The poll outcome of Maharashtra and Haryana seems a foregone conclusion in favour of the ruling BJP-NDA but the coming Assembly polls in Delhi are giving the BJP leadership some anxious moments. The internal feedback Amit Shah and J.P. Nadda have received indicates Arvind Kejriwal returning in office with ease in February 2020 polls. The BJP leadership is also struggling to put up a credible face against Mr Kejriwal. Union minister Harshvardhan is reportedly reluctant to be pitched as chief ministerial nominee while eager souls like Manoj Tiwari and Vijay Goel have not found favours with the Shah-Nadda combine. Some in the BJP thank God that the BJP leadership is not toying with the idea of a Kiran Bedi type of experiment again.
Sonia and Rahul may continue to enjoy best relations as mother and son but in organisational matters, Sonia is ushering in big changes much to the chagrin of “Team Rahul”. The AICC has a new social media chief — Rohan Gupta — who edged out aspirants Nikhil Alva and Pawan Khera. Mr Gupta owes his allegiance to AICC treasurer Ahmad Patel. Actress Divya Spandana, who was heading the Congress social media team, has reportedly turned a tad apolitical, taking a keen interest in the social circuits of London and Lisbon. Buzz from 24 Akbar Road, New Delhi, that houses the party headquarters — next to fall is NSUI chief Ruchi Gupta, a Rahul favourite.
The Congress managed to put up a decent show to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, holding padyatras in various towns. Initially, three big yatras were planned for New Delhi, Lucknow and Wardha which were to be led by Sonia, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi, respectively. However, the Maharashtra unit of the party cited Assembly polls as a reason for its inability to host Rahul. Disgruntled party insiders allege that Congress leaders in Wardha were not keen on Rahul, fearing for the young prince’s penchant for courting controversies or saying things that would not help the party in an election-bound state. In the end, nobody missed Rahul.
It may be a coincidence that four ministers in Narendra Modi’s council of ministers have opted for a hair transplant. It has given them a youthful, business-like look. But politically, it is not to work. BJP insiders insist that the informal cut-off mark of 75 years would not change due to looks or colour of hair.
The honeytrap scandal in Madhya Pradesh has badly hit some BJP politicians. Chief minister Kamal Nath can barely hide his glee over the state police's recovery of 92 high quality video clips allegedly showing a number of politicians, former ministers and some bureaucrats in various stages of undress and compromising positions in the company of three ladies wearing earrings and smiles. Some of these clips have been doing brisk rounds of WhatsApp groups bringing humiliation to those who were contemplating a Karnataka-like toppling.
The writer is a keen observer of the goings-on in backrooms of power...