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Friends, foes and possible allies

Advani tipped to head BJP after the Gadkari debacle

The ageing octogenarian leader of the BJP Lal Krishna Advani, who was being pushed out of power politics by the second rung leaders, may finally be the lucky man to replace Nitin Gadkari next month as the national president of BJP. Advani, who is chairman of the NDA, will thus be succeeded by Sharad Yadav as chairman of the NDA, while Rajnath Singh is tipped to become the convenor. As for UP, the name of Varun Gandhi is making rounds as BJP’s state president, replacing the present post holder Lakshmi Chand Bajpayee.  With BJP in total disarray and all leaders vying with each other for the top post, the only  option left before the RSS and the saffron party is to fall back on the tried and tested LK Advani.


Ahmad patel walks a tightrope in Gujarat

Power struggle in the Congress party is on its peak, and with Rahul Gandhi’s entry in the power committee or the election coordination committee, it has only intensified. Last week saw how the Rahul Man CP Joshi heading the Gujarat screening committee ignored Ahmad Patel’s men in the ticket distribution, triggering widespread protests from his group, forcing the party to withdraw the second list of candidates. Patel’s future depends much on the results of the elections as his opponents in the party are waiting to pounce on him. Knives will be out if the party performs badly in Gujarat. Already his detractors have been charging him of tacit rapport Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. It is for these reasons that the much awaited AICC reshuffle has been postponed indefinitely.


Is Mulayam letting muslims down?

Eyebrows have been raised over the first list of Samajwadi Party candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Everyone seems to be upset with Mulayam Singh Yadav over the manner he has given out tickets, including within his core support base of Muslims and Yadavs. The Yadavs are upset that in the first list he has given six tickets to Yadavs and all the six candidates are related to him. Out of the six tickets announced, three are close relatives — Dimple Yadav,his daughter-in-law, Dharmendra and Akshay Yadav,  his nephews, and the remaining two, Balram Yadav and Devendra Yadav, are close relatives. The sixth candidate is Mulayam himself. The Muslims, who again constitute his core support base, are equally unhappy.
There is thinking within the Muslim leadership that all the four seats of Meerut, Kairana, Amroha and Moradabad, where  Muslim candidates have been fielded, are losing seats.


Congress trying to stay in JD(U)’s good books


In view of the pre-poll or post-poll alliance for 2014, the Congress top leadership wants to keep the JD(U) bosses, both Sharad Yadav and mainly the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, in good humour. The Congress, for the last two years, has kept its channels open with Nitish Kumar. After giving him the university at Motihari, his home constituency on Tuesday, the home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde held an exclusive meeting with him regarding problems in his state and even the special package proposal was discussed. The party boss Sonia Gandhi made sure that the entire Congress was present at the wedding ceremony of the JD(U) president Sharad Yadav’s daughter. Sonia herself, with son Rahul, attended the function. The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also present at the wedding. The move is seen as one to keep the bride’s father in good humour, thus leaving the BJP jittery. Sharad Yadav has been of late quite soft on the Congress. Recently, both Sharad and Nitish had taken a separate stand from the BJP on the contentious issue of presidential elections and had supported the Congress candidate. He has also adopted a separate line from the BJP on the Lokpal Bill. The appointment of Mohan Prakash in the AICC’s sub group on pre poll alliances is also being seen as a move in the same light. If the Congress fails to make it in 2014, it will use all the tricks in its bag to prevent the BJP from coming to power. In such a situation, the Congress can support a Nitish or a Mulayam led government.


Rahul Gandhi climbs up the Congress Ladder


Rahul Gandhi may not get a designation signifying his role and powers, and he may not be made the working president or vice president of the party as of yet, but he is definitely on the rise. After being included in the power committee of the AICC and the election coordination committee, he is all set to become a member of the core committee now. UPA members were surprised to see Rahul attend the meeting of the coordination committee,  when he is not officially a member. One of the reasons causing the delay of the organisational reshuffle is the question of whether Rahul should get a clear post or not.


Bansal Slashes Railway quota for ministers

The first thing Pawan Bansal has done after taking charge of the ailing railway ministry is to stop the rampant use of the Railway minister’s reservation quota. During the Trinamool Congress days in the Railways, Mamata had set up a special reservation box just outside her residence in Kolkata. She had issued instructions that all requests be entertained.But after Pawan Bansal took over, he has issued strict instructions in his office not to misuse the minister’s VIP quota.


Cong drops top leaders from committees

A sense of surprise prevails in 24 Akbar Road in the wake of the power committee with Rahul Gandhi in it and the three sub groups constituted by Sonia Gandhi recently. What has surprised everyone is the presence of Rahul Gandhi in the top committee without any specification of his role or designation. His name is just the top name in the list of six members. And the equally surprising element is the absence of some notable Congress leaders in that very committee.  The lack of Ghulam Nabi Azad and Oscar Fernandez from the main election coordination or any of the sub groups is a case in point. [IPA]
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