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Rediff.com  » News » Dilli Gupshup: Rahul Gandhi won't budge in Parliament... Here's why!

Dilli Gupshup: Rahul Gandhi won't budge in Parliament... Here's why!

Last updated on: February 20, 2013 18:32 IST

Rahul Gandhi won't budge in Parliament... Here's why!

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Why is Sushil Kumar Shinde eyeing the external affairs ministry?

How Sachin Pilot is truly his father's son...

Why has Montek Singh Ahluwalia become so secretive?

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

It's not just alive and well, it's actually thriving in the Congress.

Still don't know what we are talking about? Sycophancy, what else!

When Rahul Gandhi was anointed the Congress vice president, party members fell over each in their effort to show the most joy.

With the Budget session of Parliament scheduled to begin on February 21, some of the more influential Gandhi bhakts found a new way to show their loyalty to Rahul Gandhi.

They wanted Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath to move Rahul forward and seat him in the row meant for Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and other UPA stalwarts.

The idea was to accord 'due importance' to the newly elevated vice president of the Congress.

But Rahul, who prefers to remain under the radar, has vetoed this attempt.

Perhaps he still does not want to speak on matters of governance.

Please click on NEXT to find out why Sushil Kumar Shinde no longer wants to head the Union home ministry...



Image: Rahul Gandhi, seen here with Congress candidate Subal Bhowmik, campaigned in the recent Tripura election but prefers to be quiet in Parliament.
Photographs: Jayanta Dey/Reuters

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What Shinde wants... what he really, really wants!

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Since the Afzal Guru execution, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's star is on the ascendant (see last week's Dilli Gupshup for the tale of Shinde's triumph).

But the minister, who is otherwise famed for his foot-in-the-mouth affliction, is said to be getting disillusioned with the 'home' portfolio.

Shinde feels that working in the North Block keeps him in the spotlight 24x7 for, unfortunately, the wrong reasons.

He's apparently keen on moving to the external affairs ministry, which works closely with the Prime Minister's Office.

Here, the South Block mandarins do most of the work, leaving the minister to speak from prepared speeches at international fora.
 
There's just one flaw in Shinde's plan; incumbent Salman Khurshid is in no mood to vacate the MEA.

Please click on NEXT to find out why Sachin Pilot is becoming increasingly popular...


Image: Shinde would like to head the external affairs ministry, but Salman Khurshid is in no mood to oblige.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi (Sushil Kumar Shinde); Hitesh Harisinghani (Salman Khurshid)

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Like father, like son

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Sachin Pilot is shaping up to be as astute a politician as his father was.

He recently hosted a 'Kisan lunch' in the national capital and one can judge his popularity by the fact that the event was a huge draw.
 
What was striking was the ease with which young Pilot interacted with the media, explaining finer points of statecraft and sharing gossip and background on specific issues.
 
The sensitivity relating to the off-the-record conversations was maintained by both sides; a rarity in this age of cutthroat competition.
 
Veteran journalists were later heard reminiscing how he reminded them of his late father, Rajesh Pilot, who was easily one of the most popular Congress leaders as far as the media was concerned.

Please click on NEXT to find out why Montek Singh Ahluwalia is in trouble...


Image: Sachin Pilot is following in his late father's footsteps.
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Montek sets a new tradition

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It has been a tradition of sorts to restrict media entry at the North Block (particularly the section that forms part of the Union finance ministry) during the countdown to the Union budget.

But, this time around, restrictions have been put in place at Yojna Bhawan -- where the Planning Commission is housed -- as well.

This step is said to be the brainchild of Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Ahluwalia is apparently concerned about the possible 'leaks' of the proposed budgetary grants to the states and ministries that are suggested by the Planning Commission.

Unfortunately for Ahluwalia, his gesture is not going down well with the media corps.

Please click on NEXT to find out who is desperately trying to bridge his differences with the comptroller and auditor general of India....


Image: Montek Singh Ahluwalia banned the media from Yojna Bhawan.
Photographs: Courtesy planningcommission.nic.in

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CP Joshi's peace offering!

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Union Surface Transport Minister C P Joshi is reportedly keen to bridge his differences with Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai.

Like some UPA ministers, Joshi has gone public criticising the CAG's observations about Coalgate and other scams.

Now that the CAG has reportedly decided to scrutinise several national highway projects closely, Joshi seems to be worried.

With the national elections inching closer, Joshi perhaps views the CAG's interest as a sign of trouble.

It remains to be seen, however, if his behind-the-scene peace initiatives bear fruit.


Image: Union Surface Transport Minister C P Joshi has offered CAG Vinod Rai an olive branch.
Photographs: Courtesy cpjoshi.com

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