Nora Chopra
Despite the high demand and publicity, Priyanka Gandhi has put her campaigning in Uttar Pradesh on hold. But this does not mean that she will not campaign. Priyanka would start her campaign just one month before the elections giving her brother Rahul a chance to be projected. This is the litmus test of Rahul Gandhi. His future will depend on the success of the Congress in UP elections. Rahul will start his kisan yatra from Deoria on September 6. Deoria is the political turf of Fazle Masood who has been made in charge of Rahul’s kisan yatra. Masood who had won his first assembly elections from Deoria will accompany Rahul throughout. Rahul will cover the rural areas of the state and also interact with the rural youth of the district.  This yatra will culminate in Lucknow where Rahul is expected to address a  rally. In Lucknow, the other two yatras are also likely to culminate at the same time. It will be a sangam of the three yatras. During his yatra Rahul will also have ‘bhojan’ with the rural people mostly the Brahmins. Meanwhile the Brahmin sammelan which was to take place in Allahabad will now be held in Lucknow.    
Once a journalist close to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has written several books on Modi and the BJP issues during the 2014 election campaign had remarked that if Modi is scared of anyone, it is Priyanka Gandhi. The Dhingra report indicting Priyanka’s husband Robert Vadra has come when the Congress campaign in UP is successfully picking up. The timing of this report is being seen as a move to scare Priyanka, but the sources in the Congress are to believed. Then Priyanka can convert this move into a sympathy move in her favour. The BJP is using every trick in its bag to scare the Congress leadership. For this they are using all the investigative agencies to their convenience. The recent visit of the ACB to probe into the Rs.400 crore Delhi Jal Board scam allegedly done by Sheila Dixit is also being seen as an attempt to scare the Brahmin leader. If sources in the BJP are to be believed, the party is extremely jittery with the gradual success of the Congress campaign because the Congress is banking on the Brahmin votes which till now had been the base vote of the BJP.  
Pressure has mounted on the Prime Minister from the ministry of external affairs to have a diplomat as his NSA in place of Ajit Doval. Foreign secretary Jai Shankar is retiring in January next. Jai Shankar is supposed to have worked out successful visits of the Prime Minister to US. After the home minister’s disastrous visit to Pakistan organised by Doval, demand has been raised for a diplomat as NSA. The charge of Pakistan too has now been given to Jai Shankar. This is seen as an indication of Jai Shankar replacing Doval. The only hurdle can be that two officers are senior to him and they may create problems for him. He can even be made the deputy NSA but with more powers than the NSA. (IPA)
Sunday, 4 September, 2016