Prashant approached Varun for UP

BJP MP Varun Gandhi has been approached by several people to join the Congress ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, starting with poll strategist Prashant Kishor, three months ago. However, Varun has declined all offers. But he is supposed to have refused and say it’s better to wait until the UP elections in 2017.

Rahul team will be a mix of old, new

Rahul Gandhi may not take charge of the Congress before August. Sources close to Gandhi say that he is in a dilemma on whether to decide on his team first and then take over or first assume charge of the party and then shuffle his lieutenants. The nomination of P. Chidambaram to the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad’s assignment in Uttar Pradesh and a possible new lease of political life to Sheila Dikshit are clear signals that Rahul Gandhi’s new team will be a mix and match between veterans and young blood.

No iftaar for Cong

The Congress will not host any Iftaar party this year as Sonia Gandhi is going abroad for medical check-up. Before that Ashoka Hotel, where the Iftaar is held, does not have any slot free. There is also no news of Vice President Hamid Ansari hosting an Iftaar. The buzz is that Ansari is looking for another term.

AICC reshuffles rooms

The AICC headquarters in New Delhi are witnessing a reshuffle of sorts—not of posts, but of rooms. Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has been given the charge of Uttar Pradesh as general secretary, has chosen as his office Mukul Wasnik’s room in the front building. Wasnik has been shifted to B.K. Hari Prasad’s room in the back. Hari Prasad has reclaimed his old room from P.C. Chacko. Chacko goes to V. Narayanasamy’s room, since the latter is now Chief Minister of Puducherry. A jostling is going on for the front rooms, so much so that Kamalnath is yet to come to AICC to take charge of Haryana because he wants a front room. He was supposed to get Randeep Singh Surjewala’s room. But Surjewala, who was being relegated to Shakeel Ahmad’s room, has decided against shifting to an “inauspicious room”. Apparently, whoever sits in that room loses his post. Shakeel Ahmad, who was sacked as general secretary in charge of Delhi is said to be the latest victim of the room. Before him Birender Singh too had to leave after he was dropped. He left the party and joined the BJP.

Congress plans a new minority chief

Even before Congress witnesses an organisational reshuffle, the head of the minority department of AICC, Khurshid Ahmed is likely to be removed. Among his likely successors are Anees Durrani, Imran Kidwai, Meem Afzal and Shakeel uz-Zaman Ansari. Anees Durrani was secretary of the minority department. Imran Kidwai was the predecessor of Khurshid Ahmed. Meem Afzal is the party spokesperson and was also the president of minority department. Shakeel uz-Zaman Ansari was AICC secretary and is currently the member of the OBC Commission. Khurshid Ahmed was brought to the department by Madhusudan Mistry, when the latter was in charge of Uttar Pradesh as general secretary. Now that he has been removed, it is time for Khurshid to go.

Dushyant likes social causes

Dushyant Singh, BJP MP and son of Vasundhare Raje is in the middle of yet another controversy. When a well known industrialist keen to invest in Rajasthan met Dushyant Singh recently, he was asked to help certain social causes in lieu of his project approvals. He readily agreed to make out a generous donation to water conservation NGOs from his CSR fund. But he was told that the social cause would be decided by the state leadership. Shocked, he has written to the PMO and certain top leaders complaining of rampant socialising in the state.

Kalyan Singh wants to be VP

Hectic lobbying has already started for the post of Vice President, election for which will be held in August 2017. Among the aspirants are Najma Heptullah and Kalyan Singh. Singh is hoping that his OBC identity will help him get the post. With elections coming in UP, the BJP will not mind projecting Singh as Vice President.

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