Yechury may go for friendly fight with Congress
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has told a TV channel that he will have to resign if he deviates from the party line and strikes an alliance with the Congress in West Bengal. According to Sita, as he is popularly known among his friends and journalists, his predecessor Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat, who are his Politburo colleagues, have told him that if he deviates from the party line of maintaining equidistance from the BJP and Congress, he will have to give up his post of General Secretary. The Kerala unit, too, is unhappy that the Bengal unit is putting pressure on the party to strike an alliance with Congress to counter the ruling Trinamool Congress. So CPM may now go for a tactical alliance with the Congress in Bengal, or a friendly fight. The CPM is also planning to work towards an alliance with Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav and Sharad Pawar. All these parties have agreed to be part of it in principle, but the sharing of seats is yet to be finalised.
Rajnath meets an old Congress friend
It was not surprising to see Home Minister Rajnath Singh at Congress leader Harikesh Bahadur’s daughter’s wedding, as he has the best of relations with all Rajputs cutting across party lines. Harikesh Bahadur is a Thakur from Uttar Pradesh. Also present at the wedding was Mani Shankar Pandey, a Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh. When the Home Minister, who was sitting in the VIP lounge, spotted Pandey, he sent his security guard to call him. Rajnath hugged his old friend from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) days and supposedly “offered” him the Chandauli Lok Sabha seat to fight from in the next elections. Mani Shankar Pandey, Rajnath Singh and Harikesh Bahadur were contemporaries and friends in BHU.
Rahul tries to mobilise Dalit votes in Maha
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, keen on attracting Dalit votes, wants Prakash Ambedkar, B.R. Ambedkar’s grandson and president of Republican Party of India (Ambedkar), to merge his party with the Congress and become its Dalit face in Maharashtra. When Ambedkar was in Delhi this week to join a protest march, he met Rahul, who too was participating in the march. The two also had a meeting on the sidelines of the march. Rahul apparently offered Ambedkar a Rajya Sabha seat in lieu of his support in Maharashtra. The talks being at a preliminary stage, the two leaders are expected to meet again.
Bukhari wants to cut a deal with Samajwadis in U.P.
Delhi Jama Masjid’s “Shahi” Imam Ahmad Bukhari had a “secret” meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav alone, and followed it up with another meeting two days later. This time his sons-in-law accompanied him. He made a slew of demands, and in return, he promised that he would ensure that the Muslim community supported the Samajwadi Party in the UP elections next year. Ahmad Bukhari wanted a ministerial post for his son-in-law, Umar Ali Khan, who is a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) in UP. He wanted an MLC seat for his second son-in-law. He also wanted his follower Waseem Ahmed, who was removed from the chairmanship of the UP Pollution Control Board, to be reinstated. The CM told Ahmad Bukhari that he would get back to him after discussing the demands with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav. However, this has riled Azam Khan, the Samajwadi Party’s “own Muslim face”, who has called Ahmad Bukhari a “political bargainer”. Before the last Lok Sabha elections, Ahmad Bukhari had invited a lot of criticism after he tried to strike a deal with Sonia Gandhi in lieu of Muslim support.
U.P. BJP cadre wants Varun as CM face
Two recent reports given to BJP president Amit Shah by Sunil Bansal, the party’s organising secretary in Uttar Pradesh, may help shape the BJP’s poll strategy in the state.
In one report, party workers from over 50 districts of the state have expressed preferences for their candidates, but have also wanted to know whether the BJP would project a Chief Ministerial face.
The other report was from RSS workers at the district level. In both reports, Varun Gandhi seems to be the “overwhelming favourite” of the cadre as the CM face. Amit Shah has reportedly asked Bansal whether the findings of the reports were accurate.
J&K watching Union budget
After BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav met PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, the uncertainty over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir seems to be finally coming to an end. Now all eyes are on the Union Budget and both the BJP and PDP are expecting that there will be something in the budget for both Kashmir Valley and Jammu. If the budget “package” is only for the Valley, it would not help the BJP whose base is in Jammu.