Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ashok Chaudhary is alleged to have struck a deal with BJP’s senior leader Prem Kumar, to give Kumar’s confidant Priya Ranjan a Congress ticket from Gaya Town in the Assembly elections. Prem Kumar, the BJP candidate, is the sitting MLA. Chaudhary overruled the candidates recommended by the Congress’ election screening committee to give a ticket to Priya Ranjan. The candidates were former BPCC chief Ram Jatan Sinha and Chiraguddin, the district Congress committee president. While Sinha has resigned, the Gaya Town Congress leadership is supporting Harish Barnwal, an Independent candidate.
Shakeel Ahmed, digvijaya kept out of Bihar campaign
It is a matter of surprise that Congress’ prominent Muslim leader, Shakeel Ahmad was kept out of the Bihar elections campaign. And this, even though Ahmad is from Bihar and has been advising Rahul and Sonia Gandhi on the Congress’ Bihar strategy. Even the Congress’ most “secular” face, Digvijaya Singh, the self-proclaimed custodian of Muslim interests, has been kept out of the campaign. Not just the Congress, “Diggy” has been kept out also by the Deobandis — adherents to the school of thought popularised by the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh — and told to come after the Bihar elections. They are fearing that he might say something that will result in communal polarisation.
Sugata Bose’s ‘agenda’ falls flat
How does Sugata Bose, a Trinamool Congress MP and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grandnephew, benefit by supporting the suppression of Netaji’s files, even though his party leader, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has declassified those in the state’s possession and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is about do so from 23 January onward? The buzz is that Sugata Bose tried to get Anita Bose Pfaff, Netaji’s daughter based in Germany, to denounce the demand for the declassification of the files by the Modi government. He, however, failed as Anita welcomed the PM’s move.
Diggy prefers being PM
Asked recently where he saw himself 10 years down the line and also given the options of being the Home Minister and Prime Minister, former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijaya Singh promptly chose the latter option. Singh said he had no desire to take on the Home Minister’s role, seeing the “plight” of the incumbent Rajnath Singh. Diggy, a product of the Arjun Singh school of politics, has perhaps forgotten that Arjun Singh had also desired to be PM, but his wish remained just that in his lifetime. If only wishes were horses.
Race on for pcc chief
The Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress is divided over who should be the next Pradesh Congress Committee chief. Madhusudan Mistry, the present AICC general secretary in-charge of the state, supports the ailing PCC chief Nirmal Khatri who, in turn, is backing Mistry. The other group, led by Congress spokesperson R.P.N. Singh and Congress Legislative Party leader Pradeep Mathur, wants a change in leadership. The pro-change group wants either Singh or Mathur or Pramod Tiwari. It is ironic that both the groups have started cosying up to Randeep Surjewala, AICC communication cell in-charge. While Singh sits with Surjewala by virtue of being a party spokesperson, Mistry is omnipresent. It is to be seen who Surjewala supports.
SP-backed lady wins varsity election in allahabad
In a first since Independence, a woman, Richa Singh has been elected president of the Allahabad University students’ union. Singh’s victory by a narrow margin of 71 votes is said to have been facilitated by the support extended by Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha of the Samajawadi Party, which backed her after its own candidate Ajit Yadav’s nomination papers were rejected on technical grounds. The pro-left AISA and SFI and the Congress’ NSUI, all of which have been traditionally strong in AU, failed to make an impact this time.