Caught in the middle
In the Indian political context the Ides of September are more thrilling than the Ides of March simply because of the list of birthdays that falls within this month. Interestingly, 15 September is Dr Subramanian Swamy’s birthday, while 17th is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s. And caught in the middle is P. Chidambaram whose date of birth is 16 September. Some would say, caught in the middle in more ways than one.
Subtext to Congress infighting
In the last fortnight, as elections to Maharashtra and Haryana approach, the Congress is plagued with infighting and ego clashes. There is Ashok Tanwar, the former Haryana PCC chief, who has been protesting against his bête-noir and CLP leader Bhupinder Hooda, for it seems as if the latter has got the lion’s say in ticket distribution. Tanwar quit the party on Saturday. Then there is Sanjay Nirupam, who is also unhappy at the way he is being sidelined within the party, especially after his candidate was denied an Assembly ticket. But the most curious case is that of Aditi Singh, the MLA from Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, who raised a banner of revolt when she refused to boycott a marathon Assembly session called by the Yogi government, even though her party had taken a stand against it. What links all these revolts is that all the concerned are considered close to Rahul Gandhi and are seen as being part of his team. Even Nirupam, who had lost his job to another Rahul favourite Milind Deora, but despite that Rahul always made time for Nirupam, and appreciated his street fighter hands-on approach. Aditi too has a direct line to the Gandhi siblings, while Tanwar has a good rapport with Rahul. Then, is there a Team Rahul vs Team Sonia subtext to the factional infighting that’s happening within the Congress.
Recently during a television interview to Nidhi Razdan, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath was asked about Jyotiraditya Scindia’s open play for being the next state PCC chief (currently the job is being held by Nath himself). Deadpan, Nath replied that he was “very open” to the idea of Scindia being the state Congress chief as he felt “burdened” by the additional responsibility. Considering that the one thing that permanently unites the on-off friendship between Nath and Digvijaya Singh is the united front they form against Scindia, that’s a political googly if there ever was one.