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By Nora Chopra



Janardhan Dwivedi, the Congress general secretary who had been pushed to the wilderness by Rahul Gandhi, has once again bounced back to power. He is back in the reckoning. Dwivedi, who till a few weeks back, was not even allowed to sign the press release issued for the Congress Working Committee, on Wednesday convened a meeting of all the PCC Presidents to review the political situation in their respective states. He has even instructed the PCC presidents to prepare for the 14 November birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru. The PCC presidents have been told in clear terms that they should combat the anti-Nehru propaganda of the RSS and Modi. Dwivedi will be monitoring the entire Nehru anniversary programme. His bouncing back means that Rahul’s powers have been clipped .



The question making rounds in the diplomatic and political circles is: who would be the next Indian ambassador of Saudi Arabia – Ahmad Javed or Najma Heptullah? While there has been a vacancy for the past several months, no ambassador to Saudi Arabia has been appointed. But this will soon change. After Modi’s visit to Saudi, and in the aftermath of the two Nepalese women gang-rape embarrassment, a hunt has been sounded by the government for a Muslim face to post as an ambassador at the earliest. Pressure has mounted from within the RSS as well as from the Maharashtra government to send the current Mumbai police commissioner, Ahmad Javed, as the next ambassador. But the problem is that he is an IPS officer and the diplomatic community may not be happy about his appointment.



Poor Suresh Prabhu! He seems to have lost control over the railway ministry. It is his personal secretary Sanjiv Kumar, who runs the ministry landing poor Prabhu always in trouble. The latest controversy to hit the railway ministry is the release of the railway time table. Every year the normal routine was that the government publicised the date, timing and changes in the time table at least fifteen days before October 1 the date of its release. But this year it was a hush hush affair. People were just stranded not knowing the changes in the time table. But now journalists are being threatened by the rail IO Anil Saxena. Saxena has been calling up newspaper offices threatening to stop their advertisements if they do any negative story.



All eyes are now set on the wedding ceremony in the Modi family. All the top politicians and bureaucrats have received the wedding invite of the controversial Lalit Modi’s cousin and the younger son of his chacha Umesh Modi. Because Umesh Modi has been involved in a number of corruption and cheating cases, while Lalit Modi has been grabbing headlines for many reasons for the last six months, this wedding will be a “show of strength”. They can flex their muscles and show all their detractors how much power they still wield. Now it is up to the politicians and bureaucrats to ponder whether they want to be associated with the controversial Modis.



Najma Heptullah, who turned 75 in April this year, spent a very quiet birthday. Scared that once it becomes public she might be turned out of the government and may or may not be thrown to some far flung area as governor, she did not take most calls or receive birthday wishes from her friends. Believe it or not, whether her well-wishers and family members remembered her birthday or not is not known exactly, but one person, from whom she was hiding her birthday, did call her up. Yes, she got the shock of her life when Prime Minister Narendra Modi did remember to call her up and wish her happy birthday. People were left wondering whether it was a warning or he did mean to really wish her.



Manmohan Singh, the erstwhile longest-serving non-Nehru-Gandhi prime minister, who steered the Congress-led UPA government for record ten years, will soon be relegated to the dustbin of history, like his mentor PV Narasimha Rao. Rao, better known as Chanakya of the Congress, stepped down from his throne, handing over power to the saffron forces led by his friend philosopher Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Rao made history by doing a perestroika in India, yet not even his dead body was allowed in the campus of the Congress headquarters   at 24 Akbar Road. Now, though Congress is out of power for merely one year, but poor Singh is already a forgotten figure. On September 26, the former PM celebrated his 83rd birthday. But few in the Congress remembered that it was Singh’s birthday. The whole day he stayed at home and celebrated a quiet birthday. Sonia and Rahul, who had called him last year, too, forgot even to give a tinkle to her kharaon prime minister. But one person who remembered him was no other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi called up his predecessor to wish him happy birthday.



Serious differences have cropped up between the Yadav father-son duo. The Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is extremely upset with his father and the Samajwadi party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for humiliating him in public, after Mulayam rebuked the chief minister at a party convention. He told the CM that his performance was not up to the mark and if he continues to perform at this rate, all their MLAs would be unlikely to get reelected. The CM got so upset that he has started to boycott the functions where his father is present. Recently a power plant was inaugurated at Dadri by Mulayam and his infamous brother Shivpal Yadav, but the chief minister was conspicuous by his absence. His supporters were heard whispering that Akhilesh had boycotted it Akhilesh is also unhappy with the growing influence of his uncle Shivpal. Shivpal is known for hampering the smooth functioning of the Akhilesh government. He is alleged to be involved in nefarious and underhand dealings.



President Pranab Mukherjee is extra careful over the Gujarat terror Bill. The bill was returned by the Centre when the UPA was in power. Keen to avoid the stigma of a rubber stamp president, Pranab babu is consulting legal experts and political parties before signing the bill sent by the Cabinet. The million-dollar question making rounds is will he return it with observation or will he sign after consultation. In any case, the final decision rests with the Union cabinet. (IPA)


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