Nora Chopra

Congress election strategist Prashant Kishor had convened a meeting of all the state-level Brahmin leaders on August 21 in which it was decided to have   conventions of the Brahmin leaders of Uttar Pradesh. The thinking is that since Sheila Dixit has been projected as the Brahmin leader of the Congress, the party should maintain its focus on the Brahmin leadership lest the BJP would succeed in splitting the Brahmin votes.  The first convention is to be held at Allahabad known for very close links with the Nehru family. Rahul Gandhi is expected to join this sammelan to claim the legacy of Nehru and the brahmins. The next sammelan is to be held at Mathura. Meanwhile, Pramod Tiwari’s daughter  Aradhana Misra alias Mona Mishra  has been made in-charge of the convention at Allahabad. Known as the city of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, by making Pramod Tiwari’s daughter Mona Mishra in charge of the Allahabad convention is being seen as the complete sidelining of Rita Bahuguna Joshi. The Bahuguna family has become a suspect in the eyes of the party leadership ever since Vijay Bahuguna joined the BJP .Speculation persists that Rita Bahuguna Joshi may go back to the Samajwadi Party. Besides these conventions, the party has even decided to have a ‘bhoj’ diplomacy. The Congress leaders have been asked to host Brahmin bhoj where only brahmins will be invited.  


Forrmer CM of Gujarat Anandiben Patel who was made to resign on the pretext of reaching the ceiling of 75 years but actually due to internal strife within the Gujarat BJP, continues to sulk. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying hard to keep her in good humour and even sacrificed Najma Heptullah who too like her had reached 75. Najma, who too was upset at being removed from her ministry of minority affairs, has since been  made governor of Manipur.  To pacify Patel, Modi had also offered her the governorship of any state of her choice. but it is believed that Anandiben is so furious that she refused to accept the offer. The thinking in the BJP is that it is Amit Shah who wants to see her out of the state lest she makes life difficult for chief minister Vijay Rupani.


Facebook is proving to be a rather potent tool. Anandiben Patel announced her resignation on FB and now a retired IAS officer, Veena Rao, has put out in FB a counter to a CBI chargesheet against her in the Antrix-Devas 'scam'. In a long FB post, she termed CBl's move ''shocking'' and ''ludicrous''. It seems her name cropped up as she was additional secretary in the Department of Space during the period the deal was inked. But, the former bureaucrat points out, the Antrix-Devas contract was approved at the Antrix board meeting in December 2004 when she  had no role to play. Challenging the authenticity of some of the documents shown to her during her questioning, Rao has even put out her email exchanges with the investigation agency.


Prashant Kishor is supposed to have told Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi that about 13 sitting Congress MLAs should not be given party ticket including CLP Leader Pradeep Mathur and former PCC chief Rita Bahuguna. According to sources close to Prashant Kishor, this is based on the findings of the survey conducted by him. Kishor has already identified five leaders in every district on whom he is putting all his energies. These five Congress workers have been given all the campaign material. Out of these, four would be eliminated and the strongest candidate would be given the party ticket. 


The Congress leadership is confused and divided on r the question of Balochistan. It has been doing a flip flop ever since  Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of Balochistan in his Independence Day speech. The party leaders are speaking in different voices. Without losing much time  media chief  Randeep Surjewala supported the PM on Balochistan. Later, the party reiterated its support for Modi’s decision on Balochistan and even said that the PM should prove it in action. Anand Sharma also supported him saying India has always opposed human rights violations. But, erstwhile external affairs minister Salman Khurshid opposed the PM and Surjewala called it  his personal opinion. Salman is, however, adamant over his stand. In an article he has written that linking POK with Balochistan is a myopic move and could undermine India’s high moral stance vis-a-vis Pakistan. Even P Chidambaram has supported Salman. In an interview he has justified his stand and has said that this is the party line. Contradicting Surjewala, he claims that he is the senior spokesperson and until he is sacked, what he is saying is the party line.  (IPA)

Sunday, 28 August, 2016