FOR FAILURE IN UTTAR PRADESH
The Brahmin leaders of the Congress are up in arms against the Digvijay Singh ,Beni Prasad Verma and Mohan Prakash for going against the party ‘s traditional vote base and giving the bulk tickets to OBC leaders imported from other parties. Out of the 356 tickets given, 216 tickets were given to outsiders out of which 113 were OBC candidates. Out of the 28 candidates elected, 19 are Congressmen and 9 are outsiders. Only one is Kurmi, two are dalits, four muslims and the rest are upper castes. The UPA ministers also failed miserably. Not one UPA minister could deliver any results. Beni Prasad Verma could not get any Congress candidate elected from his Gonda and Barabanki districts. His own son was defeated. Similarly Salman Khurshid, minister for minority affairs who made so much noise about the minority quota could not get any Congress candidate elected from Farrukhabad parliamentary constituency. His own wife lost coming fifth getting only 220880 votes. She even lost her deposit. Muslims did not vote for the Muslim leaders wife. Same is the case of Jitin Prasad, R P N Singh and Pradeep Jain who are MOS IN Manmohan Singh government.
59 RAJYA SABHA MEMBERS TO RETIRE IN APRIL
AS 59 members are due to retire on April 2 next, hectic lobbying has already begun for a seat in Rajya Sabha. With a new government in place, all eyes are now on focussed on the ten seats of Uttar Pradesh. Mulayam Singh has already promised Jaya Bachchan Kiranmoy Nanda (ex socialist minister in the left front government) and Naresh Agarwal (for a 2nd term as he is already an outgoing member and before the elections, he switched over from the BSP to SP) Mayawati’s favourite bureaucrat Shashank Shekhar Singh who has already taken VRS is all set to play a new role. Mulayam will get 6 seats, two will go to BSP one to Congress and one to BJP. Besides Jaya, Aggarwal and Nanda, he will give one to a Muslim one to a Yadav and one to some upper caste. Brij Bhushan Tiwari an old socialist is in the run. Shahid Siddiqui is a serious contender in the SP quota. But Abu Asim Azmi may finally be the winner. Among industrialists the names Sanjay Dalmia is making rounds. BJP will only get one in place of its two outgoing members. Since Kalraj Mishra has been elected to the UP assembly, Vinay Katyar may be given a second chance. The Congress after many years may stake its claim over one seat but for that it would need the RLD‘s nine votes. Among the names making round are of Mohan Prakash and Rashid Alvi. Prakash is a Brahmin and the Congress is toying the idea of sending a Brahmin from UP The other notable members retiring this month are Arun Jaitley, Hema Malini of the Vilas Rao Deshmukh Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha K Rehman Khan Congress spokespersons Rajiv Shukla and Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Satyavrata Chaturvedi. (IPA)