No Muslims among Congress’ minority vice chairmen
The appointment of three vice-chairmen in the All India Congress Committee’s Minority Department has raised several eyebrows as the party Constitution does not have any provision for a VC. Interestingly, not a single Muslim has been given the post. Of the three, Anil Thomas is a Christian, Parminder Singh Bawa, a Sikh, and Manish Shah,
a Jain. These appointments are in keeping with A.K. Antony’s prescription that by projecting Muslims alone, the Congress is seen to be appeasing the Muslims. Many are wondering why Rahul left out a Parsi from this panel. Perhaps he did not want his Parsi lineage to be the talking point again.
Vincent George’s ‘return’ good for Christians
Two appointments in Congress related to the Christian community have been done on the recommendation of Vincent George, who was once the all-powerful private secretary of the late Rajiv Gandhi. These are of Anil Thomas as vice-chairman in the AICC Minority Department, and the re-appointment of Shobha Thomas Oza as the All India Mahila Congress chief. When it was decided that a Christian had to be appointed in the Minority Department, Rahul Gandhi sought George’s help. That George recommended a “nobody”, surprised many in the Congress. As for Oza, although her proximity to Rahul is said to be the main reason for her reappointment, her first appointment was because of George’s efforts. Ozha’s re-appointment has invited criticism as she has not been able to win any election despite being given several chances. With Vincent George’s return from the wilderness, the buzz in the Congress is that the AICC may see more Christians getting positions of power.
Congress’ minority chief will have to go
AICC’s Minority Department chief Khurshid Ahmad will be removed from his post as several complaints of non-performance, among other things, have been lodged against him. The appointment of three powerful vice-chairmen in the department is being seen as a precursor to his removal. Congress’ Muslim leaders are angry with Ahmad for not raising his voice on the Dadri issue or uttering a word on the beef controversy. He did not even travel to Bihar to campaign for the party. M.I. Patel, who was appointed secretary in the department under Ahmad, has resigned after complaining against him.
Mamata worried about Shah’s visit
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee supporting Nitish Kumar in the Bihar elections may not help the latter garner any additional votes, but her backing is being seen in the context of BJP president Amit Shah’s slated visit to Kolkata on 30 November. Mamata is clearly perturbed and hopes to take on the “BJP onslaught”, given the inroads BJP has made in Bengal in the recent past.
Infighting in Delhi PCC out in open
The infighting within the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee was on full display at the Balmiki Jayanti celebrations organised by the Balmiki Samaj and attended by Rahul Gandhi, at the Red Fort in Delhi on Tuesday. DPCC president Ajay Maken prevented Shivram Singh, chairman of the DPCC’s Scheduled Castes department, from going near Rahul. It seems Maken did not allow Rajkumar Verka, vice-chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, to be invited. Even P.L. Punia, chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, was conspicuous by his absence.
No work for Mistry, Prakash
Congress general secretaries Madhusudan Mistry and Mohan Prakash, once Rahul Gandhi’s favourites, are cooling their heels in Delhi as their services are not being used in the Bihar elections. They are practically without any work, waiting for Rahul to decide their fate.