YECHURY’S CHARM OFFENSIVE
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury earned a lot of flak for his Hurriyat outreach during the all party delegation meet in Srinagar last weekend, with one member of the delegation even referring to him as the amicus curiae of the separatists. Both the BJP and the Congress distanced themselves from the initiative, with Rajnath Singh saying he knew about it but that’s about all. The Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad said all he knew was that some people left the meeting midway, went out somewhere and then came back. Regardless, Yechury told NewsX that he went even though the intelligence agencies had warned him that Syed Ali Shah Geelani would not meet him. He went because he wanted to let the people of Kashmir know that while they were willing to engage, the separatists were not. An interesting tit-bit of his meeting with detained separatist Yasin Malik is that when Yechury called on him, he knew from earlier meetings that Malik and he shared the same brand of cigarettes, Charms, and so used cigarette diplomacy as part of his outreach.
WHO IS IN CHARGE?
The one-year extension given to Sonia Gandhi as Congress president expired on 9 September this year, but the party seems in no hurry to hold its organisational polls. All talk of a Rahul elevation seems to have been put in the backburner — earlier there was talk of him becoming either working president or president mid September, but now there is complete silence. Sonia has not made an appearance since her illness during the Varanasi road show, Rahul is being deployed in Uttar Pradesh, while there is no sign of Priyanka. Party sources say that she will be deployed only during the last month and that too only if Congress shows some signs of revival. Otherwise why waste her? So, to be fair to Rahul, he is the only Gandhi-boot on the ground at the moment, elevation or no elevation.
When his bête-noir Jagmeet Brar joined the AAP in Punjab recently, Captain Amarinder Singh had only one thing to say: “My sympathies are with AAP.”
HEARD AT CONGRESS OFFICE
Is it Khaat Pe Charcha or Khaat Pe Kharcha for the Congress? After all the farmers made off with the cots at Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Deoria.