Will Sidhu float own party?
Navjot Singh Sidhu, who resigned as BJP’s Rajya Sabha member, is unlikely to join any party immediately. He is waiting for his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu to complete her term as BJP MLA. Navjot Kaur cannot resign now as she will be disqualified and a byelection will be held for her seat. She wants the election to her seat to be held when the rest of Punjab has its elections. Sidhu, anyway, is not being able to decide what he should do. He has had many rounds of talks with both Arvind Kejriwal and Congress’ Amarinder Singh. Singh offered him the chairmanship of the Congress’ campaign committee, but Manpreet Badal started asserting himself to dissuade Sidhu. Kejriwal too offered Sidhu the post of the chairman of the campaign committee, which the latter has not accepted. Sources close to Sidhu say that he is even toying with the idea of floating his own party.
Salman Khurshid sidelined
Why isn’t Salman Khurshid being seen in Uttar Pradesh? He is not part of any Congress committees in the poll-bound state, even though he is his party’s most prominent Muslim face from UP. However, his co-religionists have never accepted him as their representative. Once when he was made UPCC chief, they raised the slogan, “Hamne maanga tha Musalman, de diya Salman (We wanted a Muslim, they gave us Salman).” At the time, several complaints were lodged, particularly against his wife Louis for refusing to do any work. Now that Khurshid is no longer MP, he has stopped taking any interest in party affairs. He will not get a ticket to contest from his home turf Farrukhabad, where he does not have any base. There is speculation that he is looking for other options, perhaps with Mayawati’s BSP.
‘Rahul dejected, not Asleep’
Was Rahul Gandhi sleeping in Parliament, or was he feeling forlorn? He was supposed to open the Opposition’s Kashmir debate in Parliament. But the BJP changed its plan and instead of fielding a senior like Rajnath Singh, fielded the much junior Anurag Thakur to speak on the issue. The Congress could not possibly field Rahul against Thakur, and so opted for Jyotiraditya Scindia. Apparently it was this that upset Rahul.
Hard times for Mistry, Prakash
The AICC reshuffle may take time to take place, but many important general secretaries who are likely to be stripped of their titles have stopped coming to their offices, including Rahul Gandhi’s former favourites Madhusudan Mistry and Mohan Prakash. Prakash has been seeking time to meet Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, but in vain. He tried and failed to grab a moment from the Congress president at Nanded in Maharashtra, where she had gone. That Mistry has fallen out of favour became clear when he was stripped of his UP charge as general secretary. Ambikai Soni too has stopped coming to the AICC and seems to be on her way out.
Didi in a Rajani confusion
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was in New Delhi, was sitting in the Trinamool Congress’ Parliament office and enjoying the singing of her party MP Arpita Ghosh. Ghosh was singing the songs composed by the early 20th century Bengali poet and composer, Rajanikanta Sen, when BJP’s newly appointed minister, S.S. Ahluwalia walked in. Banerjee welcomed him with the words, “Come come, enjoy Rajanikanta’s music.” Ahluwalia replied that if he had known that the CM liked Rajinikanth, he would have got Kabali (songs of Kabali). The CM replied that she did not want to hear any qawwali because she was listening to Rajanikanta Sen’s music. Ahluwalia realised his mistake. He then stayed back to hear Arpita singing R.D. Burman’s Meri bheegi bheegi si. In fact, Ahluwalia, who knows Bengali, sang the Bengali version of Meri bheegi bheegi si — Mone pore Ruby Roy.
When Mamata meets Sumitra
When West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee came to meet Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in Parliament on Tuesday, guess what the two ladies discussed for the first few minutes. Saris. They appreciated each other’s saris before engaging in other issues related to Parliament. Both leaders have a fondness for white-based saris.
Venkaiah talked on CAMPA
Ananth Kumar may be now Parliamentary Affairs Minister, but his predecessor Venkaiah Naidu continues to negotiate with the Opposition on bills. Although Kumar is a six-time MP, he is yet to develop a personal rapport with many Opposition leaders in the Rajya Sabha. Whereas Naidu was managing the RS for the last two years. Recently, Naidu spoke to Opposition parties on the Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) bill, which was stuck in the Upper House.
Westinghouse coming to AP
Andhra Pradesh under Chandrababu Naidu is emerging as a promised land for investment. Nuclear power giant Westinghouse will set up office in Andhra Pradesh next year. Once the proposed nuclear power stations come up in AP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment of power for all will receive a further boost.