Not many takers for Sibal’s denial

Supreme Court lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal has been trying to explain that he has not been playing any role in the Tamil Nadu crisis. This is to clear the air on the speculation that he has been advising V.K. Sasikala in the DA case through her husband M. Natarajan, who was in Delhi for a week prior to the political and constitutional crisis in Chennai. The buzz was that Sibal was helping Sasikala on the promise that she would eventually tie up with the Congress and will take partisan positions on all issues in Parliament. Despite Sibal’s vehement denials not many are convinced. Interestingly, even the BJP has been saying the same thing—that it has nothing to do with the events in TN. Although it is known that the BJP has been hoping that with O. Panneerselvam as Chief Minister, it will get the AIADMK’s backing in the Rajya Sabha.

The Shivpal effect

All eyes are on Shivpal Yadav, who has vowed to teach his “erring” nephew Akhilesh Yadav a lesson. Out of the 67 seats that went to polls in Uttar Pradesh in the second round, the Samajwadi Party won around 38 in 2012. It is Shivpal who had control over the votes in this phase. The wait is to see how much damage Shivpal can do to the current SP Congress alliance. 

Ramgopal shocks Congress

Ramgopal Yadav, the mentor of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is supposed to have stated that his nephew is PM material. This has shocked the Congress leadership. At the time of the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance, it was understood that Rahul would be the Opposition’s Prime Ministerial candidate for 2019 and Akhilesh would stay the UP Chief Minister. But now with Yadav striking a discordant note, political observers feel that this can be the beginning of the divide between the two parties, even before a blame game starts over their performance in the UP elections.

Congress is sinking in west U.P.

The Congress is in a bad shape in western Uttar Pradesh. When it had struck an alliance with Ajit Singh’s RLD in 2012, it had won eight seats from the region. One such winner was Pradeep Mathur, the Congress Legislative Party leader in the UP Assembly. This time, when the Congress is in alliance with the Samajwadi Party, Mathur is not comfortably placed. The Congress too may put up a performance worse than in 2012, while the RLD may put up a better show. The SP and Congress’ refusal to join hands with RLD is being seen as a big blunder. Knowing Ajit Singh, the Congress is worried that he may join hands either BSP or BJP post the elections.

Rao played safe

If a senior Cabinet minister is to be believed, Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasdagar Rao was being cautious about the situation in the state as he did not want to invite the ire of the Supreme Court. Since the Supreme Court’s verdict on Sasikala was to come, Rao wanted to play safe. He did not want to find himself in the position of Tamil Nadu’s former Governor, Fathima Beevi. She had to resign in 2001 after the Supreme Court ticked her off for allowing J. Jayalalithaa, who was not qualified to be a member of the state legislature, to be sworn in as Chief Minister. The overturning of the CM’s appointment led to her resignation. Incidentally, Arun Jaitley was the Law Minister when the Union Cabinet asked for Beevi’s recall as Governor for not giving a proper report on the state’s law and order situation. DMK was then an NDA ally. Rao was then part of the NDA government as a Minister of State. Rao has not forgotten that incident. He also did not want to tarnish his impeccable record with a false step.

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