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The buzz: keeping tabs on the political grapevine

The Congress high command has all but made up its mind to carve out a new separate state of Telangana in Andhra Pradesh this week.
None | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JUL 30, 2013 01:28 AM IST

This is divide and rule again
The Congress high command has all but made up its mind to carve out a new separate state of Telangana in Andhra Pradesh this week. The fallout could have wide-ranging ramifications. It could lead to the fall of the party’s government in Andhra Pradesh and may also force some members of the Union Cabinet, who belong to coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, to give up their positions. The Congress’s logic seems to that the party was going to lose in the other two regions but by creating Telangana, it may get a few seats from there. Carving out a new political scenario.

Reaching the top of the ladder
Congress general secretary Ajay Maken’s star seems to be rising. Even before the end of the two-day workshop he organised for party spokespersons in Delhi last week, he was inducted into the Central Election Coordination Committee by vice president Rahul Gandhi. This is the only committee in the party headed by Gandhi and its other members include Madhusudan Mistry, Ahmed Patel, Digvijaya Singh, Janardhan Dwivedi and Jairam Ramesh. Former Union minister CP Joshi is also an addition to this elite panel giving a clear indication that the two new inductees have a bright future in the party. And who says hard work doesn’t pay?

Flying right over the poverty line
Planning Commission member Saumitra Chaudhari learnt a key lesson on how to avoid a controversy — go missing when it hits the roof — from the panel’s deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia. On the night the panel released its low poverty line, both Chaudhari and Ahluwalia took outbound flights from the country. And they returned by the time the controversy was dying down. Chaudhari had to face all the fire when the panel had released the last round of poverty data as Ahluwalia was not in India. This time, there was no official from the Planning Commission to rebut the arguments against the poverty line. Ducking below the radar.

Back on centrestage
The Congress leadership has finally rehabilitated sulking Chhattisgarh leader Ajit Jogi. He has been included not only in the state election committee that shortlists poll candidates but also in the coordination panel. His wife Renu Jogi has also been appointed as one of the vice-presidents of the state unit. AICC treasurer and veteran leader Motilal Vora is also on both the panels. His son Arun Vora has also been named as one of the general secretaries. The relatives of slain leaders Nand Kumar Patel (Umesh Patel), VC Shukla (Pratibha Pandey), Mahendra Karma (Deepak Karma) and Uday Mudaliyar (Jitendra Mudaliyar) have all been given important party posts. Keeping it all in the family.

In overdrive after stepping down
Many in the Congress are surprised at Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s sudden change in stand on Telangana. It is said that as Congress general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, he was against the formation of a separate state but became pro-Telangana soon after being divested of his organisational responsibilities. He is also said to be the brains behind the proposal to include the two districts of Rayalaseema — Kurnool and Anantpur — in Telangana to make it Rayala-Telangana. Over the past few days, Azad has been contacting leaders from all the three regions of the state. Apparently, the person currently in charge, party general secretary Digvijaya Singh is upset with the move and brought it to the notice of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Azad was also forced to cancel his special press briefing for the Telugu media on Sunday. However, he later spoke to a few select journalists from the state. A complete volte face.

Window to the electorate
She may be busy managing the Lok Sabha constituencies of her mother Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli) and brother Rahul Gandhi (Amethi), but Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also on many occasions gives her inputs on organisational matters. She is said to have coined the name for the social media platform created for Congress, Youth Congress and NSUI leaders to discuss contemporary issues and share knowledge and ideas. It so happened that the IT team of the Youth Congress was looking for a domain name for the platform when Priyanka came up with Letting all opinions come in.

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