The winter session of Parliament, which usually starts mid November, has been put in the backburner until the Gujarat elections are over. Speaking to NewsX, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia asked, “What is the government so jittery about? And by delaying Parliament, it does seem as if the BJP does not want certain issues to be raised in Parliament that could spill over to the state election narrative—such as the shoddy implementation of GST for one. And second, the PM is tipped to be a star campaigner, while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been made the state poll in-charge along with four other Union ministers, including Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. As for Amit Shah who is scheduled to make a debut in the Rajya Sabha, well, he has made it clear that he will be camping in Gujarat till the end of the polls. Clearly, Gujarat trumps Parliament in the government’s agenda.”
Yet another twist in Rahul Gandhi’s Hamletian dilemna. It seems that the Congress has finally made up its mind as to when to promote Rahul Gandhi as the party chief. There was a debate as to whether this should happen before or after the Gujarat polls, with party leaders divided as to the Congress impact over this. But having been advised to delink the elevation from the Gujarat polls (or any state polls), the party seems to have finally decided to schedule this for November end, right on the eve of the Gujarat polls. A lot of this is to stem criticism from the BJP camp that Rahul is planning another sabbatical and is not as committed as his party workers would like him to be. The only problem is that after all the will-he-won’t-he, the actual event itself has become a bit of a yawn.
The Padmavati Spin-Off
Shashi Tharoor kicked up a controversy recently when at a literary event in Mumbai he commented that: “Every single one of these so called valorous maharajas, who today are after a Mumbai filmmaker because their honour is at stake, they were less concerned about their honour when the British were trampling all over it. They scurried to accommodate themselves.” While some wondered whether he was targeting the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, BJP’s Vasundhara Raje Scinida, Union minister Smriti Irani was quick to turn the tables on the Congress. She tweeted: “Did all the Maharajas kneel in front of the British? What will Jyotiraditya Scindia, Diggi Raja (Digvijaya Singh) and Amarinder Singh say on Shashi Tharoor’s comments?” This had Tharoor clarifying via a tweet that “I am dismayed that some BJP supporters are claiming I attacked Rajput honour... I spoke about the Maharajas who made their accommodations with the British. I have never made a communal comment in my life.” In the meantime, while campaigning in Gujarat, Vasundhara’s nephew and Congress leader was asked to comment on Tharoor’s comments. He simply stated: “I am Jyotiraditya Scindia and I am proud of my past, though I live for the future.” Clearly, the drama over the film Padmavati has its share of equally theatrical spin offs.