THE RAHUL SPIN
It was interesting to see a slate of stories predicting Rahul Gandhi’s imminent elevation as the Congress president. This was a bit curious because the day the stories broke, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was in Rae Bareli where she made it a point to interact with the media, take on the PM by calling him a “Shehanshah” and also defended her son-in-law Robert Vadra. Certainly not the role of someone about to step down from her office. According to Congress sources, the Rahul-elevation story was planted by a senior Congressman close to the vice-president to deflect rumours and headlines that were going against the family: such as the fact that the Congress had lost faith in Rahul’s leadership after the recent Assembly debacles as well as stories about Vadra’s link with an arms dealer. Once the narrative was successfully changed, and after letting the story play out for 48 hours, another senior Congress functionary called up journalists and chided them for jumping the gun on the story. In fact, there are sources who say that the elevation may not even take place in September as seems to be the plan, but may be delayed to 2017-18, on the eve of the next general elections. For, as the source points out, with UP polls round the corner — where the party is expected to be defeated — what is the point in elevating Rahul just yet? If only they’d stop spinning and start delivering.
PRIYANKA OR DIKSHIT FOR UP?
It seems Prashant Kishor has not given up on his task of getting Priyanka to handle Uttar Pradesh. Sources say that he has even presented her with a schedule of logistics claiming that he would need her to campaign for only six hours a day. But anyone knowing realpolitik knows that this would barely cover the high intensive campaign that is needed for a state like Uttar Pradesh. Morever, Congress sources say that despite her misgivings and the rather short time period, Shiela Dikshit may still be persuaded to be projected as the party’s CM face because she at least has her track record in Delhi to market. Either way, Kishor should be happy because both the names seem to be his suggestions.
AND HE’s BACK
In an exclusive to NewsX, born-again Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh spoke quite candidly about his high and mighty friends. Speaking about his break-up with Anil Ambani, he recalled how the junior Ambani would fly to Delhi to have dinner with him every Wednesday at the Ambassador hotel, but when Amar Singh fell out of favour, he discontinued the practice without even a phone call. After waiting for him, Amar Singh confronted him at the airport where Ambani was about to take off from Delhi and as he says: ‘I was given not even a subtle but a direct hint and I took it. But from his comments, it seems that he has patched up with not just Mulayam Singh Yadav, but also with Subrata Roy of Sahara group. As for Anil’s older brother, well Amar Singh revealed that he did apologise to Mukesh Ambani for siding with Anil during the infamous battle between the brothers. Clearly, he’s busy mending fences in his comeback yatra.
Annu Tandon, the ex-Congress MP from Unnao (Uttar Pradesh), is said to have been helping out strategist Prashant Kishor’s team with logisitics. As is well known, Tandon is also close to Reliance honcho Mukesh Ambani. So, is the Older Brother hedging his bets with the Congress once again? Watch this space for more.