Keeping tabs on the political grapevine.
Averting a mega clash
When IIT Gandhinagar's foundation stone-laying programme was cancelled suddenly on the morning of the event on September 22, organisers cited unexpected commitments that had forced human resource development minister Kapil Sibal and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to cancel their planned addresses at the ceremony. But it was actually the war of words between Sibal and Modi over the government's Aakash tablet, which escalated into a verbal slugfest just hours before the event, that made the two sides cancel the ceremony. Modi dubbed the tablet a gimmick and Sibal replied by calling Modi a man with a "small heart". The minister then said he would gift Modi a tablet at the ceremony. But what sealed the fate of the event was a last-minute battle over who would speak first and who last. Both Modi and Sibal wanted to go second, to have the last word. Unable to resolve the dispute, officials had little choice but to cancel the event. IIT Gandhinagar can wait.
Looking for new allies
To correct past mistakes that apparently cost the party dearly in the assembly elections earlier this year, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh is sending feelers to the People's Party of Punjab (PPP) chief Manpreet Badal to join hands against the anti-people policies of the Akali-BJP government in the state. Captain Singh has not ruled out doing business with him ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. After parting ways with his uncle Parkash Singh Badal and cousin Sukhbir Singh Badal before the assembly polls in March-April, the former state finance minister's party secured 5% votes, which proved "fatal" for the Congress. In politics, there are no permanent friends or foes; only permanent interests.
He's young - and fearless
BJP Yuva Morcha chief Anurag Thakur could well turn out to be his father and Himachal Pradesh CM Prem Kumar Dhu-mal's Achilles' heel. BJP insiders say that Thakur's style of functioning has upset some leaders in the state BJP at a time when Dhumal is facing a serious challenge from former CM Shanta Kumar, who wants the party to deny tickets to some of Dhumal's supporters. But an overconfident Thakur has told BJP leaders in New Delhi that nobody can prevent his father's third victory. So instead of campaigning in his home state, Thakur is busy with the Buddhist Yatra.
He is feeling the heat
DMK chief M Karunanidhi has put a stop to the growing ambitions of the party's parliamentary party leader TR Baalu. The former Union minister is keen to re-enter Cabinet but the DMK patriarch has declared that the party won't nominate any candidate. The factions within the DMK are also opposed to Baalu's re-induction. Baalu's bid to shift his Lok Sabha seat from Perumbudur to Thanjavur, a safer option, has irked minister of state (finance) SS Palanimanickam. The central minister also alleged that he was being ignored at Baalu's instance and cited a letter from the sports minister to a local MLA to prove his point. A document has surfaced in Delhi, listing properties held by his family members and alleged instances of land grab by them. Baalu's family owns companies like King Chemicals and King Hi Power. A few years ago, Baalu was caught in a row for using his post to get gas deals for his companies. The prime minister had not re-inducted Baalu in 2009 following complaints about his performance in his previous tenure.