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When Antony dithered about sacking the general

September 23, 2013 13:17 IST

When Antony dithered about sacking the general

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The return of the V K Singh saga led one Union minister to blame Defence Minister A K Antony for the mess.

Defence ministry officials had wanted the general sacked as the army chief in a repeat of Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat’s removal as the naval chief in December 1998 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

But Antony dithered, lacking George Fernandes’s resolve to sack Bhagwat.

Antony's supporters insist that both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon were equally apprehensive then about dismissing General Singh as Chief of the Army Staff.

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Image: Defence Minister A K Antony with former Army Chief General V K Singh
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB

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Who cares for Rahulbaba?

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The 'Rahul Gandhi formula' is supposed to dominate the selection of Congress candidates for this winter's Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan assembly elections.

Under this formula, candidates are to be selected based on recommendations made by block and district level Congress units.

But regional Congress chieftains Digvijay Singh (MP), Ajit Jogi (Chhattisgarh), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) and Sheila Dixit (Delhi) have apparently found a way to thwart Rahulbaba's good intentions.

In a number of assembly seats where relatives and allies of regional leaders want to contest, 'single name' recommendations are being made by the district Congress units.

In the absence of multiple choices, these netas can get the tickets allotted for their kin and favourites.

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Image: Rahul Gandhi with Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit and leaders Sandeep Dikshit and Jai Prakash Agarwal at a rally in the national capital.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Shindesaheb kuthe ahes*?

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Some home ministry officials cruelly compare Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde with the police stereotype in Bollywood movies, where policemen arrive at the crime scene hours later.

Shindesaheb -- a former police officer in his native Maharashtra -- was so busy with Ganesh Utsav, these babus complain, that urgent, decisive, action from the minister was not forthcoming during the Muzaffarnagar riots.

These babus also point out that Shinde was abroad when the Maoists massacred Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh in May.

*Where is Shinde? in his native Marathi.

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Image: Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde participates in Ganpati puja at his residence in Pali Hill in Bandra, Mumbai.
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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Copycat?

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The BJP leadership may not like to admit it, but the party appears to be copying its rival.

Like the Congress, the BJP has set up a 'War Room' at the party HQ at 11, Ashoka Road, on the lines of the Congress’s 'War Room' at 15, Gurdwara Rakabgunj Road.

A team of dedicated experts work virtually round the clock in the BJP's 'War Room'. But BJP insiders insist the idea is not new; Pramod Mahajan, the late BJP leader, had converted his Delhi home into a 'War Room' during the 1998 and 1999 general elections.

Indeed, a similar operation was evident at BJP MP Ananth Kumar's home when L K Advani mounted his abortive mission to be prime minister in the 2009 general election.

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Image: Senior BJP leader LK Advani participating in a live chat with Rediff readers at the party's Delhi office before 2009 elections.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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Going, going...

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Uttrakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna may once again be in the elimination zone.

His detractors want Bahuguna removed, insisting that retaining him as chief minister will result in the Congress losing the state's five Lok Sabha seats next year.

Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat, who had rebelled briefly after Bahuguna was chosen for the job, is keeping an eye on the developments.


Image: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna (left) and Union Minister Harish Rawat


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