Rahul’s Bihar Outreach
Is Chirag Paswan on his way to the Congress? Well, after admitting Kanhaiya Kumar will Rahul Gandhi be extending an invite to Chirag Paswan as well; and how does all this go down with his good friend and ally Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD? The RJD leader has already taken note of the fact that the Congress, which fought the last year’s Assembly elections in an alliance, announced separate candidates from both Tarapur and Kusheshwar Asthan bypolls that will be held later this month. Also, angry at being left out of the RJD’s star campaigner list, Tej Pratap Yadav has hinted that he may canvass for the Congress candidate in Kusheshwar Asthan. Added to his family divide Tejashwi could now be also facing an ally realignment. On Ram Vilas Paswan’s first death anniversary in the capital, Rahul walked across from neighbouring 10 Janpath to the Paswan’s Delhi residence to pay his condolences. This sparked off speculation in the capital because Bihar is very much on the Congress leader’s radar, while he has outsourced Uttar Pradesh to his sister and party general secretary in charge of the state, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. In fact, Kanhaiya’s comments at his first press conference after joining the Congress, when the former CPI leader likened the Grand Old Party to a sinking ship, whose fortunes he had come to salvage, have not gone down well with the party’s high command. This displeasure has also been conveyed to Kanhaiya. Now it remains to be seen if Rahul will add another young leader to his Bihar collection.
A Wedding Party minus the Groom
According to the AAP-C Voter poll survey the BJP is expected to win Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Goa and Uttarakhand, while Punjab is headed for a hung Assembly. While it is the Aam Admi Party that has the edge in Punjab, changing the Chief Minister seems to have helped the Congress. Speaking on the NewsX Sunday Guardian Roundtable, C Voter founder, Yashwant Deshmukh referred to Charanjit Channi as the Congress Party’s Mayawati moment. However, what is most perplexing is the case of Uttarakhand where the Congress party’s Harish Rawat has emerged as the most popular CM face, but it is the BJP that is set to retain the state. One reason for this is ofcourse that Rawat has been busy in Punjab. As Deshmukh said, the baraat (wedding party) is all set in Uttarakhand but the dulha (bridegroom) has been sent off to another state. Can someone explain the Congress strategy here please?
Rajasthan Politics, Anyone?
When Rahul Gandhi set off for Lakhimpur Kheri he was accompanied by two of his Chief Ministers—the Punjab and Chhattisgarh CMs. However, it is interesting that Ashok Gehlot, the Rajasthan CM was not part of the delegation. Instead, it was Sachin Pilot who went to Lakhimpur Kheri. This has given the perception that while Rahul may or may not force a regime change in Rajasthan, but he has made it clear as to who he considers as part of his team. (The fact that Navjot Singh Sidhu was not part of the high powered Congress delegation, also sends its own message to the Punjab Congress). Interestingly, Ajay Maken recently tweeted a picture of himself along with Pilot and Gehlot travelling in a helicopter for a bypoll rally, however the car that drove Gehlot to the helipad had Pilot on the driver’s seat.