Striking the 'right' balance
An article written by a Sangh ideologue and published in the RSS mouthpiece Panchajanya took Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi by surprise. Among other things, it asked Modi to reconsider his style of functioning. Last month, the journal had carried a special feature eulogising his government's achievements and lauding its progress, laced liberally, of course, with his government's ads. Inquiries by aides revealed that for the sake of 'balance', the journal had to provide a platform to all hues of opinion. Many RSS leaders were unhappy that Modi got his bete noire, Sanjay Joshi, out of the BJP's executive body as a price for patching up with party chief Nitin Gadkari. They got back alright, it seems.
Rebels with a cause
There seems to be no end to the woes of Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh. After playing spoilsport in the recent assembly elections, the rebels are giving Singh a tough time in the upcoming civic polls as well. A large number of rebels, who were denied party ticket, are now in the fray. Singh's warning that they would face a six-year expulsion from the party if they did not withdraw their candidature hadn't had much of an impact either. Singh's detractors are quite happy with the way things are developing, and are expecting that he will be shown the door once the civic polls get over. It never rains but pours, right?
No loss, no foul
There were some nervous moments at Nirvachan Sadan, the Election Commission headquarters, over the delayed movement of the file dealing with the appointment of VS Sampath, successor to chief election commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi. Usually, such an announcement is made much before the incumbent CEC demits office. Following discreet queries, it emerged that the original file was lost in the law ministry and a new file was promptly created to dispel any notion of delay or surprise. Now that the process is on track, the official notification is expected anytime. Not well-begun but still half done.
Towards a bottom-up approach
Senior Congress leaders from Karnataka are feeling jittery following Rahul Gandhi's assertion that party units at district and block levels would have a greater say in the nomination of candidates for the coming assembly elections in the state. "Whenever there are elections in a state, we see very large crowds at the AICC office in Delhi. I want to see these crowds at district and block Congress offices," he told party workers at Davangere in Karnataka. Gandhi's indication of a paradigm shift in the decision-making process has not gone down well with senior leaders who are wary of giving up their say in the selection of candidates. Change is never easy.
When Didi's not a game-changer
Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, a key interlocutor with the Trinamool Congress, seems to be reeling from the after-effects of dealing with the maverick Mamata Banerjee even while he is touring in remote Naxal-affected areas. In a public meeting in Odisha's Malkangiri last week, a Bengali (descended from the refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan who settled here) suggested a list of things to be done. Ramesh, in his inimitable style, quipped: "Didn't Mamata Banerjee come here? Unlike Bengal, seems no poriborton has come here."
Being the change we seek
West Bengal governor MK Narayanan is known for his reticence. But the rousing reception hosted by chief minister Mamata Banerjee at the Eden Gardens for the Indian Premier League (IPL)-winning Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) team and its co-owner Shah Rukh Khan managed to sweep him away as well. Not only did he join Banerjee in the celebration, but also ended up saying that "true poribortan [change] has now been ushered into West Bengal". The Left, expectedly, saw red, with the CPI(M)'s Biman Bose questioning how a governor could associate himself with a political party's slogan ('poribortan' was the Trinamool's slogan to end the 34-year-long Marxist rule). When asked about it, the governor deflected the charge, saying "I had meant KKR's poribortan, not any government's". A sure-footed shot, we say.