Rahul rejects Kishor’s suggestions
Election strategist Prashant Kishor’s suggestions have been rejected outright by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, nixing prospects of Kishor working for the party. Rahul Gandhi rejected Kishor’s advice to drop Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in Assam or risk losing the state in the forthcoming Assembly elections. The Congress VP does not believe in changing CMs even if it means the party losing a state. Despite pressures to replace Prithviraj Chavan in Maharashtra, Rahul did not, and “chose” to suffer defeat instead. Similarly, in Haryana, where the party’s impending defeat was quite apparent, Rahul refused to drop Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Kishor’s other suggestion to strike an alliance with Mayawati and Ajit Singh for the 2017 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh also did not find any favour with Rahul. Mayawati, on her part, will not have any pre-poll alliance with anyone and even if she agrees to have an alliance, will not give the Congress enough seats. Also, the Congress leadership in UP in particular thinks that the party should contest the elections on its own as else it will be reduced to an irrelevant player nationally.
Sonia’s move in J&K triggers speculation
Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s move to go to Jammu & Kashmir to personally offer her condolences to People’s Democratic Party president (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti has triggered speculation about “back-channel” talks for a possible alliance between the Congress and the PDP. State BJP leaders are eyeing Mehbooba’s moves with suspicion. Many say that Mehbooba Mufti has sought time to take oath for the CM’s chair because she is yet to decide about the next step she will take.
Rahul not in favour of alliances
With Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in a go-it-alone mood, the party is not likely to have any alliance with other parties in poll-bound West Bengal, Assam or even Uttar Pradesh. Rahul feels that unless the party fights the elections alone, particularly in Uttar Pradesh where Priyanka Vadra may be projected as the Congress’ chief ministerial candidate, it cannot revive itself. A.K. Antony has advised the party leadership not to join hands with the Left in West Bengal as that might have an adverse impact on the party’s fortunes in Kerala where the Congress faces challenge only from the Left, while the other parties are non players. In Assam, Rahul does not want to go for an alliance either with Badruddin Ajmal’s All-India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) or with Prafulla Kumar Mahanta’s Asom Gana Parishad.
Scindia did not speak on DDCA
In the last Parliament session, the Congress had decided to field Jyotiraditya Scindia to speak on the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) controversy. Half an hour before the Congress was scheduled to raise the issue, Scindia was nowhere to be seen and a hapless party had to pitch MP K.C. Venugopal, who had a limited knowledge about DDCA, to talk on the subject. Scindia’s detractors are alleging that since the Congress MP from Guna is part of the country’s cricketing administration he did not want to talk on the subject.
Cong will replace Vora
Congress has started to search for a person who can replace AICC treasurer Motilal Vora who is 87 years old and too frail to work. The names of Kanishka Singh and Ahmad Patel are doing the rounds. Patel has served as treasurer twice and is a Gandhi family loyalist. He knows all the top industrialists and can organise funds easily.