The perfect political managers
Until the budget session of 2012, UPA government’s crisis management activities in Parliament centred around Lok Sabha leader Pranab Mukherjee. But his successor Sushil Kumar Shinde is hardly playing that role. During the FDI crisis, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath and his deputy Rajeev Shukla were the key fire-fighters for the party. Finance minister P Chidambaram is playing the lead role in persuading the Opposition to support reforms-related bills. Chidambaram is holding regular meetings with key Opposition leaders while Shinde remains busy taking care of the security of the country as the home minister. Not at home in this role.
Not striking a harmonious note
It’s very difficult to deal with a mocking bard — the Trinamool Congress is learning this the hard way. The party looks for every opportunity to get its rebel MP Kabir Suman disqualified but the music composer finds newer ways to wriggle out of any situation while continuing his tirade against the party. During the FDI debate in the Lok Sabha, the Trinamool issued a whip for mandatory voting by its MPs but Suman stayed away. This could have been a fit case for disqualification but the Trinamool found that Suman had already shot off a letter to Speaker Meira Kumar saying he is too ill to come and vote but supports “the party’s stand on FDI”. Not music to the Trinamool’s ears.
A fresh row on fresh views
Uncertainty looms large over the all-party meeting called by the Centre on Telangana on December 28. The Andhra Pradesh Congress and chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy have requested the central leadership to postpone the crucial meeting as it coincides with the World Telugu Conference at Tirupati. The presence of the CM and other state leaders will be required at the meet. The central leadership is expected to take a call on this request soon. Many Telangana Congress leaders are apparently upset with the party’s Andhra Pradesh in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad for his reported statement that home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has called the all-party meeting only to listen to “fresh views” from political parties as he had assumed charge only recently. The Congress leadership had agreed to hold the meeting after the Telangana MPs threatened to stay away from the crucial FDI vote in the Lok Sabha. Not all are party to this, it would seem.
All in it together for now
Buoyed by the results in the legislative council polls in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Conference (NC) has strongly favoured an alliance with the Congress for the 2014 assembly and parliamentary elections. The party’s working committee has authorised veteran leader and Union minister Farooq Abdullah to handle the issue. Abdullah will formally approach the Congress leadership with his party’s offer any time soon. The Congress is expected to discuss the offer at its three-day session in Jaipur from January 18 where coalition politics is going to be one of the main issues of deliberation. The party has already formed a panel, headed by defence minister AK Antony, to work out pre-poll alliances. An offer it cannot refuse surely.