Rahul is the ‘boss’
Sonia Gandhi’s dream has been realised. Rahul Gandhi is finally the Congress boss. On Wednesday, Rahul, who is yet to be declared Congress president, convened an unofficial AICC meeting to hold the Jan Vedna Sammelan, to highlight common people’s post demonetisation woes. This is being seen as the final takeover of the party by the Gandhi scion. The Congress president was absent from the function. But she and daughter Priyanka visited him the day before the convention, which is being seen as a message that it’s Rahul who is now the boss. The Congress leadership is also excited over Rahul’s direct attack on Narendra Modi. They think that the more Rahul attacks the Prime Minister the latter’s image will take a beating and the Congress will come to power without doing anything on the ground. The Congress leadership is banking on the negativity surrounding the BJP and PM Modi.
Congress hopes for 100 seats
The Congress has asked Akhilesh Yadav for 100 seats in Uttar Pradesh and is willing to settle for 80 seats, if the alliance materialises. Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi are believed to have already met over dinner. Rahul is supposed to have met even Ajit Singh.
‘Mulayam is unwell’
There are whispers in the Samajwadi Party over Mulayam Singh Yadav’s lapses in memory. However, Mulayam denies this and has accused cousin Ram Gopal Yadav of spreading rumours. Recently, Mulayam apparently forgot to wear his hearing aid, after which he had a tough time understanding the proceedings of a meeting conducted at his hometown Saifai. Since then his failing health and fading memory have been the talk of town. In fact, there is talk in Delhi that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, as a result of which he sometimes fails to recognise people. In such a situation he is susceptible to all sorts of influence.
Hard times for Adhir
Adhir Choudhury, president of the West Bengal unit of the Congress, who is most vocal against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is in for a tough time. Now that the Congress has decided to join hands with Mamata Banerjee in attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the situation on the ground in the state will have to change. The Congress had tied up with the Left to counter Mamata in the 2016 Assembly elections in West Bengal.
NDA divided on Nitish’s human chain
The NDA in Bihar is divided over supporting Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s human chain in favour of liquor ban in the state. A record one and a half crore people are expected to participate in the programme. The BJP, which is trying to woo Nitish Kumar, has decided to participate in the human chain. However, three NDA leaders, Ram Vilas Paswan, Jitan Manjhi and Upendra Kushwaha, who have been protesting the liquor ban, have refused to hold hands with Nitish and company. They may even demonstrate against the ban on that day.
Sanjay Paswan for SC Commission?
Sanjay Paswan, who was Minister of State in HRD, IT and Social Justice in the NDA 1 government headed by Atal Behari Vajpayee, is trying to get the post of chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. The post was vacated in December 2016, after Congress’ P.L. Punia completed his term. Paswan could not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Nawada in Bihar as the seat went to the General Category after delimitation. The BJP may use Paswan’s services since he is a doctorate and has the RSS’ blessings. Moreover, the BJP does not have any senior Dalit leaders who can lay claim to the post.
No Urdu for NEET
The NDA government has removed Urdu from the languages in which students can write their medical entrance examination, NEET. In 2013, the Supreme Court allowed NEET to be held in eight languages apart from English—Urdu, Gujarati, Assamese, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi and Hindi. However, Urdu has been removed from the list. The national president of Akhil Bharatiya Dalit Muslim Mahasangh, Suresh Kanojia has written a letter to Health Minister J.P. Nadda saying that Urdu is the second language in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh and that Muslims, who write Urdu, outnumber the Assamese or Gujaratis any day. Kanojia has warned of demonstrations if the government does not change its decision.