Millennium Post

old brigade still calling shots

Congress President Sonia Gandhi will lead the election campaign of 2014. Putting at rest the speculation over who would be leading the Congress campaign – Rahul Gandhi or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi at the UPA dinner indicated it would be herself. The thinking in the party is that with Sonia in the lead in 2014 on the likes of 2004, it will put an end to the controversy whether Manmohan Singh should be projected as PM or not. Sonia said at the dinner that they all would lead the party campaign. Scotching rumours, Sonia has clarified that she is not planning to retire from active politics. She will contest the Lok Sabha again from Rai Bareilly. On the question of Priyanka Gandhi’s contesting, she was evasive. As for her health, Sonia is perfectly all right. She said she went for a medical check up in March and would again go six months later for another.

Infighting is at its peak in the BJP. It is free for all in the saffron party. While all joined hands to oust Narendra Modi confidante Ram Jethmalani and forced his expulsion from the party, there are serious differences on the issue of allies. While Rajnath Singh called on Om Prakash Chautala in the hospital to enquire about his health last week, it is being said that both the BJP and INLD presidents discussed the possibility of coming together in Haryana. But just the next day of the Rajnath Singh’s meeting with Chautala, Sushma Swaraj addressed a joint rally with Bhajan Lal’s son Kuldeep Sharma of Janhit Congress in Narnol. At the rally, Sushma contradicted the perception of the BJP and INLD coming together and said that if the BJP-Janhit Congress alliance is voted in to power, then they will share the chief ministership with Kuldeep. She said for the first two and a half years, Kuldeep will be the CM and for the latter two and a half years the BJP state president Ramvilas Sharma would be the CM. The alliance with Chautala also has Sushma-baiter Narendra Modi’s nod. Modi had invited Chautala for his swearing-in ceremony and Chautala had made it sure with his presence.

Despite the rumours of a change in the Delhi PCC leadership making rounds again, the first round was won by JP Agarwal with his on-going tirade against the Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit. Sheila was forced to come to the Delhi PCC Office, which is JP’s seat of power, last week. Rahul Gandhi had expressed his desire to meet the Delhi PCC office bearers, MPs, MLAs and the Delhi Chief minister and Delhi PCC chief. A reluctant Sheila wanted Rahul to hold this meeting in Congress war room at Gurdwara Rakabganj Road, but JP Agarwal told him that he should come to the party office. Rahul agreed to Agarwal’s invite and decided to hold the meeting at Rajiv Bhawan or the DPCC office, forcing the CM to come there. This is believed to be her first visit to the party head quarters in the last five years ever since she came to power the second time.

The UPA’s ninth anniversary this year was a low-key affair. While Ram Vilas Paswan was one of the early ones to arrive at the UPA dinner on Wednesday last week, followed by Lalu Prasad a little later, many Congress leaders were missing from the government’s ninth birthday. Among the notable absentees were Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Ambika Soni, Jyotiraditya Scindia, JP Agarwal, Digvijay Singh were the notable absentees. The absence of Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was the guest of honour last year, was heavily felt. It is believed that Mulayam came to Delhi to attend the event but was stopped by Ram Gopal Yadav. As for the media, they were at the mercy of the whims and fancy of PM’s media adviser Pankaj Pachauri.  Both his predecessors Sanjay Baru and Harish Khare — journalists of known eminence — were not invited. Many newspapers were omitted from his list. Like there was no representation from the DNA.  Most of the invitees were personal friends of Pachauri. Many journalists invited neither covered the Congress, nor the government. Many were BJP-covering journalists and some were only his personal friends. Many Congress-covering senior journalists were not invited.

Congress acts only after complaints are lodged against it. On the UPA anniversary dinner hosted by the Prime Minister at 7 Race Course Road residence, a Hindi TV anchor caught hold of the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and lodged a complaint saying that whenever he asks for someone to join some discussion on the channel,  most of the time he cannot get any one from the Congress. Sonia Gandhi said she will look into the matter. The result was that the next day Congress appointed 36 spokespersons — eight for the print media and and 28 for TV channels. The list is dominated by the Rahul brigade. Out of the 28 TV spokespersons, 14 have been associated with Youth Congress some time or the other. This includes two ex Congress All India presidents, Manish Tiwari and Ashok Tanwar. Rajiv Satav is the current AIYC President. Among those included in the list are Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who makes a comeback, and Sanjay Jha, an outsider. Seven are union ministers and eight in the list of 36 are from UP.

Mamata Banerjee’s secretary Gautam Sanyal may be the next man on the CBI director Ranjit Sinha’s hit list. Sanyal was one of the people who conspired against Sinha to push him out of RPF. Sanyal wanted to place PK Mehta as the RPF chief in place of Sinha, so he convinced Mamata, who was already annoyed with Sinha, to push him out. Sinha had objected to the use of RPF during West Bengal elections. PK Mehta, whom Mamata made the RPF chief in place of Sinha on behest of Sanyal, superseded 28 officers to become the RPF chief. Then KD Singh’s cash for vote case is also being handled by the CBI, where he is alleged to have paid money to buy votes to become the  Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand.
Next Story
Share it