It’s all in the Timing
Just when the Congress was all geared up to take on the Narendra Modi government on its three-year track record, the government hijacked the news cycle of the day. Hours before the high powered press conference was to begin, came news of multiple raids on former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s house and office premises. As a result, most of the questions of the day were on the raid and not the Congress chargesheet against the government. And for once, the Congress had actually got its act together, fielding a team of young, articulate leaders—Jyotridaditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, R.P.N. Singh, Randeep Surjewala and Sushmita Deb. They had also compiled a short film taking the PM’s poll promises and contrasting them with a reality check on delivery, using reports filed by various channels. But with P. Chidambaram hijacking the news cycle, this got little play.
All Eyes on Rashtrapati Bhawan
Will President Pranab Mukherjee get a second term? While some news reports claim that the President has denied a second term, this is incorrect as so far no official offer has been made for him to deny or accept. But one person who has refused to be in the race is Sharad Pawar. The Opposition was mulling over fielding Pawar as its joint candidate and even approached him, but NCP sources claim that Pawar has refused the offer. There can be only one reason behind the refusal—clearly Pawar believes that the Opposition doesn’t have the requisite numbers.
The Enigmatic Address
President Pranab Mukherjee remains as enigmatic as ever. He was speaking at a book release function in the capital, where Vice President Hamid Ansari released a commemorative volume on Indira Gandhi compiled by Anand Sharma. During his speech, President Mukherjee remarked that Indira Gandhi remains “the most acceptable PM to the people till today”. Not just this, he even recalled her decisiveness after the 1977 electoral defeat when she was able to resurrect and rejuvenate her party in just a few months. Rahul Gandhi, who was also on the dais, was seen listening attentively, his ever-present cell phone momentarily forgotten. He also recalled that on the eve of Operation Blue Star, the former PM had remarked that sometimes history demands action which may not prove correct later on, but is relevant at that time and that this decision cannot be avoided.