There is once again talk of a Cabinet reshuffle before the Budget session of Parliament mid February. There is also talk that Piyush Goyal may replace Arun Jaitley in Finance, who, in turn, will move to Defence. But, according to a highly placed source, all the Raisina rumours are wrong. Apparently, the reshuffle, when it happens, will probably happen post the Budget session. And second, there is going to be no change in the Big Four — Finance, Defence, Home and External Affairs. However, Piyush Goyal and Nitin Gadkari are both tipped to get more heft in their portfolios.
START-UP THAT DID NOT START UP
The Congress is up in arms after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s big Start-Up blitzkrieg earlier this week. It claims that most of the current start-ups that are flourishing today, such as Flipkart, started under UPA, and the Start-Up India precedes Modi’s stint as Prime Minister. This view was gaining some traction until BJP spokespersons led by Sambit Patra changed the tone of the debate by referring to Rahul Gandhi as the Congress’ biggest start-up that failed to take off. Others jumped onto this bandwagon, questioning why despite so many angel investors — Sam Pitroda, Suman Dubey, Digvijaya Singh — Brand Rahul is failing to make the right impact. Oh dear, guess there is a point about glib one-liners hijacking serious issues.
AN AAM PROBLEM
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has managed to rattle both the national parties. While his war with the Central government over the CBI raid at his offices is not going down well with the BJP, the Congress is worried that AAP might steal Punjab from them next year. (Until a while ago the Congress was counting Punjab as somewhat of a sure win under the flamboyant Captain Amarinder Singh.) But after Kejriwal’s successful Muktsar rally post Lohri, the Congress is a tad worried as was obvious by Congressmen Jagmeet Brar’s tweet that never before had Muktsar seen such a large and responsive crowd. As a result, the Congress has rushed to election strategist Prashant Kishor. But Kishor is asking a price that may be too high for the Congress coffers. Negotiations are still on. But, if — and arguably it’s a huge if — Kejriwal’s party wins Punjab, then it would be the only regional party that is in power in two states. And that is a genuine cause of concern to the two national parties