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Pranab and Manmohan to be Rahul’s guiding lights in politics, economics

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Pranab and Manmohan to be Rahul’s guiding lights in politics, economics

Former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, and former PM of the country, Manmohan Singh, are expected to play a crucial role in deciding the strategy of the Congress in the near future. Right from the days of Indira Gandhi, grandmother of Rahul Gandhi, Pranab has been an advisor. He has a good political understanding and everyone appreciates that. Apart from this, he has a good rapport with most parties. That is why it is being said that if the Congress has to follow alliance politics and wants to forge a mahagathbandhan, then Pranab can play an important role. There might not be any other leader who is respected by Mamata Banerjee and the CPM equally. So, Rahul has to pay attention to Pranab in political matters.

Manmohan Singh is expected to advise Rahul in economic matters.

This has been indicated by the activeness of the former PM in the Gujarat elections. Earlier, it was understood that Manmohan is an economic intellectual and can’t persuade the common man on other issues. So, the party didn’t rope him in much during elections. But recently, he defined the GST and demonetisation in simple words, proving his political prowess too. When he becomes active on economic matters, P Chidambaram and Anand Sharma are bound to fade into the background.

However, apart from Pranab and Manmohan, Rahul will build a separate team of advisors. That is why sources in the Congress are saying that Rahul is hesitating in formally appointing a political secretary, like Sonia Gandhi. Who will be in Rahul’s team and who will be appointed as the political secretary, if at all, will be clear only after the Gujarat elections. Some say Rahul will try to maintain balance among old veterans and new leaders in the organisation. But a big change in the spokespersons’ team is on the cards.

TALKS WITH HURRIYAT

At last, the interlocutor appointed by the Central Government has started talks with the Hurriyat Conference leaders to find ways of ensuring permanent peace in the Kashmir Valley. Earlier, there was a lot of hullabaloo over this. Seeing the Government’s view towards the separatists, people were apprehensive that there would be no talks with them. But the day former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma was appointed as the interlocutor in the Valley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh made it clear that he was authorised to talk to anyone according to his wisdom and understanding. At that time, it was clear that he could talk to Hurriyat leaders also.

However, he has spoken to Hurriyat leaders of the second line. Last month, he talked to Abdul Gani Bhat. There is no official clarity over the talks, but it is confirmed that the meeting was indeed held. Dineshwar has also spoken to one more leader of the Hurriyat. Now, it is being said that he is trying to meet leaders of both factions of the Hurriyat Conference, who are not keen on talks as they consider it a futile affair.

Liberal Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, extremist Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and JKLF’s Yasin Malik have kept away from the dialogue table. But it is being said that Dineshwar will try to approach them in the next phase. However, the PDP has welcomed talks with separatists. Many experts feel that this is the first step towards resuming a dialogue with Pakistan. If talks with the separatists prove fruitful and infiltration from Pakistan reduces, things could get better for the two countries.

RAHUL’S AMETHI SEAT

At a time when Rahul is finally going to become the Congress president, he is facing turmoil in his parliamentary constituency, Amethi. In the local body elections, the Congress lost badly in Amethi. The party had not filed any candidate on the two seats of chairman and its two candidates were defeated. This is the traditional seat of the Gandhi-Nehru family. Sanjay and Rajiv Gandhi became MPs from this seat, and Rahul has been an MP from here for three consecutive terms. But the local body election results have been a big jolt for the party.

That is why it is being said that there is pressure, right from local leaders and the central leadership, on Rahul to change his seat. There is another reason for this: The BJP has been aggressive for this seat. It is being said that the party has prepared a plan to arrange a meeting of Chandrama, chairman of Amethi Nagar Panchayat, and Mehesh Pratap, chairman of Jaishpur Nagar Palika Parishad, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Some days ago, Amit Shah was in Amethi and Smriti Irani was also present with him.

Smriti had fought her last election from Amethi and given a good fight to Rahul. Even after the elections, she has been making her presence felt in the constituency on a regular basis. So, there is a chance that Rahul might change his seat. Many experts feel that he might go to Raebareli, from where Sonia is an MP. Probably, she will not fight the next time.

The Congress leaders say that in the next Lok Sabha Elections, when Rahul gives a direct challenge to Modi, it will not be advisable for the Gandhi scion to change his seat as it would not send a positive message. So, despite all the pressure, he will not change his seat; he might rather fight from two seats like Modi did in the last elections. So, Rahul may fight from one of the seats of South India also.

SP AND MUSLIM VOTES

The results of the local body elections in UP have made the Samajwadi Party restless. This is a case of misfortune in the very first adventure for former CM of UP and national president of the Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh Yadav. Some days ago, Akhilesh was elected as the party president for five years at a grand convention held in Agra. And after that, this was the first election in which the party faced a huge defeat. Right from the elections for Mayor to Nagar Palika and Nagar Parishad, the SP’s performance has been dismal.

At 16 places, elections for Mayor were held, and at nine places, deposits of the SP candidates were seized. Interestingly, most of the areas where the SP candidates could not save their deposit are in western UP, with a significant Muslim presence, including Firozabad, Mathura, Agra, Saharanpur, Muradabad, Aligarh, and Ghaziabad. Apart from these, the SP candidates from Kanpur and Jhansi also lost their deposit. This puts a big question mark on Akhilesh’s leadership. Are Muslims distancing themselves from the SP?

The founder of the party, Mulayam Singh Yadav, has also expressed worry over Muslim voters. The analysis of the results reveals an interesting fact: In the Muslim-dominated Aligarh, the SP’s Mujahid Kidwai got only 16,000 votes, while the BSP’s Muhmamnd Furkan got 1.25 lakh votes. In Meerut, the BSP’s Sunita Verma got 2.34 lakh votes and the SP’s Deepu Manothia got only 49,000. In Agra, the SP’s Rahul Chaturvedi got 47,000 votes, while the BSP’s Digambar Singh got 1.43 lakh votes.

It is being said that the BSP’s core votes, the Dalits, voted en masse for the party, and so the Muslims saw in it better chances of winning the elections. By the equation of Dalits and Muslims, the BSP captured the Meerut and Aligarh seat. At the same time, the BSP lost the Saharanpur seat by only 2,000 votes. Mulayam is apprehensive that Muslims might go with the BSP. The Akhilesh faction is arguing otherwise and saying that Muslims will vote for the BSP where Dalit voters are in majority otherwise Muslims are with the SP. This might be an indication of joining hands of the BSP and SP.

KUMAR’S PRESSURE TACTICS

AAP leader Kumar Vishwas is putting pressure on his party to declare him the candidate for Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for next month. But sources say that no pressure will work on Arvind Kejriwal. He has made up his mind about the three candidates and Vishwas is not in the picture. Vishwas is aware of this fact and that is why he targeted Kejriwal at the function of the party’s fifth anniversary at Ramlila Ground. Last Sunday, he also called a meeting of party workers at the AAP office. In this meeting, no MLA or big leader was present. A few workers attended the meeting, where Vishwas vowed to weed out the virus of the party. The poet-leader also said the party must apologise to the leaders who have left the party and an attempt must be made for their ghar wapsi. Soon after his statement, the party officially rejected any such possibility.

Sources say Vishwas is rooting for the comeback of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan as part of pressure tactics. When these two were ousted from the AAP, Vishwas had given a statement against them. But now he thinks pressure can be put on Kejriwal, taking the names of Bhushan and Yadav. Vishwas said earlier the decision on the Rajya Sabha candidates was to be taken at the party national executive, but now Kejriwal alone will have the last word.

 
 
 
 
 

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