Sunday / August 18.


By Nora Chopra

Priyanka Gandhi is likely to be the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. The thinking in the Congress that unless the Congress returns to power in UP, it cannot revive nationally. Again there is consensus within the party that if the party goes without a face in the election, then it would be difficult to revive itself in the party particularly when you have a young sitting chief minister like Akhilesh Yadav and a former dalit CM like Mayawati. After losing the Bihar elections, the BJP too has started the exercise of shortlisting the candidates. But the Congress I party is once again at a loss. They don’t have a leader in Uttar Pradesh who can match up the stature of both these UP leaders nor does Rahul have the stature of Narendra Modi or Rajnath Singh who can canvass in any state. The Congress leaders feel that by projecting Priyanka Gandhi as the CM before assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress Party can be revived leading to a big contest.




When the Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Tuesday “I am the daughter in law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anything or anyone.” it was not the off the cuff statement. It was a well thought out remark with a message to the BJP leadership that she would be following in the footsteps of her mother in law and was willing to go to jail. If the bBJP leadership that was in power at that time can recollect that her mother in law when out of power after losing the Lok ASabha elections in 1977, was sent to jail. She succeeded n converting her jail yatra into a sympathy wave in her favour. From then on she could build a mass movement and led the Congress back to power. Taking cue from Indira Gandhi, Sonia is under tremendous pressure to do a Indira Gandhi or else the party does not see much hope in Rahul to bring the party to power.. The leaders in the BJP have been heard saying that Sonia is no match to Indira Gandhi who was a mass leader. Besides there were no corruption charges against her whereas the present Gandhi family is reeling under corruption charges. However reports are that the Congress is bargaining with the BJP over the GST and the National Herald case and the case against Robert Vadra. This week a meeting was held at 10 Janpath on the issue of GST. While Kamalnath and Jyotiraditya Scindhia opposed supporting the GST bill, it was Sonia Gandhi who shocked everyone by saying we should not stop the GST. It is believed that Priyanka is hell bent on allowing the passage of the GST bill.




The West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is working overtime to ensure her victory in 2016 Assembly elections. She is not leaving any stone unturned and has suddenly turned very congenial and is willing to shake hands with everyone., left, right and centre. Last week Mamata joined a rally of the radical Muslims outfit Jamaite Hind of one Siddiqullah. It was basically to counter the rise of the BJP and to assuage the feelings of the Muslims. Soon after that, her party extended support to the GST bill of the bBJP And very recently her MPs Derek o Brien and Sudip Bandopadhyaya were spotted in central hall of Parliament having soup pe charcha with the tainted Mukul Roy who was banished from the party by Mamata. Roy is trying to come back and he met Mamata over dinner on Wednesday. He had managed the 2011 assembly election for Mamata. And the speculation in the party is that with the rise of the BJP and the opposition splintered two ways between Congress and the Left, Mamata is trying hard to secure her position. Besides she is even working on an economic agenda. Mamata is very keen to organize a high profile Biswa Banga Sammelan in Kolkata in January Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and industrialist Mukesh Ambani will participate in it. The chief minister is trying her best to rope in Tata group chief Mistry or Ratan Tats to come to Kolkata on this occassion. But her Singur past is acting as the road block. She has even approached a Bengali ex diplomat who is a Tata Sons Board member to put in a word to Mistry. The talk in the Bengali political circle is Mamata needs Tata group for image makeover before the assembly elections.




Sanjay Joshi, more famous as bête-noire of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is likely to bounce back to power after the Bihar defeat. The thinking in the RSS and the BJP is that this is the time that Joshi known for his organizational skills should make a comeback before the next round of elections. The RSS has started a reconciliatory move between Modi and Joshi. Efforts are on to bring them closer. Already two meetings between Joshi and Modi’s man Friday Amit Shah have taken place. A reluctant Shah had no option but to shake hands with Joshi particularly in view of the Bihar verdict. Though there is pressure from within the BJP — and the RSS that Joshi should be made the BJP president in place of Shah in December but for the time being the RSS wants him to take charge of Uttar Pradesh. When Modi had ensured his exit from the BJP, he was in charge of UP. Shah finally agreed to talk to Joshi in view of the growing popularity of Joshi. His friends have formed Joshi Mitra parivar that works for his promotion and welfare. These friends have now put him on twitter..Soon after he joined the twitter, he got a following of 1500 people.




Since Captain Amarinder Singh who had been boycotting the Parliament despite being the deputy leader in Lok Sabha, has been packed off to Punjab as PCC chief. The race for his successor has begun. Hectic lobbying is on but the race has narrowed down to Kamalnath and Jyotirditya Scindia. Kamalnath is the senior most member of the Congress in Lok Sabha and was a serious contender for the post of leader of the Congress Party. but after he lost the job to a dalit Mallikarjun Kharge, he has been upset. Kamalnath is one of the few Congress leaders who has been winning elections for the last several decades and that too from Chhindwara parliamentary constituency of Madhya Pradesh where the Congress does not exist for the last 30 plus years. The other name making round is of Jyotiraditya Scindia. He is currently the chief whip of the party and supposed to very close to Congress pvice president Rahul Gandhi . Congress leaders are heard speculating that Scindia being a personal friend of Rahul , is sure to win the race.




Nothing seems to be going right for the state BJP chief of Madhya Pradesh, Nand Kumar Chauhan. He is not related to the chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and – has committed a series of gaffes. The news of his politically inappropriate comments has even reached the party’s central leadership. Chauhan had made tall claims about the BJP’s membership drive in the state. But the recently-held by polls in Ratlam revealed that the BJP had failed to get the votes of at least four lakh voters who are supposed to be registered with the party. In Ratlam, Records show that the BJP has over eight lakh registered voters. Yet, it could barely manage to win over four lakh votes. Worse Nandu – his supporters fondly call Nand Kumar Chauhan by this name – blamed none other than Mohan Bhagwat for the debacle. The comment made by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief in the context of reservations, in Nandu’s opinion, was the reason behind the rout. There was no stopping Nand Kumar even after this slip. More embarrassment followed when he credited the CM for the rise in raids and the improvement in the seizure rate. The Opposition was quick to allege that the Lokayukta was taking instructions from the political head of the state. The word is that if Amit Shah were to get another term as the national president of the party, as is likely, Nand Kumar would be shown the door. Given the spate of rash comments in the saffron camp of late, Shah has his task cut out. Nand Kumar would then have the company of several other leaders who have not quite managed to cure themselves of the loose tongue syndrome. (IPA)