For a while, things were not looking up for Jyotiraditya Scindia. When the former maharaja of Gwalior defected to the BJP during Holi, he expected to be made a Union minister while his loyal band of supporters would be made ministers in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh.
Instead, Scindia was in a posh Delhi hospital battling the Coronavirus even while his Rajya Sabha poll is slated for later this week in Bhopal. There is no sign of his supporters making it to the Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet. Scindia’s worries are affecting others too.
A newspaper baroness had reportedly invited him for a meal in select company. The subsequent Covid-19 positive status reportedly drove some guests into a 14-day mandatory quarantine. It was only this weekend, when a negative test came in, that the baroness’s dinner guests heaved a sigh of relief. In temple town Datia, a yagna was ordered to ward off the evil spirits.
Several retired bureaucrats are lobbying hard to become the Central government's observer or administrator to run Delhi’s prestigious Gymkhana Club. The Club got into problems following a former Union surface transport ministry secretary filing a case against the club, and the ministry of corporate affairs ordering a probe.
A former bureaucrat in the commerce ministry and a lady officer from the government's publicity wing are vying to get themselves appointed as observers or administrators.
Sources say the Narendra Modi regime is weighing several options to regulate the Gymkhana Club’s functioning. It can ask the club to self-correct or it can appoint observers.
Another option is to wrest total control, disband the club committee. Some influential bureaucrats favour a half-way solution: the corporate affairs ministry appointing observers and also letting the club self-correct. Meanwhile, several politicians who are club members are unhappy with the adverse publicity the club is getting.
Nadda’s team dream
Pressure is mounting on BJP party chief J.P. Nadda to reconstitute his team. Nadda has been functioning with office-bearers who were part of Team Amit Shah. The new BJP chief has gone on record to say a new executive will be appointed. But now the countdown to the Bihar Assembly polls has begun, putting a question mark on the long-awaited exercise.
Rai’s culinary capital
Union minister of state for Home Nityanand Rai is happy these days. He has a cook for all seasons specialising in Indian vegetarian, from Bihari lithi-choka to southern cuisine. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Union home minister Amit Shah has been spending lot of time in North Block. Rai, who hails from poll-bound Bihar, has largened his daily tiffin. The junior minister misses no opportunity in sharing food with the boss. The delicacies are having an impact, giving Rai much-needed access and time.
Rajnath missed at home
The coronavirus lockdown also saw defence minister Rajnath Singh spending time at home, attending to his garden, playing ludo with his grandchildren and occasionally visiting the kitchen too. Now that the lockdown is over and minister has resumed a routine of visiting office, his grandchildren are missing the ludo sessions.
Minister goes AWOL
Rajasthan witnessed a high-level drama or maybe a thriller. A key member of the Ashok Gehlot ministry went “missing”. The young face of the grand old party had reportedly hoodwinked his security paraphernalia at night to dash off to Delhi, and return to Jaipur at the crack of the dawn. Gehlot kept his calm and quickly informed the Congress high command. Each and every Congress MLA was contacted and a renewed pledge of loyalty was administered. “Tamasha na hua.”
Dust to dust?
It has been over two weeks since Ajit Jogi passed away. Son Amit and wife Renu Jogi have started contacting their political associates to decide about future of the Chhattisgarh Janata Congress, with five members in the state Assembly. There is a view that Jogis should return to the parent organisation but both Amit and Renu want Rahul or Sonia Gandhi to take the lead. A section of the regional party want the Jogis to get in touch with the BJP, as chief minister Bhupesh Baghel is bitterly opposed to return of the Jogis to the Congress fold.