Azad is useful for Congress
Ghulam Nabi Azad is being seen as the SOS man for the Congress. Though the party was nervous ahead of the Uttarakhand Assembly floor test, it was Azad who apparently “managed” the numbers for the party. Putting his skills at handling party affairs to full use, Azad worked overtime on the rebel Congress MLAs, who were not allowed by the Supreme Court to vote, ensuring a rapprochement between Harish Rawat and the rebel MLAs who wanted Rawat removed. Earlier, when DMK chief M. Karunanidhi refused to have an alliance with the Congress in Tamil Naidu and even refused to talk to AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik, it was Azad who was rushed to Chennai and settled the matter.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s recent tirade against her own police force and administration has made many feel that the firebrand leader is nervous ahead of the results of Assembly polls on 19 May. This time it’s unlike the popularity she enjoyed during the last elections, when she not only had the support of the police and administration, but even of the intellectuals and the rural masses. Her MPs are, however, putting up a brave face, apparently citing the example of the 1987 Assembly elections when the entire media had declared that Left Front would be defeated, yet it was the Left that formed government, even though the Opposition Congress’ vote share went up. So, despite what the media says, it is Didi who will form the government, they insist.
Birender gets in touch with RSS
Union Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, who until the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was the AICC general secretary in charge of Uttarakhand, has raised many eyebrows by paying frequent visits to the Delhi headquarters of the RSS. He has even been recruiting men with an RSS background for his personal staff. There is speculation that Chaudhary’s efforts are either with an eye to the much-awaited Cabinet reshuffle or to be the Chief Minister of Haryana. When Chaudhary quit the Congress, he was an aspirant for the Haryana CM’s job. After the Jat agitation and the “consolidation” of the Jats behind the Congress, Chaudhary hopes that the BJP views him in a positive light.