Keeping tabs on the political grapevineUpdated: Aug 05, 2013 23:50 IST
Taking stock of the situation
The surveys may show that the Congress’s chips are down in the next general elections, but finance minister P Chidambaram believes otherwise. In his meeting with BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Yashwant Sinha last week, he was told not to push the insurance Bill and leave the matter to the next government. Chidambaram quipped to the BJP leaders, “Why do you want to waste time? As it is, we are going to retain power so let’s do it now.” Reading the tea leaves.
Doing the write thing always
Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne verbally informed the defence ministry that he would take two days leave after his official four-day trip to the US towards July end. Wary of being caught on the wrong foot, given his past experiences with the air force, defence minister AK Antony politely sent a message to the Air Headquarters that the air chief should send his request in writing and mention with whom he would be staying. After much fretting and fuming, the Air Headquarters decided to take written permission. The sub-text of Antony’s message was clear: the Indian armed forces should be careful about obliging arms contractors as New Delhi is the largest importer of weapons in the world. Forewarned is forearmed.
A reputation for making threats
The less-than-diplomatic ways of a top executive of an international lobbying firm has created a buzz in political circles here. In an interaction with a Lok Sabha MP, he’s believed to have warned that regardless of the outcome of the 2014 polls, all those who are opposed to his powerful client would have little to salvage from whatever was left of their reputations. The cart before the horse, surely.
Much bickering in the ranks
Chief ministers and PCC chiefs are at loggerheads in many Congress-ruled states. Some of the examples are Kerala CM Oommen Chandy and state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala, Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit and PCC chief JP Agarwal, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and state party chief G Parameshwara, and Andhra Pradesh CM Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana. The latest to join the club are Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna and state party chief Yashpal Arya. Of late, the Bahuguna camp has been quite active against Arya, who is also a cabinet minister in the Uttarakhand government, and even approached the party’s central leadership with a request to strictly enforce the one-person-one post formula norm in the state as had been done at the national level. However, the Congress leadership told the warring groups, in no uncertain terms, to stop bickering and focus on relief and rehabilitation work in the flood-ravaged state. Opening the floodgates of hostility.
Not quite resigned to this course
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy is under tremendous pressure from Congress leaders from Seemandhra to quit in the wake of the party’s decision to split the state. He also signed a resolution adopted by Seemandhra leaders, including state ministers and legislators, urging the Congress leadership to revoke its decision to create a separate state of Telangana. Apparently, the central leadership has disapproved of the move and conveyed to the chief minister that if he failed to rein in the leaders, it would explore the option of imposing President’s rule in the state. Now, Reddy, who in all probability will be the last chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh, is trying to persuade his ministerial and party colleagues from Seemandhra to take back their resignations and instead oppose the move in the state assembly. Caught in a cleft stick here.
Propagating the gene pool
In another addition to the fledgling BJP youth brigade, party SC morcha chief Sanjay Paswan appointed Kumari Shruti Bangaru, daughter of former BJP president Bangaru Laxman, as secretary of the SC morcha. This is the first stint in politics for Shruti, an MTech in environmental technology from Hyderabad. At a recent conclave of the morcha, Bangaru Laxman himself attended and spoke. Laxman, who resigned as BJP chief after Tehelka’s Defencegate exposé, said that he was very happy that he —
now just an ordinary party worker — was cordially invited and also asked to speak. Coming to the aid of the party.