‘Young vs Forever Young’

Recently a weekly magazine did a cover story on Rahul Gandhi, calling his recent makeover a “midlife makeover”. And currently there has been a debate on the generational divide within the Congress. However, when NewsX asked Sushmita Dev about the recent debate within the party regarding the UPA years (this was apparently brought up during an internal meet of the Rajya Sabha MPs by Rajeev Satav, who is said to have commented that the party needed to introspect on the UPA stint). Once this was reported in the media, some former UPA ministers such as Manish Tewari, Milind Deora and Shashi Tharoor took to social media defending the UPA government. So when asked whether this was a continuation of the Old vs Young Guard debate, Sushmita Dev pointed out that one cannot call either Manish or Milind old as they were around the same age bracket as Rajeev Satav and herself; and as for Shashi Tharoor, she added that no one could call Dr Tharoor a veteran! And so despite his being a decade or two older, there are some politicians who remain ever young.

No free boarding passes 

Taking off from Shashi Tharoor, there is something about ex Stephanians—they never run out of style. Recently, when Hardeep Puri was asked by the media during an interview as to why the government wasn’t bailing out airline owners (as was happening in other countries) in this time of crisis, the Civil Aviation Minister remarked, “Airlines don’t run on government handouts. I’m willing to have an undergraduate economics tutorial with you on this!” That’s a smartly worded retort if I’ve heard one. In fact the Twitterati would do well to follow his Twitter timeline, especially during Covid times for regular updates on travel rules and regulations. And this is also where he fact-checks misleading news items, so the media has been warned.

Manish Tewari vs Princes of Privilege

Recently, Manish Tewari spoke to NewsX about the current crisis within the Congress where he pointed out that it was high time the party stopped rewarding those who have not worked within the organisation. Citing the examples of Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot, he referred to the duo as “Privileged Princes”, who got everything on a silver platter, they did not go through the grind of NSUI and Youth Congress and so when faced with adversity didn’t know how to handle it. Manish added that speaking as someone who has been with the organisation for the last 39 years, the organisational purity must be maintained and outsiders should not be given authority within the party set up. He said, give them legislative or executive positions but not organisational authority. Interestingly, the other examples he cited of those who left the Congress when the party was in “choppy waters” were those of Ajoy Kumar and Priyanka Chaturvedi, both of whom have left the Congress, one for AAP and the other for Shiv Sena. Well, Manish one of those whom you have named doesn’t take too kindly to such comments, so that one is on you!

Will he, won’t he?

Which way will Sachin Pilot vote on 14 August when the Rajasthan Assembly is reconvened? For he knows that if he and his band of 19 MLAs vote against the Congress they will be liable for disqualification. Which brings us to the question, will their vote be counted or will it be disqualified along with them? Congress party’s legal eagle Abhishek Manu Singhvi thinks it should be the latter and cites precedence to back this. But Pilot would have done his legal homework too before coming to the floor of the Assembly. Unless of course there is a truce being worked out, for the Rajasthan government has withdrawn its sedition cases against Pilot—but it has transferred these to the Anti Corruption Bureau which is directly under state government control. And if one thing is clear from the Gehlot vs Pilot battle, it is this—that it is as personal as it is political.