* Ayodhya, once more
Rajnath Singh, not Sushma Swaraj, will lead the debate for the BJP on the Liberhan Commission Report that was tabled by the government in Parliament after its contents were revealed by the Indian Express last week. The choice of Singh at the party forefrontor his appropriation of that spaceis an indication that the Liberhan report has become an opportunity for disparate elements of the parivar to assert their pro-Hindutva credentials in a desperate bid to reclaim lost relevance.
It has also encouraged marginalised actors of a longago movement to try and claw their way back into the headlines. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was involved in the Ayodhya movement says VHPs Ashok Singhal, and Advani has no business calling December 6, 1992 the saddest day of his life. It was the happiest day of his life, announces Vinay Katiyar. And Uma Bharti proclaims her willingness to be hanged if they think I was responsible for the demolition.
Kalyan Singh, chief minister of UP when the Babri masjid was brought down at Ayodhya, seizes the opportunity to make his way back into the BJP, now that his liaison with Mulayam Singh Yadav has soured, by taking back the regret he expressed at the demolition while tying up with the SP.
The report has thrown up unanswered questionsabout Atal Bihari Vajpayees involvement, for instance, and Narasimha Raos culpability, in one of the most shameful episodes in democratic India. But not many in public life today are seeking resolution or closure. They are looking, instead, for ways to make political capital from the born again issue.
* Rosaiah, after all
When the Congress Legislature Party in Andhra Pradesh requested Sonia Gandhi to select its new leader, it seemed to be part of a well-settled Congress routine. After all, in state after state, in similar circumstances, the CLP has gone through the motions to finally leave it to the high command. But this resolution moved by late chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddys son, Jaganmohan, was notable.
It signals that a solution may have been hammered out to a three-month long political stalemate. Ever since YSRs death in a chopper crash, there has been a standoff between the Jaganmohan camp which has been pressing for the sons elevation to the office his father held, and the high command which is believed to have reservations about the 100-day MPs ability to be CM of a crucial state.
Now with Jagan moving the resolution to leave the leadership decision to the high command, the message is that incumbent chief minister K Rosaiah will continue as chief minister, and that Jagans claim may be accommodated in other ways. Already, YSRs wife and Jagans mother has been fielded from the Pulivendula, the Assembly segment represented by YSR.
* How to remember 26/11
The first anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks did not pass without stoking controversy. The BJP confronted the Congress in Parliament with LK Advani alleging tardy relief for victims of the terror strikes. This provoked Pranab Mukherjee to accuse the BJP of attempting to politicise the attacks. He pointed out that the BJP had tried to make political capital from 26/11 in the Assembly elections right after the attacks last yearand failed.
Then, political ripples were touched off in an already politicised Mumbai police by revelations in the book written by the wife of one of the police officers who died in the attack. The last word is yet to be said on that controversy.