A false sense of complacency
In an exclusive interview on “Cover Story”, National Conference MP and a former High Court judge, Hasnain Masoodi told NewsX that three days prior to the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the Abdullahs, and assured them that elections would take place in October that year. Apart from Farooq and Omar Abdullah, Masoodi was also part of the delegation and he claims that when the Abdullahs voiced their apprehensions about the continuing Governor’s Rule in the state and wondered why the elections did not take place along with the Lok Sabha polls held in March that year the PM told them that the security forces were stretched during the Lok Sabha polls and so there was a logistics problem, after which came the Amarnath Yatra. However, the PM assured the Abdullahs that he planned to hold the elections sometimes in October. Having heard rumours to the contrary, Hasnaini reveals that the Abdullahs went back satisfied and even met the Governor on 4 August—who assured them of the same. And the next day, Article 370 was abrogated and the Abdullahs along with other leaders were detained. Interestingly though, Farooq Abdullah has recently been released from preventive custody, but he is yet to break his silence on Article 370 and the current political situation in the valley. One reason could be that he doesn’t want to jeopardise his son’s case for release for there is no knowing what the government might object to.
Why is Rahul angry (again)?
Journalists tracking the Congress were a bit taken aback recently when one of them praised Rahul Gandhi for his intervention in Parliament recently. However, they were taken aback when he shot back saying, “I have lost all respect for journos like you who say one thing to my face and another in stories, Twitter etc”. While Rahul has certainly not been getting good press of late (though I won’t subscribe to Team Rahul’s rather immature take that everyone who criticises him belongs to the Modi camp), he certainly needs to learn the art of accepting the odd compliment gracefully. For, while Rahul may be confused about his own leadership model, he does make a valid point when he raises questions about the state of the country’s economy spurred by some of the government’s own disastrous moves.
Battling for Ram
Former JD(U) leader and author Pavan Varma has just released his latest book, The Greatest Ode of Lord Ram. The author of Adi Shankracharya and Ghalib The Man, the Times has an interesting take on why he chose this as the subject of his new book. For as Pavan told NewsX in an interview recently, “It’s high time we stole Ram back from the BJP”. Well, good luck with that. But at least we get an interesting book in the process.
If tomorrow comes
Interestingly, when asked why the BJP targeted MP and not Rajasthan where the government is equally on a wafer thin majority and there’s an ambitious young leader chaffing at the wings there as well, a senior Congress leader pointed out that yes in Rajasthan there’s a Gehlot vs Sachin just as there was a Kamal Nath vs Scindia in MP, but the battle in MP has an additional twist—for there’s also a Digvijaya there. He added that Nath could have handled Scindia on his own but he had Digvijaya on his side, egging him on to take on Scindia. And well…you know the rest. In the end, who loses from the MP tangle—both Scindia and Digvijaya have got their Rajya Sabha seats. Left out is poor Kamal Nath who is now just an MLA. Perhaps he should have kept that Rajya Sabha seat for himself. But knowing Nath, he won’t let this be the last footnote on his political career. As he said at his press conference, “Don’t forget, after today, there’s a tomorrow.”