Lobbying starts for CBI chief’s post
Fierce lobbying has started for the post of CBI director even before the present director, Anil Sinha, retires. Home Minister Rajnath Singh wants Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma to succeed Sinha, while his Cabinet colleague Nitin Gadkari is lobbying on behalf of Satish Mathur, the Maharashtra DGP. The Bihar lobby, which has been controlling the CBI for the last several years, does not have any intention of letting go and is trying to push through ITBP chief Krishna Chaudhary. Chaudhary is said to be Lalu Prasad Yadav’s man, however, BJP’s Sushil Modi, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, is also lobbying for him. Chaudhary has an advantage in that he is the senior most of the 1979 batch and traditionally the senior most person bags the top job in CBI. There are at least three aspirants from within the CBI as well for the post.
Amrish Tyagi sees BJP ahead in UP
JDU leader K.C. Tyagi’s son Amrish, who worked with the Donald Trump campaign in the United States, is working as an independent psephologist in Uttar Pradesh. According to his survey, the BJP is number one in the state, particularly after the surgical strikes. The Bahujan Samaj Party is number two, the Samjwadi Party number three, while the Congress is fourth. But if there is a Bihar like alliance between the BSP, Congress and Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal, that alliance will sweep the elections. If the tie-up is between the SP, Congress and RLD, then Mulayam Singh Yadav will win. In western UP, the fight is between the BSP and the BJP, while in central UP the fight is between SP and BJP. In eastern UP, it’s BJP all the way. Tyagi says that unless the Congress ties up with either the BSP or the SP, it does not have any chances. The Congress has failed to counter the BJP, with the upper castes totally polarised in the favour of the latter, especially after the surgical strikes and Prime Minister’s Jai Shri Ram slogan at Lucknow’s Dussehra rally. Modi is the only PM who has raised the Jai Shri Ram slogan. Even Atal Behari Vajpayee did not do so.
Congress finds some solace in UP
Mayawati’s loss is Congress’ gain. BSP’s two grassroots leaders have joined the Congress—Brijlal Khabri and Dhruv Ram. Khabri belongs to Mayawati’s Jatav caste. Dhruv Ram is an OBC of the Lodh community, to which both Uma Bharati and Kalyan Singh belong. The Lodhs are dominant in the Bundelkhand region, where the Congress is not very strong. The Lodhs have been traditionally supporting the Bahujan Samaj Party. That these two leaders chose them and not the BJP, has given some hope to the Congress.
‘Uttarakahnd wants Upadhyaya’
A delegation of Congress workers from Uttarakhand’s Sahaspur, led by Shaheen Bano, met Ambika Soni, the AICC general secretary in charge of the state, recently. They wanted the Sahaspur ticket to be given to Upadhyaya for the Assembly elections next year. They said that Upadhyaya would surely win the seat, such was his clout. Infighting in the Uttarakhand unit of the Congress has ensured the sidelining of Upadhyaya, although he is one of the last prominent Brahmin faces of the Congress in Uttarakhand. Chief Minister Harish Rawat made an Independent MLA, Dinesh Dhanai a minister in his Cabinet, for supporting his government, overlooking Upadhyaya’s claim. Rawat also did not nominate Upadhyaya for the Rajya Sabha. The talk is that Upadhyaya will be the CM if he gets the ticket and wins, and in case the Congress returns to power in the state. Soni has told the delegation that she would pass on the message to the high command.
Priyanka may campaign from 19 November
Priyanka Vadra is likely to start campaigning in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections from 19 November, the birthday of her grandmother, the late Indira Gandhi. She will start campaigning from her mother’s Rae Bareli constituency, which was Indira Gandhi’s Lok Sabha seat as well. Priyanka is expected to do a road show similar to her brother Rahul’s. Priyanka may even contest the parliamentary elections from Rai Bareli. She is the Congress’ last trump card. But what if she also fails?
Congress committing suicide in Jharkhand
The Congress in Jharkhand is on a suicide path. The constitution of the new state committee by AICC general secretary Hari Prasad and Pradesh Congress Committee president Sukhdev Bhagat has intensified the infighting in the state. Soon after the new committee was announced, Sukhdev Bhagat expelled the state party spokesperson and PCC general secretary Ajay Rai for six years, without even giving him a show cause notice. The new committee is dominated by father-son units: While Alam Alamgir has been made the vice president, his son Taqdeer Alam has been made secretary; similarly, ex MP Tilakdhari Singh has been made vice president, while his son Dhananjay Singh has been made secretary. Subodh Kant Sahay, who was a Cabinet minister in the Manmohan Singh government, has not been included in the committee. Congress workers are alleging that it was Hari Prasad who was in charge of Chhattisgarh when Ajit Jogi quit the party. Congress has nearly ceased to exist in Chhattisgarh since then. They say now it is the turn of Jharkhand.