RTI activists are upset with Aruna Roy, at whose behest many of whom refused to attend the recent 10th anniversary function of the RTI Act 2005. The function was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Vigyan Bhawan. Aruna Roy’s confidant Nikhil Dey and some others, while not attending the PM’s speech, attended all the other sessions and even presided over them. As for why Aruna Roy did not attend the function, her supporters say that she does not attend government functions, especially since information was being denied by the present government.But it is well-known that Roy, who is one of the movers behind RTI, is close to Sonia Gandhi and was a prominent member of the Congress president’s powerful National Advisory Council. In fact, Rita Sharma, the wife of the current Chief Information Commissioner Vijai Sharma, was also with Sonia Gandhi’s NAC as secretary. RTI activists allege that the Information Commission is getting into the habit of denying information and is losing its autonomy and is coming under “government control”. They allege that many of them were deliberately not invited to the CIC event, giving a chance to Roy to give a call for boycotting the PM’s inaugural session. RTI activists who did not have invitation for the other sessions were not helped by Roy’s team, which attended the sessions prominently.
Bihar PCC chief under attack
Allegations of anti-party activities are flying thick and fast against Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ashok Choudhury. Choudhury had reportedly summoned one Sanjay Tiwari alias Munna Tiwari, from Jharkhand and given him a ticket in Bihar. Tiwari is alleged to be involved in unsavoury activities. Choudhury is also under attack for giving a ticket to Siddharth, an alleged criminal from Bikram, an Assembly constituency in Paliganj subdivision of Patna. Choudhury also made Congress president Sonia Gandhi address a rally in Buxar, but failed to organise a crowd. Hardly 1,200 people attended the rally.
Fotedar may go public on Rahul
The buzz in the Congress is that Makhan Lal Fotedar, Indira Gandhi’s political advisor, will publicly make the demand to remove Rahul and bring Priyanka at the launch of his book The Chinar Leaves on 30 October. He claims that Indira wanted Priyanka to take charge of the Congress, and not Rahul. Fotedar is among the unhappy Congress veterans who were not rewarded by Sonia and Rahul for their services.
Lobbying on for Karnataka PCC chief post
Hectic lobbying has begun for the post of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president as the incumbent, G. Parameshwar is likely to be made a minister in an expected Cabinet reshuffle.
Rahul Gandhi is said to be backing Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao for the post. However, former Union minister S.M. Krishna has emerged from hibernation to back Shiva Kumar, who is allegedly the “most arrogant minister in the state”. S.R. Patil, Minister for IT and Science and Technology is the frontrunner and is being backed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The fight now seems to be among Rahul Gandhi, Siddaramaiah and Krishna.
Manjhi threat worked
It was not the media uproar that made Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd) V.K. Singh recant his “don’t blame the Centre if a dog is stoned” comment about the burning of a Dalit family in Faridabad. It was actually BJP ally and Mahadalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi’s threat to walk out of the alliance that worked.
Congress silenton Dalit incident in Uttar Pradesh
The alleged parading of Dalit women naked by the upper castes of Dankaur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddha Nagar district, has completely escaped the attention of political parties that have been crying hoarse over the Faridabad Dalit-burning incident. K. Raju, a Dalit from Andhra Pradesh and a rising star in the Congress because of his proximity to Rahul Gandhi, has not uttered a word on the matter despite being the head of the Congress’ Department for Scheduled Castes. The chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, P.L. Punia, a custodian of the Dalit cause in the Congress, neither sent a team nor visited the place himself. However, Punia, a serious contender for the UPCC chief’s post, was on every channel attacking Haryana’s BJP government over the Faridabad incident. Congress leaders are wondering whether Punia has struck a deal with Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was instrumental in getting him a Rajya Sabha seat from the Congress.
Roy wants to be in WB
The buzz is that Tathagata Roy wants to quit the Governor’s post in Tripura and take charge as BJP president in West Bengal. Does Roy see a bright prospect for the BJP in the 2016 West Bengal Assembly polls? Or is it that old guard in the Bengal unit of the BJP is worried about the central BJP taking control of their fiefdom?