Back to the Future
With Sonia Gandhi back as Congress president, the divide between the Old Guard and the young leaders in the party is once more in the forefront, with the former getting the upper hand. Even Captain Amarinder Singh, who had earlier made the case for a “young” leader to take over as party chief, welcomed Sonia’s move, stating that her “experience” was the need of the hour. And with Sonia’s return, one can also expect the return of Ahmed Patel who had been sidelined during the Rahul era. One sign of this is that former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupender Hooda, who had been planning to quit the party, is now doing a rethink. His equation with Ahmed Patel is clearly much better than his equation with Team Rahul! So if nothing else, then Sonia’s upgrade will stem some of the exits from the party.
Ram Mandir Next?
Having delivered on the BJP’s manifesto of abolishing triple talaq and abrogating Article 370, is Ram Mandir next on the Prime Minister’s list? As Ram Madhav, BJP general secretary told NewsX recently, the court hearing is expected to be over within the next three months. So, who knows, by December maybe the BJP will have another promise fulfilled.
Ahmed Patel Returns
As mentioned earlier, with Sonia Gandhi’s return one can expect the return to prominence of her political secretary as well. Interestingly, it was just a month ago that Rahul Gandhi—who had submitted his resignation but still remained in spirit, the party president—spoke his mind to Patel. This was during a meeting with the Haryana state leaders. When Patel asked Rahul to help chalk out a strategy for the coming elections and also figure out who the CM face would be between the warring factions of Hooda and Ashok Tanwar, the Gandhi scion apparently told Patel that since he had resigned as party chief, his role was that of star campaigner and nothing more. More so, Rahul is said to have remarked that as Patel was so critical of his strategies such as raising the Rafale issue during the polls, and the EVM issue after the results, then maybe he should chalk out the strategy himself. But then, that was then and this is now—when the Old Guard has once again sensed a power shift in its favour.