Political Secretary to Rahul Gandhi?

Now that Rahul Gandhi is about to take over as Congress president, there is much speculation as to who he will appoint as his political secretary. Currently, Kanishka Singh functions as his de facto political aide (rumours about Kaniskha’s ouster are incorrect), but if Rahul wants to send the right signals to the party, he will choose someone from within the organisation. According to the buzz, Rahul is planning to have not one, but a couple of pointsmen. The names doing the rounds include Ajay Maken and K. Raju (the latter is better known for his jupiter velocity theory, which had earlier impressed Rahul). There is also talk of Rahul setting up a panel of three vice presidents from the Old Guard to advise him. This will comprise Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot and Meira Kumar. (Doesn’t this remind one of Sitaram Kesri’s team of trusted advisors who included Azad, Ahmed Patel, Tariq Anwar and Meira Kumar, provoking party honchos to refer to this as Teen Miya Aur Ek Meira—three Muslim faces and one Meira Kumar?) Of course, Rahul can always continue with his mother’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, but considering the fact that he has been complaining that he never got to his way during his mother’s regime, it is unlikely that Rahul will continue with his mother’s team. Watch this space for more.

NCP, Cong and the CBI

Is there any link between CBI training its lens on lobbyist Deepak Talwar for allegedly using his influence within the UPA’s Ministry for Civil Aviation to amend bilaterals and the fact that Gujarat elections are round the corner? Don’t forget the Civil Aviation Minister at the time was NCP’s Praful Patel and the BJP is keen to prevent an alliance between the Congress and the NCP. (There is some confusion as to whether the NCP voted for the BJP or the Congress candidate during Ahmed Patel’s Rajya Sabha election a few months ago.) If that’s the case, then the move may have boomeranged, because NCP leader Sharad Pawar was recently heard singling Rahul Gandhi out for praise, stating that “the PM is scared of Rahul’s image makeover”. This is the same Pawar who not long ago was expressing doubts about Rahul’s leadership skills.

Caste-ing Couch

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee recently released a list of its media panellists, which is all very well. But what is bizarre is that the list had the caste of the spokesmen listed along with their contact numbers. For the record, the list of 24 had 11 Jat Sikhs, 4 SCs, 3 OBC, 5 Hindus and one Urban Sikh. The last entry being one Bhagwant Pal Singh Sachhar. Can’t get more bizarre than this, for one thought articulation and perspective were important criteria and not caste composition. Then again, one lives and learns.

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