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Dilli Gupshup: Will Manmohan Singh be forced to retire?

Last updated on: February 4, 2013 21:20 IST

Will Manmohan Singh be forced to retire?

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Why does Jairam Ramesh want to quit the Cabinet?

Which heavyweight akhara will host the Gandhi family at the Kumbh Mela?

Was bad Vaastu the reason why Nitin Gadkari failed to make history as the first person to head the BJP for a second term?

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

You can't help but feel sorry for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh -- what an unenviable spot he finds himself in!

Everyone's constantly eyeing his chair, wondering when he will vacate it for a seemingly reluctant Rahul Gandhi.

Which brings us to the question: Will the good doctor get another term in the Rajya Sabha?

The prime minister's current tenure ends on June 14, 2013. In all likelihood, the genial octogenarian will get another term without asking or lobbying for it.

However, a section of the Congress is reportedly doing some rather loud, rather confused out-of-the-box thinking.

What -- they ponder -- if Singh insists on retiring, vacates the office of prime minister, appeals to Rahul Gandhi to take over and early Lok Sabha polls are declared?

If you think this scenario is bizarre, check out Plan B – which is even more... for want of a better word... strange!

Plab B has been suggested in case Singh retires and a reticent Rahul declines the prime minister's kursi (chair). In this scenario, current Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde could be the next stop-gap prime minister.

One wonders which convoluted brain came up with this solution, considering the amount of trouble Shinde -- who seems to suffer from an incurable foot-in-the-mouth disease -- has gotten into ever since he became home minister.

A Congress insider explains the reasoning, thus: A Dalit-cum-minorities alliance/resurgence would be able check Narendra Modi's tremendous appeal.

Remember, if this actually happens – as you know, nothing is impossible in politics -- you heard it here first.

Please click on NEXT to find out about the big AICC rejig...


Image: Will Manmohan Singh's retirement force Rahul to become prime minister?
Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

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The big AICC rejig

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A massive restructuring of the All India Congress Committee secretariat is on the cards before the Budget session of Parliament.

Here's a sneak peak of what's most likely to happen.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is all set to lose his organisational responsibility as point person for Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Former Union minister for information and broadcasting Ambika Soni is likely to get an office at 24, Akbar Road; her main role, though, will be to act as a counterweight to Sonia Gandhi's political secretary, Ahmed Patel.

Former Union minister fkr social justice and empowerment Mukul Wasnik is expected to be shunted to Mumbai as the state Congress chief.

Besides Ambika Soni, Team Rahul is slated to have two more heavyweights -- Digvijaya Singh and Jairam Ramesh.

Ramesh, in fact, is taking his new responsibility quite seriously. Last heard, he was contemplating quitting the Union Cabinet to work full-time at the party office.

Please click on NEXT to find out about who will be visiting the Kumbh Mela shortly...


Image: Team Rahul in the AICC: (Clockwise) Ambika Soni, Digvijaya Singh and Jairam Ramesh
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters (Ambika Soni); Jay Mandal (Jairam Ramesh); Paresh Gandhi (Digvijaya Singh)

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The Gandhis and the Ganga

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Nobody can resist the pull of the Kumbh Mela; and that includes India's first family in politics.

If everything goes according to plan, the three Gandhis -- Rahul, Priyanka and Sonia -- will be taking a dip in the holy river Ganga at the ongoing Kumbh Mela shortly.

AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi was – in preparation for this very important event -- spotted in Allahabad recently.

Dwivedi's mission, it is believed, was to get a heavyweight akhara to host the Gandhis.

United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi had taken a dip at the Allahabad Kumbh 12 years ago.

For Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and his sister, Priyanka, however, it will be their first experience at the Kumbh.

Please click on NEXT to find out how Rajnath Singh is ensuring he does not have the same problems as Nitin Gadkari...


Image: A priest performs the evening arti at the banks of the river Ganga/
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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Was bad Vaastu the reason behind Gadkari's fall?

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When Rajnath Singh took over as BJP president in a surprise move a couple of weeks ago, one of the first things he did was to change the direction of the chair meant for the party president.

Apparently, this new change has been dictated by Singh's belief in Vaastu.

No wonder then, BJP leaders sympathetic towards his predecessor -- the beleaguered Nitin Gadkari -- were in mourning.

They felt that, though Gadkari brought in many changes at 11, Ashoka Road (the BJP headquarters), he had missed out on an elementary, but important one (the chair) that matters most in politics.

Please click on NEXT to find out why Union Transport Minister C P Joshi has shifted his focus from Rajasthan...


Image: BJP President Rajnath Singh is apparently a strong believer in Vaastu.
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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Why has Joshi changed his focus?

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Union Surface Transport Minister C P Joshi is a changed man these days.

Singh, who was notorious for spending more time in his home state, Rajasthan, than his ministry in Delhi can now be found at Transport Bhavan, attending meetings and personally monitoring highway projects.

This transformation apparently took place after the All India Congress Committee's Jaipur jamboree, when Joshi finally realised that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot would not be replaced.

The former psychology professor is said to have motivated himself to become involved with his ministry's work.

Would it earn him a much-needed shabash from Rahul Gandhi?


Image: Union Transport Minister C P Joshi, seen here with Rahul Gandhi and Omar and Farooq Abdullah, is now focusing on his ministry instead of his state.
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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