Despite Rahul Gandhi’s resurgence, he still has to convince Congress workers of his ability to deliver. In Lucknow, recently, local Congress workers held a yagna amidst slogans of “Desh mein Rahul, pradesh mein Priyanka”. But is Priyanka ready to play such a regional but mammoth role of delivering Uttar Pradesh for the party? Sources within the party indicate that for now, she is sticking to her decision of staying out of politics. So the yagnas and slogans will have to wait.
PRASHANT KISHOR IMPACT?
The Congress has announced candidates for its two Rajya Sabha seats from Punjab falling vacant on 21 March. These currently belong to M.S. Gill and Ashwani Kumar. While it was always doubtful that Gill would be renominated, Ashwani Kumar, a Manmohan Singh protege was lobbying for another term. As was another lawyer, Kapil Sibal, who has been handling the Gandhis’ defence in the National Herald case. But neither has got the seat. One candidate is Partap Singh Bajwa, the former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, who has been replaced by the flamboyant Captain Amarinder Singh. The RS nomination is Bajwa’s compensation package. The other nominee for Rajya Sabha is a Dalit face, Shamsher Singh Dullo. Initially, the Congress had finalised on Hans Raj Hans, a Punjabi singer, who joined the party from the Akali Dal recently, and was being pushed by Amarinder Singh’s camp. But Dullo, it is said, is Kishor’s candidate to woo the Dalit vote. And Rahul is clearly listening to Kishor.
MIND THE (GENDER) GAP
The debate on Women’s Day in Parliament saw some interesting factoids come to light including the fact that so far only 12% of MPs in the Lok Sabha are women. What is even more startling is that only four women have been included in various standing committees. BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi argued for a greater role for women MPs by including them in standing committees. Moreover, across the board there is a feeling amongst the women MPs that instead of accommodating them in stereotypical women and child, social welfare sectors they should also be included in committees for finance, home and defence. Are the men listening?