RAWAT’S TANTRUMS There was a time when Chief Ministers from Congress-ruled states had few takers in New Delhi. They were accustomed to be kept under the thumb. No more, it seems. Congress has lost the Centre and most of the states. Consequently, all the ‘big leaders’ from the party have been cut to size. The situation is such that the same Siddaramaiah and Harish Rawat who used to plead with these big leaders once, are on the top now. They listen only to Sonia and Rahul and no day goes when one or the other ‘big leader’ from the Congress does not ask them to for a Rajya Sabha ticket from their respective states. As many as 16 Rajya Sabha MPs from Congress, including the likes of Oscar Fernandes, Satish Sharma, Ashwani Kumar and Anand Sharma, are ending their tenure on the 16th of April. However, their re-election from states like Kerala, Karnataka and Uttarakhand looks dicey now. Harish Rawat has been telling it to whoever is willing to listen that only the provincial leaders will be sent from the respective Rajya Sabha seats. The situation inside BJP is no better as it hardly has numbers in the present circumstances to resend people like Naidu and Sitharaman.
SIDELINED PATEL In his hay days, Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, Ahmad Patel, was seldom seen at Congress’ headquarters. In fact, once in a while, when he used to stroll in leisurely, it used to be breaking news of sorts, and people used to line up to meet him. Those days are gone. Not only is he regularly seen at 24 Akbar Road these days, he keeps dishing out one statement after another through the official communique. It is his way of saying that he might be down, but he sure is not out. Patel’s present predicament is reportedly because of his falling out with the new team that Rahul Gandhi has gathered. They are of the opinion that he handled the National Herald Case rather clumsily, and it was because of that clumsiness that Rahul and Sonia had to appear in the court. The team is also unhappy with lawyers like Sibal and Singhvi but they at least have their utility. Patel apparently has none now.
SINGH BLUES VK Singh has started to realise that it is difficult for people like him to stay in politics, especially when his rights are so frequently infringed upon. Apart from the MDONER, he also used to take care of the Overseas Indian Affairs department. However MOS PMO Jitendra Singh has virtually taken over MDONER while Shushma Swaraj has started to directly intervene in the latter. Consequently, he is left merely with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation now. This has left him bitter. His only hope now is that those completing their Rajya Sabha tenure will shortly leave and he might land up a ministry or two consequently. Especially so when he can hardly afford to confront either Singh or Swaraj.
PMO’S AFTER ALL PMO Rahul Gandhi’s spectacular speech at the Budget Session targeting Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley, where he made fun of his economic policies, was seen as a triumph by the Congress brass. However, when PM Modi stood for the riposte, he used the quotes by the members of the Nehru-Gandhi family to counter Rahul’s argument. This did not go down well with the Congress’ brass and they were seen looking for cover. Rumour has it that Rahul reprimanded his team and asked them to be as efficient as the PMO team. For the time being, even Rahul believes that PMO’s after all PMO.