THE POWER OF THREE
Despite the demonetisation jolt, the BJP is still very upbeat about the next general elections, for they feel that the Congress has not yet got its act together. In fact, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav still begins every pep talk with the assurance that the BJP is so confident of winning 2019 that it doesn’t talk of Mission 2019, but instead of Mission 2022. And the reason for that is solely due to three people, Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and then he pauses for dramatic effect—while the audience wonders whether the third name would be that of Arun Jaitley or Rajnath Singh—adding with a flourish, the third is Rahul Gandhi. The BJP clearly is convinced that as long as Rahul Gandhi is at the helm of the Congress, 2019 will be a walkover.
RAHUL’S TIME TABLE
Much is being made of the fact that Rahul Gandhi was missing from Lalu Yadav’s rally in Patna on 27 August. He instead was visiting Norway as part of a parliamentary delegation. And now we are told that the Congress vice president will also visit the United States mid-September to address students at the University of California, Berkeley. This will be around the time when there was speculation of a Congress organisational reshuffle, upgrading him to party president. But it has been learnt that this move has been put on hold due to pressure from the allies, who have made it clear that they will not contest the next Lok Sabha elections in alliance with a Congress headed by Rahul. But for how long can Congress keep such an important decision on the ice?
Some went with a smile, some with a sulk, and others played coy. Rajiv Pratap Rudy was one of the first to go public with his resignation, candidly meeting the media and talking about being ready for whatever the party has in store for him. Sources claim that he could be drafted for organisational work as general secretary along with Nirmala Sitharaman. Others like Bandaru Dattatreya apparently left in a huff for Hyderabad after tendering his resignation on Friday evening before the reshuffle. And even as the media speculated about her resignation, Uma Bharti played it coy telling the media, “joh sawaal apne kiya nahin, uska jawab maine diya nahin
(I have not answered the question you have not asked me)”. But this was followed by a resignation soon after.