Congress leader Digvijay Singh is also heading the party’s publicity committee for the forthcoming general elections. Last week, the committee presented before party President Sonia Gandhi literature that they had prepared for the campaign. Janardhan Dwivedi and Jairam Ramesh were the other brains who had worked on the project, but Gandhi was not impressed at all. She asked Digvijay Singh to get in touch with Suman Dubey, family friend and media advisor to Rajiv Gandhi, and Deep Kaul, marketing professional and Dubey’s buddy, to fine-tune and add some zing to the campaign. The new task force is on a fast track and is likely to come up with the party’s campaign themes soon.
No support for Varun here
The Varun Gandhi hate-speech episode and following drama was closely watched from an unlikely quarter: the Delhi Police security wing, the unit which provides Personal Security Officers (PSOs) to VIPs. And as the Election Commission declared Varun guilty, many in this sensitive unit felt vindicated. The reason: a high-level inquiry by the unit had found Varun guilty of assaulting his PSO some time back, which had upset many. “A report was also sent to the Home Ministry but, as is the case, the rich and powerful always manage to get away. Now at least we have the satisfaction that his real face has been exposed,” said a constable in the security unit.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has an unlikely challenger in his home constituency, Amethi. Ashish Shukla, his BSP opponent, has been a family loyalist. He had left the Congress before the 2007 UP assembly elections in protest against the party’s decision to field Amita Singh, wife of local Sanjay Singh in the Amethi assembly segment. Shukla fought against Singh and lost. This time he has been fielded by the BSP to take on Rahul Gandhi. Sanjay Singh, meanwhile, is the Congress candidate in neighbouring Sultanpur. All in the family, it seems.
When UPCC comes to town
For several days now, the Congress has been parading either deserters from other political parties or new entrants before journalists. A majority of these leaders are from Uttar Pradesh who come along with their supporters, leading to chaos in the briefing room at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters. The other day a scribe rightly pointed out that the AICC briefing room had turned into a full-fledged media room for the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC). Is UPCC chief Rita Bahugana Joshi listening?
Better late than never
Switching sides is quite common during election time, without too much thought being given to abandoning parties or ideology, if denied a ticket. A case in point here is four-time MP Ramesh Chand Tomar, the Congress candidate from Gautam Buddha Nagar, UP. He was associated with the Jan Sangh and later with the BJP for 37 years. After joining the Congess recently, he said, “I finally realised that the party (BJP) can do nothing for the country.” Or for him, it seems.
The final say
At a recent media briefing, JD(S) president H.D. Deve Gowda couldn’t resist a subtle dig at the BJP, saying, “Someone is vikas purush and someone is lauh purush, but me I’m just an ordinary purush.”