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Will Modi contest from UP's Sultanpur to unsettle Rahul?

Last updated on: January 4, 2013 16:35 IST

Will Modi contest from UP's Sultanpur to unsettle Rahul?



Will Nitin Gadkari manage to swing a second term as BJP president?

Why were arch-rivals Anand Sharma and Virbhadra Singh hugging each other?

Who is the prime minister's favourite troubleshooter?

All this, and more, in this week's Dilli Gupshup.

He's the eternal prince-in-waiting. Only, this time, it's not the king who's unwilling to abdicate; it's the prince who seems unwilling to step up to the throne.

Will 2013 finally be the year in which Rahul Gandhi takes his 'rightful' place (as seen by a sycophantic Congress) on the political firmament?

Some Congressmen were heard speculating the prospect in the countdown to the New Year. It was clear, as the discussion progressed however, that the optimistic few were in a hopeless minority.

At one point, there was near-panic as a senior Congress leader hinted at the possibility of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi contesting the next Lok Sabha polls from Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

Sultanpur is close to Amethi -- which is Congress General Secretary's Rahul Gandhi's bastion -- and Rae Bareli, which is his mother and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi's constituency.

Congress insiders claim that the Gujarat nu sher has already conducted a survey in Sultanpur; the result, apparently, is overwhelmingly in Modi's favour.

If this is true, Rahul Gandhi should be a very worried man!

Please click on NEXT to find out if Nitin Gadkari will continue to lead the BJP...

Image: Will Rahul Gandhi finally take over the reins of the Congress party?
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/ Reuters


Will Nitin Gadkari's reign continue?

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If the Congress has linked its fate with Rahul Gandhi's political future, the Bharatiya Janata Party seems to have hooked its fate to that of Nitin Gadkari's.

Considering how laidback both these leaders are, there are those who wonder if this is such a good idea.

As of now, there are firm indications that Gadkari will get a second term in office.

His vocal opponents -- namely Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha -- have fallen silent, while the Jethmalanis – both father Ram and son Mahesh – have been silenced (temporarily at least).

Those who like to keep themselves abreast of the inner workings of the BJP say that RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat has asked the BJP's leading lights L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh to persuade others to accept Gadkari's second term.

If everything goes as per Bhagwat's wishes, Gadkari will file his nomination for a second term on January 10.

Please click on NEXT to find out why archrivals Anand Sharma and Virbhadra Singh were hugging each other...


Image: Is Nitin Gadkari headed for a second term as BJP president?
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/ Reuters

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Success and its strange bedfellows

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When it comes to playing to the gallery, Congress leaders can beat anybody in Bollywood.

This was evident in the manner in which Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma greeted his arch-rival and now Himachal Pradesh chief minister, Virbhadra Singh.

The meeting ground for the two foes was the celebration surrounding the Congress party's foundation day.

As soon as Sharma saw Singh, he rushed to hug him tightly.

Singh, too, would not leave Sharma's hand and it looked like two long-lost friends were meeting after a long time.

Congress veterans, including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, were seen smiling in amusement at this newfound camaraderie.

Please click on NEXT to find out who's the prime minister's man-in-need.


Image: Why were these arch-rivals hugging each other?
Photographs: Chip East/ Reuters (Anand Sharma, left); Fayaz Kabli/ Reuters (Virbhadra Singh)

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PC: the PM's favourite troubleshooter!

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Maybe, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram enjoys having his fingers in many pies.

Or, maybe, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh just can't trust anyone else when it comes to sensitive matters that are a hot topic with the aam aadmi.

Whatever the reason, it was Chidambaram who was responsible for finalising the reference points when the prime minister decided to set up a commission in the wake of the horrific rape that has finally shaken India's collective conscience!

It's not just the prime minister, though, who seems to turn to Chidambaram in times of difficulty.

At a Cabinet meeting, Singh asked Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar to give their inputs as well, but the ministers said they were in complete agreement with Chidambaram's draft.

Please click on NEXT to find out why Jairam Ramesh is in a fine old sulk...


Image: P Chidamabaram, the prime minister's blue-eyed boy.
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/ Reuters

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Will Rahul Gandhi hear Jairam Ramesh's plea?


Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh is in quite a sulk these days.

Jairam is unhappy over losing his ex-officio membership of the Planning Commission and plans to take up the matter with Rahul Gandhi.

Congress insiders are watching this little by-play eagerly to see if the Congress general secretary will intervene in the matter.

The outcome, for these silent watchers, will indicate the extent of Ramesh's clout as well as give a sign of Rahul baba's 'bigger role' in matters of state.


Image: Will Rahul Gandhi bail out Jairam Ramesh?
Photographs: Jay Mandal/ On Assignment