Congress In or Out of Mahagathbandan?

Is the Congress in the UP Mahagathbandan or not? According to Congress sources, negotiations are on to give the Congress 15 seats in UP in return for which it would accommodate the SP and BSP in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The party even released a list of probable candidates (apart from Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, others such as Jitin Prasad, R.P.N. Singh and Salman Khursheed) to indicate which of the 15 seats it was interested in. However, SP, BSP and RLD sources indicated otherwise, stating that they were not keen to accommodate the Congress at this last minute, for it would give the impression that the original Gathbandan was “otherwise weak”. But even as we speak, negotiations are on, with the resourceful Ahmed Patel batting from the Congress side.

Congress candidate checklist for Mumbai

Negotiations are on for Lok Sabha tickets with the general elections barely a month away. In the city of Mumbai it seems that Milind Deora will be contesting from his old constituency, South Mumbai. If you recall, he had threatened not to contest, alleging differences with the party’s regional chief, Sanjay Nirupam. However, Nirupam himself is looking to change his seat from Mumbai North to Mumbai North West. The latter was from where the late Gurudas Kamat contested the 2009 and 2014 polls. In the meanwhile, the Congress is still not sure whether Priya Dutt would be contesting or not from her constituency Mumbai North Central, from where the BJP’s Poonam Mahajan is the current MP.

Political Timing

The launch of BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal’s book on the RSS was a high profile one, attended by RSS leaders, Union Ministers and MPs cutting across party lines. Speaking at the event, RSS joint general secretary, Dattatreya Hosabole quipped that Mittal was a time bomb. Interestingly, during his address, Mittal had welcomed Cabinet Minister Smirti Irani on the dais, recalling the fight she gave Rahul Gandhi in Amethi during the last polls and added that the last time round she had a short time to prepare, but these elections she has had more time and he was certain that she would defeat Rahul Gandhi. To which Irani laughed and said that now she knew why Mittal was called a time bomb “because he already announced my seat before the party has”.

It’s election time

During a debate on NewsX, Milind Deora talked about the 2014 Modi wave where he pointed to the bottle on his table saying that even this could get elected in Modi’s name if it stood for elections. Hearing this, Shaina NC, BJP spokesperson retorted that “this will happen this time as well”. To which Milind shot back, saying “At least you concede your candidate selection was poor.” Clearly, it’s election time, folks!

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