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Dilli Gupshup

Last updated on: October 27, 2012 13:17 IST

They want to be India's new external affairs minister!

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Who is the BJP's real star maker?

Why is President Pranab Mukherjee visiting places of religious significance?

What is Sonia Gandhi worried about?

Why was Jairam Ramesh's mother angry with him?

Catch up with all the sizzling political gossip in this week's Dilli Gupshup.

India is likely to have a new external affairs minister soon.

Incumbent SM Krishna is apparently on his way out and, considering his lacklustre performance, it is not clear if he will be offered another portfolio.

Meanwhile, many Congress stalwarts -- including Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath and Anand Sharma -- are lobbying strongly for the post.

Sibal, who is currently the human resource and telecom minister, has reportedly turned down the law ministry, which is likely to be snatched away from the 'tainted' Salman Khurshid. Yup, that's one more minister who's on his way out!

As far as Sharma -- who heads the Union ministries for commerce and industry and textiles -- is concerned, a section of the Congress is keen to see him as chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.

They are confident that, in the coming assembly polls, the Congress will be able to edge out the BJP government led by Prem Kumar Dhumal.

Kamal Nath, who heads the urban development ministry and has 10 Lok Sabha victories under his belt, has little chance of making it, as the influential Prime Minister's Office does not like him.

Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad has high ambitions too. He wants to be shifted to either the railways or the petroleum ministry.

Click on NEXT to find out who's the BJP's real star maker is...


Image: Clockwise from top left: SM Krishna, Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma and Kamal Nath
Photographs: SM Krishna, Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath/ Reuters; Anand Sharma, by Jay Mandal/On Assignment

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Narendra Modi, the star maker!

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Do you want to know who the stars in the BJP are?

All you need to do is check the list of leaders who have been invited by Narendra Modi to campaign in Gujarat for the forthcoming assembly polls.

This, apparently, is a sure-fire sign of political ascendance within the party despite the fact that a section of the RSS-BJP is wary of projecting Modi as their prime ministerial candidate.

Those BJP leaders who have been invited to chip in for the Gujarat assembly polls, says our BJP insider, are flaunting their role.

Those who have been ignored are struggling to explain why they have failed to get themselves noticed by the all-powerful Gujarat chief minister.

Click on NEXT to find out why President Pranab Mukherjee is visiting places of religious significance...


Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the cover of Time magazine.
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Is the President praying for India?

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Has President Pranab Mukherjee become more religious?

Since moving into Rashtrapati Bhavan, he has been visiting places of religious significance.

The President has already been to Tirupati.

He recently celebrated Durga Puja in his home state, West Bengal (don't miss Rediff.com's exclusive coverage of the event!).

And, in November, the President plans to visit Shirdi.

Click on NEXT to find out why Jairam Ramesh was yelled at by his mother...


Image: From our archives: Pranab Mukherjee with his family members during the Durga Puja celebrations at his ancestral home in this 2011 photograph.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

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When Jairam Ramesh was yelled at!

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Union Minister for Rural Development and Sanitation Jairam Ramesh recently found himself at the receiving end from a rather unexpected quarter.

Jairam's mother, who lives in Bengaluru, called up her son to reprimand him over his 'temple-toilet' statement (The minister recently said the country has more temples than toilets, leading to protests by right-wing Hindu outfits; rediff readers, too, had plenty to say here).

For once, Jairam was forced to remain mum as his octogenarian mummy told him exactly what she thought about his 'irresponsible' statement.

Many Congressmen were later heard wishing party leader Sonia Gandhi had administered a similar dose to the senior Congress leader.

Click on next to find out what Sonia Gandhi is most worried about...


Image: Union Minister Jairam Ramesh didn't expect his mother to be angry with him.
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/ rediff.com

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Sonia Gandhi's changing priorities!

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While the UPA government seems cornered by corruption and civil rights movements, the Alliance's leading fire-fighter Sonia Gandhi seems to have other priorities.

The Congress president is keen on the art of restoration and has requested her long-time friend, Padma Shri Sunita Kohli, to assist the Presidential secretariat in this matter.

An interior designer and architectural restorer, Kohli is known for having restored Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Parliament House Colonnade, the Prime Minister's Office and Hyderabad House in New Delhi.

In fact, at a recent state banquet, Sonia Gandhi was seen in animated conversation with President Pranab Mukherjee's secretary, Omita Paul.

Many found their camaraderie rather unusual since Paul -- who assisted Pranabda in both the finance and defence ministries -- is not considered close to Sonia.


Image: Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi beams for the cameras.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/ Reuters

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