Questions about Mungantiwar’s farmhouse
Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar gifted a 17-acre farmhouse worth Rs 50 crore, in Chandrapur district, to his wife. The farmhouse is believed to have been built by violating all rules and regulations. It is being alleged that Mungantiwar did not mention the farmhouse in his affidavit submitted to the Election Commission declaring his wealth. His explanation about not mentioning it in the affidavit is that the farmhouse belongs to his father. But his opponents claim that his father’s yearly tax return is only Rs 1 lakh. A complaint has been lodged with the Election Commission on this.
‘Najma will be Governor’
Najma Heptullah was a happy woman when her name did not figure on the 5 July list of ministers being dropped. She revealed to her confidants that she had several plans for minority development. But her happiness did not last long. This week, after she returned from Chicago, she had to resign. BJP sources say that she is now all set to become a Governor, or may get some other important post.
Congress eyeing alliance with Maya
Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh is negotiating with Mayawati for either a covert alliance with seat adjustments in over 100 seats, or an overt alliance, with Congress fighting 170 seats and leaving the rest of UP’s 403 seats to its partners. The Congress is also talking to Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal, to the Apna Dal minus Anupriya Patel and the Peace Party. The alliance talk has been initiated at Priyanka Vadra’s behest. Priyanka herself was under pressure from her supporters to head the campaign committee, but she was reluctant and chose Sanjay Singh instead. She is also under pressure from the UP leadership to contest the elections, to give some credibility to the Congress’ campaign.
Mamata attended Chief Min meeting
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attended the Inter State Council meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. This was the first time that she attended a CMs’ meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Earlier she would send Amit Mitra to meet the PM. Now that she has decided to support the GST and other crucial bills, all this is being seen as an indication that she has softened her stance on the PM.
Babbar was Rahul, Priyanka’s choice
Both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra wanted Raj Babbar as the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president. Although a Rajya Sabha member from Uttarakhand, Babbar, a Punjabi, has been acceptable to all castes.
However, Babbar will be used just as a front, while the strings will be pulled from behind by Delhi. The other choice, Sanjay Singh, was instead offered the post of the chairman of the campaign committee.
He initially refused to accept the post, but relented after Priyanka talked to him.
Kidwai argued Sheila’s case
Both Sheila Dikshit and Sanjay Singh should give credit to UP leader Mohsina Kidwai for becoming the CM face of the party in Uttar Pradesh and for being given charge of the campaign committee, respectively. Kidwai told Sonia Gandhi that unless the Congress had a Brahmin face, it could not defeat the BJP. Kidwai argued that Dikshit had ruled Delhi for 15 years and was the daughter in law of a veteran Congress leader from UP, Uma Shankar Dikshit, a Kanyakubj Brahmin, and being a name herself would get the Brahmins to the Congress fold. The Brahmins have always been the Congress’ vote bank, but are homeless. As for Sanjay Singh, Kidwai argued that a Rajput must be given charge of the campaign committee, as that way he can counter BJP’s Rajnath Singh, another Rajput. She argued that to fight the BJP, the Congress needs a Brahmin and a Rajput, while the Muslims will come automatically.
Khatri wanted to resign last month
Nirmal Khatri, who was UPCC president before Raj Babbar, has not been keeping good health and has been in Delhi for the last few days. He wanted to meet Rahul Gandhi, but when he failed, he went and gave his resignation to Sonia Gandhi. The Congress president is supposed to have asked him to hang on until his successor was decided. In fact, Khatri had offered to resign on 22 June when he was pulled up for not turning up to meet Ghulam Nabi Azad in Lucknow. However the high command has tried to keep Khatri in good humour by appointing him chairman of the screening committee. The Congress leadership has tried to maintain a balance of castes by appointing four vice presidents. One is a Dalit, the other a Brahmin, the third an OBC, and the fourth a Muslim.