Will he? Won’t he?
On September 9 last year, the Congress Working Committee extended Sonia Gandhi’s term as party president by a year. Though the extension period is now over, there is no sign that in the near future Sonia will step down and make way for her son, who was appointed vice-president at the party’s plenary session in Jaipur in 2013. Incidentally, it is now more than the stipulated three years since the last plenary session of the party.
The delay in adhering to the provisions of the party constitution is entirely because Rahul Gandhi cannot make up his mind as to when he would like to take on the onerous responsibility of heading the party.
His procrastination is perhaps linked to the coming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. In the meantime, most party functionaries report to him and not his mother.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special affection for US President Barack Obama is evident from the fact that he is ever eager for yet another meeting with the American President, whose term ends in January next year.
Modi’s farewell meeting with Obama was supposed to have taken place in Washington in June. But at the recent G20, Modi missed no opportunity to buttonhole Obama for a chat and managed to speak to him thrice. In Laos, at the ASEAN summit, Indian officials requested yet another meeting with Obama.
Since this was not on the schedule, the interaction had to be hastily arranged at the last minute by cutting into the time reserved for the official banquet. Clearly, Modi cannot get enough of Obama.
Chief election commissioners have high level of security when they are in office. But Navin Chawla is the only CEC who retained his official security long after he relinquished the post. Chawla was first provided Z security by the Delhi Police and later the Rajasthan Police took over the job when former Congress chief minister Ashok Gehlot was in power. Chawla’s security was finally withdrawn many months after BJP chief minister Vasundhara Raje assumed office. But the former CEC appears to be still insecure. Recently, he further raised the height of his garden wall to some 10 feet and put layers of wire netting and spikes all around.
Word of caution
Congressman Jairam Ramesh is to author a biography of Indira Gandhi. That his book has been authorised by the powers that be seems clear from the fact that Sonia Gandhi and other family members as well as senior Congress leaders have agreed to share their thoughts on the late prime minister with him. Ramesh has already collected some 250 to 300 letters written by the former prime minister to senior Congress leaders, party workers and political personalities. Ramesh would do well to keep in mind the example of Pupul Jayakar. She was one of Indira Gandhi’s closest friends, but the family completely cut her off after the release of her very readable biography of Mrs G, which was considered much too candid.
When minister for water resources Uma Bharti announced she was launching a padyatra from Gangotri to Gangasagar, it was assumed in the media that it was part of a campaign strategy for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. But this is not so. Her journey will be from Gangasagar in Bengal to Gangotri and not the other way around. She will take part in the padyatra only on weekends and reach UP next year, by which time the Assembly elections would be over. Nor is her journey a religious pilgrimage. It is entirely to study the state of pollution of the river Ganga.