Dilli Gupshup: Bachke rehna, Rahul
Pachauri's jaadu ki jhappi...
The CEC's troublesome travels...
Manmohanji's women woes...
All this and more in this week's Dilli Gupshup.
Watch out, Rahul! Team Gadkari is here. The time has come, the BJP has decided, to battle Rahul Gandhi's 'youth' strategy.
So here's what they are doing! After searching high and low, BJP boss Nitin Gadkari has shortlisted 300 people to counter Rahulbaba's appeal.
These 'youngsters' have a couple of things in common -- they are under the age of 45 (gulp!) and will undergo special training as soon as the Uttar Pradesh polls are over.
And training them will be -- hold your breath! -- BJP stalwarts (no spring chickens these) like Murlidhar Rao, Jagat Praakash Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan, Sudheendra Kulkarni and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.
Please click Next to read about Pachauri's jaadu ki jhappi...
Image: BJP chief Nitin Gadkari vs Congress's anointed heir, Rahul Gandhi
Pachauri's jaadu ki jhappi
Pankaj Pachauri's attempt to do a 'Munnabhai' has landed him in 'protocol' trouble.
At a meeting of state governors at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Pachauri -- the former NDTV anchor was recently appointed communication advisor in the Prime Minister's Office -- rushed to warmly hug some governors, who also happened to be old acquaintances.
Alas, Jaadu ki jhappis aren't politically correct... at least not in this instance.
Pachauri was served a gentle reminder by senior officials to avoid displaying his affections quite so openly.
Please click Next to read about the CEC's troublesome travels...
Image: Pankaj Pachauri, fine journalist and the PM's media advisor
Photographs: Rediff Archives
What's cooking between the UPA and the EC?
The binoculars are out in New Delhi, and it's not the birds that are the target.
Apparently, certain political parties are scrutinising the relationship between the UPA and the Election Commission.
The point of contention? Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi's frequent overseas visits.
The leaders of these political parties claim they smell a rat, particularly since one estimate says the CEC has been abroad over 40 times since assuming office.
Come March 11, he is scheduled to go abroad yet again.
Those doing the information-gathering have secured another piece of evidence -- the CEC's visits are cleared by the Union law ministry and subsequently paid for by the Union government.
What's going on here, we wonder.
Please click Next to read about Manmohanji's women woes...
Image: Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi flanked by Election Commissioners V S Sampath, right, and H S Brahma
Frightened of the press?
What's the prime minister going to do on March 8?
If certain senior Congress leaders and UPA managers have their way, Dr Manmohan Singh could celebrate International Women's Day talking to women scribes.
Yet, the date is far from fixed.
What's worrying his advisors is the electoral verdict due on March 6, which could prove tricky: What if the scribes ask the PM some rather uncomfortable questions (which they will!)?
However, enthusiastic elements within the PMO feel the Congress' likely victory in Punjab will gloss over losses elsewhere.
Please click Next to read about the slugfest in Uttarakhand...
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with his daughter Professor Upinder Singh, the respected historian
The postal ballot slugfest
If you thought the assembly election is over in Uttarakhand, you are sorely mistaken.
Both the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress are slugging it out over the postal ballots.
Though the total number of postal ballots are just about 125,000, the Congress is concerned that these votes could give the BJP an edge.
Generalsaab aka Chief Minister Bhuvan Chand Khanduri is said to be upset that a large number of postal ballots are being returned (undelivered), without being redirected to the correct address.
There are about 18 seats in the 70-member Uttarakhand assembly that have over 2,000 postal ballots. Consequently the stakes, for both for the BJP and the Congress, are pretty high!
No wonder then, the dishoom-dishoom is still on!
Image: Uttarkhand Chief Minister Major General B C Khanduri (retd)