By Nora Chopra
Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress President Sonia Gandhi are sidelined as Rahul Gandhi takes charge of the party. It was not only the ordinance but Rahul is these days taking meetings of various ministries too. The ministers and the secretaries of certain infrastructure ministries are directly reporting to him. As for the party, he is taking all the decisions himself. All the appointments done in the last few weeks, whether the chairmanship of the AICC SC department, where the former bureaucrat Raju was appointed, or the appointment of a non- descript unknown Khursheed Ahmad Syed, a Gujarati as chairman of the AICC minority department, which was once headed by doyens like Arjun Singh, Ahmad Patel, AR Antuley and Jaffer Sharief. He has even held interviews for the OBC department, but has failed to reach on any conclusion. But Rahul’s fate depends largely on the results of the elections in Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. If he fails to deliver then the Sonia Gandhi and her team would be forced to take charge of the party or else the party is destined to doom.
DIGGY PAVES WAY FOR NEXT GEN LEADERS
Digvijay Singh is a politician to the core. He has made it categorically clear that he is no more interested in Madhya Pradesh politics. At a Rahul rally in Gwalior, he even refused to speak there despite insistence from the rank and file. But after Rahul finished his speech, he insisted that Digvijay should speak. And when he spoke he sent tremors right upto Delhi. He said, ‘Normally I do not speak in presence of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi but I have to succumb to ‘bal hat’ ( kids insistence pointing at Rahul ). But then mein to doobta suraj hoon aur ugte suraj ko naman karna chahiye. The Congress workers in Madhya Pradesh interpreted it as a dig on Jyotiraditya Scindia but the Delhi leaders are giving it a different spin. According to Delhi leaders of the Congress, by saying this Diggy has hit two birds in one stroke. His words are being seen as a message to the old guard in Delhi who control the system like Ahmad Patel and Janardhan Dwivedi that they should be magnanimous like him and pave way for the next generation.
MODI CALLS THE SHOTS, ASKS GOEL TO PACK UP
Even before he becomes the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi is the boss in the BJP. It is not Rajnath Singh who is dictating the terms, but Modi who has the final word. Even on the Vijay Goel versus Harshvardhan fight, it was Modi who told him in the informal central election committee meeting on Saturday that Goel was told by Modi to pack up if he does not fall in line. Goel was told by Modi categorically that if he wants to remain the president of the Delhi unit, he should pave the way for Harshvardhan. Harshvardhan might have been the choice for now in the absence of any better candidate. But the search continues even now. In fact, Modi wants Sushma Swaraj to be the candidate against Sheila Dikshit. But Sushma has refused the proposal. From the PM candidate to CM candidate how can she agree. Then there is even demand for Arun Jaitley but again he too is reluctant.
MAJOR CHURN IN UTTAR PRADESH CONGRESS
Heads are likely to roll in Rahul and Sonia Gandhi’s political turf Uttar Pradesh. Pressure has mounted on the Congress high command that there was need for a change of leadership both at the central and at the state level. The threat of losing their jobs is looming large on both the UPCC chief Nirmal Khatri and Madhududan Mistry, the general secretary in-charge of UP, after they failed to put up a proper show of Rahul Gandhi’s rallies at Aligarh and Rampur. Rahul had to cancel his Salempur and Hamirpur rallies, after his rallies in the above said places were a complete flop, where not more than ten thousand people turned up. Rahul is said to be hopping mad and is said to be contemplating a change. Khatri, as it is, neither keeps good health nor belongs to any effective caste for that matter in UP. As for Madhusudan Mistry, he is unable to understand the dynamics of the caste politics of UP. Besides if the buzz in the Congress is to be believed, then Mistry is said to be responsible for the Priyanka rumour, thus infuriating both Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. The search has been sounded for Khatri’s successor. The name of Pramod Tiwari, a Brahmin, Zafar Ali Naqvi, a Muslim and Kamal Kishore, a dalit, are making rounds. Anil Shastri, a kayastha is also in the race. As for the general secretary in-charge, Mohan Prakash can be given additional charge or Shakeel Ahmad or even the charge can go back to Digvijay Singh. Ghulam Nabi Azad is, however, is still the frontrunner but only if he agrees to take the responsibility till 2014.
DALITS UPSET WITH PUNIA
The Dalits in the Congress are extremely upset with PL Punia for celebrating the birth anniversary of the BSP supremo Kanshiram. Eyebrows were raised when the Congress convened two dalit sammelans on the birth anniversary of Kanshiram, which was by boycotted by almost all dalit leaders of the Congress, except Kamal Kishore, the Behraich MP. Question is now being asked within the Congress as to whether the party has adopted Kanshiram as its dalit icon. Complaints have been lodged with the top brass of the Congress against PL Punia and Rajkumar Virka, the current chairman and deputy chairman of the SC ST commission, who called the dalit sammelan on Kanshiram’s birth anniversary. The Congress leaders who have been celebrating only the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar are now upset at the adoption of Kanshiram. Both Punia and Virka were known to be close to Kanshiram. Punia was one of his advisers and later even advised Mayawati but after his retirement from the bureaucracy, she refused to give him the political status he wanted. It was only after this that he joined the Congress despite resentment within the Congress, Punia has been granted the extension for another three years. He however continues to face immense opposition from the Congress leaders on the allegation that he is bringing Kanshiram’s ideology back in the party. (IPA)