Rathore Vs Pilot?
Is Rajyavardhan Rathore being projected as the GenNext CM face for Rajasthan? Just as the Congress is projecting a two-tier leadership in the state with Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, there is a thinking within the BJP that one way to beat the anti incumbency against the sitting Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is to project Rathore as a state leader in waiting. To declare him as the BJP’s CM face would not go down well with Raje, who still holds a sizeable clout with the local MLAs. But he is definitely a presence on the sidelines of a very crucial state election due at the end of this year.
BJP woos Jagan
With Chandrababu Naidu of the TDP expressing his displeasure with the Narendra Modi-led government, the BJP is also planning a course correction of its own. Sources say that the leadership has already sent feelers to Jaganmohan Reddy as a possible ally. Though Jagan lost the recent Nandyal bypoll to the TDP, he is busy consolidating his base with various padyatras and is certainly more accessible than the Andhra Pradesh CM. Sensing the rise of a regional satrap the BJP has indicated that it won’t mind changing allies either. Clearly, two can play the baiting game.
Congress to dump SP?
With Mayawati boycotting the meeting on Opposition unity called by Sonia Gandhi, there is a worry in the Congress camp that the BSP supremo is not happy with the party’s closeness to the Samajwadi Party. Moreover, the recent civic polls in UP have shown it is the BSP that is on the rise, not the SP. So far Mayawati has spurned attempts of forming a united front against the BJP along with the Congress and the SP. Should the Congress then rethink its options and go with Mayawati instead of Akhilesh Yadav? That’s a question the party leadership will be grappling with over the next few months in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Lunching with the Badals
The Badals held their high powered annual lunch in the capital with makki ki roti and sarson ka saag on the menu. The cuisine was distinctly Punjabi, with even the gol-gappas made with water from Patiala to give it the authentic flavour. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was at his affable best at a table with Shashi Tharoor, Derek O’Brien and Farooq Abdullah. When Jaitley commented on the perils of social media, Tharoor sitting next to him sighed deeply. To which Jaitley laughed and added that he wasn’t talking about him. Politicians cutting across party lines came for some good old fashioned Badal hospitality. Apart from Sukhbir and Harsimrat Badal looking after the guests, even their daughters Gurleen and Harkirat chipped in to play hosts. t was a sunny start to a stormy budget session.