Not just a book release
Is Captain Amarinder Singh planning to leave the Congress? He has been hinting at forming his own party, fed up with Rahul Gandhi’s promotion of his bête-noir Pratap Bajwa over him. Those invited to the Captain’s book release in the capital last fortnight were interested to note that sitting prominently in the front seat was Manpreet Badal, the estranged Shiromani Akali Dal leader. In fact, Badal asked the first question wondering whether the Captain would call the 1965 war a victory or a draw for India. But the question that everyone else was asking is: will these two get together?
Team Rahul vs Team Sonia
However much they protest that the Congress president and vice president are on the same page, their supporters have divided themselves into two camps. And for all the talk of change, whereever Rahul Gandhi has tried to impose his people they have fallen short of the old guard — be it Ajay Maken in New Delhi, Partap Singh Bajwa in Punjab, Ashok Tanwar in Haryana, or his many attempts to replace Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. The only state where Rahul should have done a regime change but didn’t is Assam, where he let the more popular Himanta Biswa Sarma leave the party in disgust because he favoured Tarun Gogoi over him. While leaving, Sarma pointed out that while Sonia Gandhi wanted to promote him, it was Rahul who blocked his rise within the party. Clearly, the Congress VP needs to redo his team building strategy. The only exception to this being Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan, who is doing a much better job in reviving the Congress than the ex CM Ashok Gehlot.
Rules of Engagement
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar may be very proud of his hi-tech election campaign, where he has debuted on Facebook, asked the youth of his state to start a Wikipedia page where each writes about his/her village, and started a parche pe charcha on the lines of Narendra Modi’s chai pe charcha to discuss issues raised by him in a pamphlet; but it seems that BJP president Amit Shah is not too impressed with this Me-Too act. For, as Shah told an aide recently commenting on the JDU campaign, “This is like applying the rules of kabaddi to a game of kho-kho.” Oh dear!