Millennium Post

A shock and loss for the Congress

A shock and loss for the Congress
Congress to bring in Shivraj Patil to fill Deshmukh’s vacuum

After Vilas Rao Deshmukh’s death, the Congress leadership is looking for a potential leader from Maharashtra who can fill the vacuum that his unfortunate demise has created in Congress in the state politics. Shivraj Patil, the governor of Punjab, is all set to be brought back to active politics. He is from Vilas Rao’s home district Latur and a Lingayat, who can be of use even in Karnataka. But the Congress leadership is shocked to learn that Patil failed to attend the funeral of Deshmukh. It was after Patil moved to the Lok Sabha in 1980 that Vilas Rao got his first break in the Assembly. The party is also looking for a potential Maratha leader who can be groomed to counter Sharad Pawar. Among the names being considered are of Balasaheb Thorat and Harsh Vardhan Patil: both are Congress ministers in the Prithviraj Chavan government. Another beneficiary of Vilas Rao’s death is expected to be Vilas Muttemvyar. He is likely to be made minister in place of Deshmukh as he will be the Congress candidate against BJP chief Nitin Gadkari.


Prithviraj Chavan's CM throne is safe for now

The Maharashtra Chief Minister must be a happy man today. His destiny is favouring him. The death of Vilas Rao Deshmukh may have come as a major shock and a grave loss to the Congress in Maharashtra, but it has definitely given stability to the dwindling fortunes of the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. Had Vilas Rao recovered from his illness, then he would have been made the chief minister of Maharashtra in September. One month ago Vilas Rao was sounded but he had refused on health grounds. But after Sharad Pawar made it a prestige issue, it was decided that Prithvi will finally have to go. In return, Pawar had agreed to concede all his other demands, including that of making Tariq Anwar the deputy chairman Rajya Sabha. His only demand continues to be the head of Prithviraj on a platter. The Congress leadership had even agreed, but now with Deshmukh gone and Shinde elevated as Home minister, the Congress leadership says there is no alternative to Chavan. He is the fittest with a clean image and there is substitute for him now.


Vir Bhadra Singh could ditch Congress for TMC

Vir Bhadra Singh is joining Trinamool Congress. After conquering West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee has now set her heart on the Hindi heart land. She is planning to contest the election in Haryana and Himachal, and for that she has deputed her Man Friday and financer K D Singh. K D Singh has sounded his search for the possible candidates whom he can poach from other parties to field them as Trinamool candidates. His latest catch is the disgruntled erstwhile chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, Vir Bhadra Singh. Singh, also known as Raja, is not very comfortable in Congress because of the Congress strategy of promoting Anad Sharma. After the Raja’s resignation,
K D Singh met him and has proposed to him that he join  the Trinamool Congress and lead the party in the elections. Vir Bhadra has not given him any final answer. He has neither given his nod nor rejected the idea. K D Singh is in constant touch with him waiting for his final reply. Vir Bhadra has told K D Singh that he would consult his people and then get back to him.    


Congress searching for a New Delhi PCC chief


With just one and a half years left for the Lok Sabha elections and only one year to go in Delhi, the Congress leadership has started looking for a new PCC Chief in Delhi, who can forge a caste alliance at the social level and a cohesive alliance with the chief minister Sheila Dikshit to get the party elected for the fourth time in the state. The party is in a dilemma. The Congress leadership has sounded a search for a dynamic face, who the party can sell as their trump card in the next election. The traditional vote base of the Congress has been the Muslims, rural poor and Dalits, but with the urbanisation of Delhi, the middle class added  their support after Sheila Dikshit took charge. The Congress leadership is now in a dilemma whether to have a Muslim PCC Chief or a Dalit. Within the Dalits, the Congress has lost the votes of Jatavs after the emergence of Mayawati.


Gogoi miffed with meddlesome Diggy

The AICC general secretary and the so called political mentor of Rahul Gandhi, Digvijay Singh, who is in charge of both Assam and UP, has acquired the skill of running into trouble. On the Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent visit to Assam to review the situation of the riot-torn state, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and PCC Chief Bhubaneshwar Kalita lodged a complaint against Digvijay Singh. In their verbal complaint, they alleged that Diggy is trying to destabilise the Gogoi government in Assam by blessing anti-Gogoi people like Hemanta Vishwa Sarma, who is the health minister in Assam and even Badruddin Ajmal. The thinking in the Gogoi camp is that both Ajmal, who heads the main opposition party All India United Democratic Front, and Sarma have ganged up against Gogoi and are baying for his head. And they enjoy Digvijay’s patronage. Gogoi has demanded that Diggy should be stripped off his Assam charge. The Congress is in a dilemma as they cannot find any alternative to Gogoi who has got the Congress elected in Assam for three consecutive terms.  


Anil Ambani ousts Jaypee group in Akhileshland

Manoj Gaur’s [of Jaypee group] loss is likely to be Anil Ambani’s gain in Uttar Pradesh. Anil, who has played a pivotal role in bringing Mulayam close the Congress during the presidential election, is the industrialist to watch in Akhilesh Yadav’s Uttar Pradesh. During Mayawati’s days, it was the Jaypee group. However, in the Mulayam kingdom, the contract of the four lane express highway from Agra to Lucknow is likely to go to Anil Ambani. This 300 kilometre road will cover the entire Mulayam’s Yadav dominated constituencies, beginning from Agra, Ferozabad, Etah, Mainpuri, Itawah, Farouqabad, Kannauj, Unnao, Kanpur, Dehat, Sambhal, Moradabad, Amroha, Shahjehanpur, Pilibhit, Bareilly upto Lucknow. It would be a gift to the Yadavs for standing by Netaji.  The project is estimated to be of about Rs 10,000 crores.


Usmani extends leave to escape up bureaucracy

UP Chief Secretary Javed Usmani is so unhappy that he is just not willing to return to Lucknow. Usmani has once again extended his leave. This is his third extension. Usmani’s problem is that he cannot dance to the tunes of junior officers like the all powerful Anita Singh, who is the de-facto chief minister of UP or former chief secretaries A P Singh and Neera Yadav. Usmani is believed to be lobbying in Delhi for a posting. He has worked in the PMO and is close to both PM and Pulok Chatterjee.  According to bureaucratic sources, he is keen to join as secretary Civil Aviation in place of Naseem Ahmad Zaidi, who moved to the election commission.


Bihari claimants rattle Delhi leaders of BJP


The five top leaders of Delhi BJP – Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Vijay Goel, Vijender Gupta, Harshwardhan and Jagdish Mukhi – are these days a worried lot. Their problem is that even a year before the elections in Delhi and even before it is certain that BJP would come to power in the state, the race for the throne of Delhi has begun and the worst is that all the claimants are Bihari outsiders. Among those vying for the post of the chief minister of Delhi are Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Shahnawaz Hussain and Rameshwar Prasad Chaurasia, the MLA from Bihar and incharge of Delhi BJP, and even Poonam Azad, Kirti Azad’s wife, who is not even an MLA. The names of Shahnawaz and Rudy appeared in a Hindi daily as front runners for the post. The story was done by a Bihari reporter. When Ravi Shankar Prasad succeeded S S Ahluwalia as deputy leader of the party in Rajya Sabha, he was welcomed by some Delhi leaders like Vijay Jolly, who runs an outfit called Delhi Steady group. After the reception, Prasad’s name is also making rounds in Delhi BJP circles. As this fight between Bihari leaders continue, the Delhi leaders just watch on in dismay.
Nora Chopra

Nora Chopra

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