NO CO-PILOT FOR SACHIN?
Is Sachin Pilot being finally given a free hand in Rajasthan? It would seem so, for his bête-noir in the state, Ashok Gehlot has been given charge of the Gujarat Assembly elections due towards the end of this year. This should keep Gehlot busy and out of Rajasthan affairs for a while. For Sachin has been hitting the ground and trying to build cadre morale ever since he was made state Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief, but was facing resistance from the Gehlot-led old guard. And the fact that Gehlot’s new charge was announced the day of the MCD results, shows that the Congress learnt one lesson from its drubbing—distract the dissenters.
While there may not be a radical reshuffle in the Congress—for that would mean tackling the Rahul problem head on (should he be made president or should that move be shelved for another term?)—the Congress is busy re-allocating portfolios. There is speculation that Sushil Kumar Shinde and Prithviraj Chavan could be made general secretaries. But the crucial question is Madhya Pradesh: will either Kamal Nath or Jyotiraditya Scindia be sent to the state as PCC chief? For it is clear that the current incumbent is no match for state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Also, who will replace Captain Amarinder Singh as the deputy leader of the party in the Lok Sabha? Will it be Rahul Gandhi himself? And if it is so, will Rahul inspire any confidence? Currently, the party is of the view that instead of appointing Rahul as party president, Sonia Gandhi should continue for another two years.
OUTREACH OR WITCH-HUNT?
The UP ATS has launched an aggressive de-radicalisation drive for “misguided youth”. According to a note issued on the subject, the Uttar Pradesh police is reaching out to friends and families of those whom they feel could be recruited for terrorist activities. The youth in question will then be given counselling sessions by police officials on a weekly basis. A family member, friend or mentor can also be present on the occasion. Police officials have been told to keep the identity of these youth under wraps. It is also mentioned that if the said youth gets a job or gets married, that would be seen as a sign of stability. While this move is being portrayed as a positive outreach by the UP government, there are some misgivings about its implementation. That remains a crucial test for the new Chief Minister.