Sunday / December 8.


By Nora Chopra

There is a saying that great men think alike so does Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi and his man Friday Amit Sharma. Rahul who is all set to take over from his mother the reins of the Congress Party does not want to have any pre poll alliance. He wants to start from scratch and go alone so that the Congress base which it had lost would increase even if the party fails to get its members elected. His main agenda is to restore its glory and expand the Congress support base. .The thinking in the Rahul camp is that the Congress numbers and the vote percentage have decreased in all the states because of alliances. They would now onwards will have no prepoll alliances even. The Congress will soon go back to its Panchmarhi resolution where the upper caste leaders like Pranab Mukherjee had opposed alliances and coalitions. Similarly Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are also opposed to prepoll alliances. They first want to test their strength and would only enter into alliances in states where they will not get a majority. Sharad Pawar who has severed his ties with the Congress in the hope of a tie up with BJP is in for a jolt as the BJP leaders are opposed to any alliance with him at least in the pre poll. On the other hand in Haryana where they are testing their strength may strike an alliance with Om Prakash Chautala after the elections if they fail to get a majority on their own.




Despite losing eight out of eleven seats in the Uttar Pradesh by polls, the BJP leaders still nurture the hope of getting a majority and forming the government after the assembly polls in 2017. Already the fight has begun amongst the Chief Ministerial contenders. while there is demand from Varun Gandhi ‘s supporters to enthrone him and declare him the face of the UP CM in advance on the lines of Narendra Modi before the Lok Sabha polls.. He has the support of L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj But for Rajnath Singh, his son Pankaj Singh should be projected as the CM candidate. Sangeet Som the alleged accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots is also a contender. But will Narendra Modi agree to all these names?. It is believed that Modi is unlikely to agree for any of these names. He is supposed to have another name in mind. . According to sources in the NDA, he wants to project a backward woman to become the Chief Minister of UP. This will not only push the other contenders in the BJP on the backfoot but would even damage the OBC vote banks of both Mulayam and Mayawati. It is rumoured that he has given this proposal to the Apna Dal chief Anupriya Patel on the condition that she merges her party with the BJP.




The AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry who is in charge of the central election committee of all election going states of Maharashtra and Haryana is behaving in a funny manner. . The way he is going about with the list of names of the candidates close to his chest has made him the butt of jokes in 24 Akbar Road. Last week Mistry who has acquired the name of Einstein because of his hair and style of functioning was the most sought after man in the Congress. All the ticket aspirants had descended on Delhi and were desperately looking for people to either be enlightened about their prospects or those who can help them in getting the tickets. Mistry was so scared of the possibility of being caught by these ticket seekers that he got his driver to lock him up in his 5 South Avenue House for three days. He would just sneak out of the house looking around when assured by his staff that no one was around but when he returned home he would ask his driver to lock him in so the ticket seekers would get befooled and go back thinking that Mistry was not inside.




India’s former CAG Vinod Rai has claimed that the purchase of aircrafts by the state owned carrier Air India was not above board. The question being asked is did the auditor investigate further on the issue and find out if there was any malafide purpose involved in the decision taken? Since the aircrafts were purchased from the US giant Boeing it was easy to find out if the supplier offered any kickback for the favours extended. After all Boeing is guided by the FCPA and will attract stiff penalty for paying bribes. Now the question is will the Modi government reopen the issue as it is committed to weed out corruption. The pressure has mounted from within a section of his party that Narendra Modi should take up the issue with the US President Obama




Prime minister Narendra Modi and his man Friday Amit Shah have started exploring ways to counter the social justice forces in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who gave them a befitting reply in the by polls in both the states. In a move to counter the Lalu- Nitish agenda, the duo are toying the idea of projecting a Muslim face as the party’s CM candidate .it may sound unbelievable but the former minister Shahnawaz Hussain, one of the two Muslim faces of the BJP who lost the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, has already started working for his next innings . Shahnawaz Hussain had been very unhappy after he lost the election from Bhagalpur and had been cribbing that his party considers him to be a pariah because he is a Muslim. He had blamed one BJP MLA who has now become MP for his defeat saying it is so difficult to survive in a communal party like the BJP. But now Hussain has got the indication. The thinking in the Modi camp is that if a Muslim who is close to the RSS, is made the CM, then the social justice forces would lose their drum beating plank of polarising the Muslim votes . By doing this the BJP can even get rid from the label of being anti Muslim. Plus with a Muslim CM in Bihar, the party would even find it easier in implementing the RSS agenda.




Varun Gandhi, the MP from Sultanpur who has been winning his seats with big margins, is not a reluctant leader. He likes to lead from the front. But one of the reasons for his victory is the amount of work he has done in his constituencies first Pilibhit and now Sultanpur. He has an NGO called Amanat which works among women. A few years ago, he went to Belgium and convinced some artisans to come to India and teach the women of his constituency the art of making Belgian Lace. About twelve men came to India hosted by Varun who picked up twelve rural women to learn making the Belgian lace. They were in India for six months .after they went back these twelve women were assigned to teach the same to other women of Pilibhit .Now they are perfect and each woman in the remotest Pilibhit areas earns at least twenty thousand rupees a month something which was never heard of in any rural area. Again in Sultanpur Amanat is planning to start organic farming that is hardly known in the rural Sultanpur  He  says that would bring ample money to his ill famished and poor constituency people. The other reason for his victory is that he has huge fan following. His fans have formed a Varun Gandhi youth brigade with a membership of four to five thousand in each district and about seven lakhs in entire UP. And this youth brigade is his strength in the state. It is these young boys who are protesting on his behalf for sidelining him. The Varun Gandhi Youth Brigade has been demanding that he should be made the Uttar Pradesh CM. It is this force that has compelled Amit Shah to call him up and told him let’s sit and talk after the dismal results of the by polls.




Hectic activity has been there of late in the Indian embassy and consulate offices in the USA. The reason being the poor services by the respective visa offices. The problem is increasing every year. In fact in the wake of large scale loss `and misplacement of passports submitted by the intending travellers to the agency nominated by the Indian embassy in USA, there was a change of vendor. Unfortunately this too has not helped. Even this year it is said that fifty passports were lost and duplicates were issued by the Indian embassy. The information was kept a closely guarded secret with the agency taking pains to compensate for the loss. The embassy people did not want these issues to come to the knowledge of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hence all the precautions. Even a high powered team from MEA and NIC inspected the arrangements so as to suggest preventive measures. (IPA)


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