Who will replace Gehlot in Delhi?
Congress leaders have begun posturing for the all important post of general secretary in charge of organisational affairs, which was recently held by Ashok Gehlot before he became Chief Minister of Rajasthan. In the running are Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik and Prithviraj Chavan. There is some talk of rehabilitation for Digvijaya Singh for his role in the Madhya Pradesh win. Singh? If you recall was recently dropped from the Congress Working Committee. But party sources are not ruling out a dark horse and there is some buzz about the candidature of Bhanwar Jitendra Singh from Alwar getting this coveted job. Jitendra Singh has worked directly with Rahul Gandhi earlier as his secretary when the latter was a general secretary in charge of the youth wings. More importantly, after promoting the old guard over the younger lot in MP and Rajasthan as CM, Rahul now wants to send a reassuring signal to the GenNext in his party, by promoting Jitendra Singh over the aspirations of the older guard.
Image guru Dilip Cherian’s Christmas bash has now become an annual corner stone for Delhiites to mark the onset of the festive season. But given Cherian’s political connect, the lunch was also an important barometer marking a churn in the political mood. Compared to last year, this year’s bash saw many more Congress leaders turn up—from Ahmed Patel, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Motilal Vora, Manish Tewari, Janardan Dwivedi to Sheila Dikhist and Ambika Soni, all fresh from the Assembly wins in the Hindi heartland states, exuding great confidence about the 2019 polls as well. In fact, on a light hearted note, Soni teased “Vora-ji”, a former CM from Madhya Pradesh and asked why he didn’t go back to the state as CM and taught the “younger lot” the ropes (for when it comes to the veteran Vora-ji even Kamal Nath belongs to the GenNext). Also present was the dapper Praful Patel, looking as debonair as ever without whom no Delhi or Mumbai gathering is complete. While BJP leaders were missing, NDA allies, both Pavan Varma and Naresh Gujral, were there. Of course, while both belong to parties belonging to the NDA, each is known to speak bluntly on issues with which they disagree with the government. And certainly the talk was more about the coming elections more than holiday plans.
Churn in the BJP?
Post the Assembly poll results, which saw the BJP lose all five states, there is talk of a churn within the party. Suddenly we have a very vocal Nitin Gadkari making some pertinent and double-edged comments, especially when he commented that leaders should take responsibility for defeats and failures. His words are being interpreted by some as an attack on BJP president Amit Shah, more than Narendra Modi directly. What lends heft to Gadkari’s words is his known proximity to the RSS. Let the games begin.