Playing political musical chairs, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has allotted rooms of parties that were defeated in 2019 Lok Sabha elections to their political arch-rival. For instance, the AIADMK’s capacious ground floor room has gone to DMK and TDP’s room to YSR Congress. YSR Congress’ Vijay Sai Reddy made a recent tour of the TDP office questioning and checking the Vaastu of the room. Panicked by his trip, a TDP team called on the Speaker. The Speaker reportedly gave them an assurance that they wouldn’t have to vacate till they were given an alternate room. The JD(U) has also got eviction order. They have been asked to go to the dank third floor to shift to Samajwadi Party’s room. At the end of it, the status quo continues with all parties holding on to their respective rooms.
Janbaaz Rajnath Singh. The defence minister’s Rafale sortie and Shastra Pooja in Paris has put Rajnath Singh in a league of his own. The media and masses may rejoice but not everyone at Raisina Hills is happy about Rajnath emerging as the third pillar of Narendra Modi regime. Idle talkers are seeing him as another V.P. Singh in the making — the Raja of Manda who, as defence minister became Mr Clean and subsequently upstaged Rajiv Gandhi. The clean image reference ostensibly comes from Rajnath’s interaction with businessmen dealing in defence production, telling them not to worry about graft allegations.
Rahul Gandhi’s larger than life image continues to bother mother Sonia Gandhi. Even as speculation about Rahul’s spiritual journey was doing the rounds, disgruntled Congress leaders from Delhi knocked at 10, Janpath. Aspirants Jai Prakash Aggarwal, Ajay Maken and a dozen others who wish to head the Delhi Pradesh Congress unit were reportedly aghast at Rahul’s suggestion that Sheila Dikshit's successor should be below the age of 35! The bizarre condition has rattled even AICC pointman P.C. Chacko who is at his wit’s end to find a youngster who will be acceptable to faction-ridden DPCC. Chacko and others probably would like to remind Rahul that search for a DPCC president is on and not for a state youth Congress chief.
Union home minister Amit Shah is a real power centre in the Delhi durbar. Shah’s consent is sought in crucial matters of party and government. Even in foreign policy matters, it is not unusual to see foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and foreign secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale calling on the Union home minister. Shah reportedly has some valuable advice to offer.
There is a sense of amusement in the Uttar Pradesh Congress where Ajay Kumar Lallu has replaced actor Raj Babbar as state party chief. Lallu has a leftist background and in his student days reportedly was a member of the All India Students’ Association. A confirmed bachelor, Lallu who won the 2012 and 2017 state Assembly polls, loves riding his bicycle. When Lallu took over as the UPCC chief, he came to Lucknow in a road transport bus from Gorakhpur. For many UP Congress-wallahs, it is a culture shock, given Babbar’s love for fancy cars, hotels and all the good things in life. AICC general secretary in charge of UP, Priyanka Gandhi, believes Lallu would do well in the long run.
The writer is a keen observer of the goings-on in backrooms of power...