Vaiko apologises to Karunanidhi
With elections round the corner in Tamil Nadu, political parties are hunting for new allies. Recently, DMK leader M. Karunanidhi trumped MDMK leader Vaiko by securing the loyalties of eight MLAs of Vijayakanth’s DMDK, which had just joined the Vaiko-led Left alliance. Enraged at this political coup, Vaiko held a press conference, where he used unsavoury words against the former CM and his family. He later apologised, though. Meanwhile, former Union minister G.K. Vasan is at his wit’s end in the game of alliances. His hope for an offer from the DMK ended after the principal opposition party tied up with Congress, which he had left in disgust.
A pleasant ‘conversion’
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu held a reception for his secretary Afzal Amanullah’s son, who has married a Hindu Bengali girl from Kolkata. This reception, attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, made people wonder if the bride had converted to Islam or if it was the groom who embraced Hinduism. Notably, this is the first time that any BJP leader has thrown a party for a Muslim bureaucrat.
Digvijaya may replace Mohan Prakash
Digvijaya may replace Mohan Prakash
AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh is set to replace Mohan Prakash, party general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra, as complaints are piling up against Prakash, until now a favourite of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Prakash, an “outsider” in the party, was in charge of Madhya Pradesh, J&K and Maharashtra, but the Congress lost in all the three states, both in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the Assembly elections. Prakash infuriated the leadership further when he allegedly told PCC leaders of Maharashtra that they should bring Muslims with skull caps and Dalits in torn clothes for Sonia and Rahul Gandhi’s joint rally in Nagpur on 11 April. The rally is set to wind up Congress’ year-long celebrations to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar. Now the buzz is that Digvijaya Singh, and not Prakash, will monitor the entire show in Nagpur.
Former Congress leaders not happy
Former Congress leaders Jagdambika Pal, Avtar Singh Bhadana, Satpal Maharaj and Dharamveer Chaudhary, who had switched over to the BJP, are feeling suffocated as the promised Cabinet berths remain elusive. Satpal’s wife was one of the Congress MLAs who had rebelled against Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat, hoping her husband would replace him. But the plan fell through. Pal, who belongs to UP, and Bhadana, who is from Haryana, are impatient as the BJP is not expected to do well in their native states.
Mohsina Kidwai sidelined in Cong
Mohsina Kidwai, CWC member and Rajya Sabha member from Chhattisgarh, is set to be replaced by Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza in the Upper House. Shobha Oza has practically no base even in her own state Madhya Pradesh but she enjoys Rahul’s support. Mohsina, on the other hand, is one of the most respected leaders of UP where elections are due next year. But the Congress is snubbing her. Despite Mohsina getting invitations from 27 districts in Assam, the high command has not sent her to campaign in the state.
Nitish works on ‘national agenda’
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is working on his national agenda and efforts are underway to merge Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal and the JDU. Nitish wants to be the president of the “bolstered” JDU, but it may not be easy for him as Sharad Yadav, the incumbent president of the party, is known to be a political mastermind. Some noise and drama are expected before Sharad Yadav leaves his turf.