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This article was first published 10 years ago

Battlelines drawn! It's Rahul Gandhi vs Congress

Last updated on: August 01, 2013 18:41 IST

Image: Rahul Gandhi refuses to spare Priyanka's trusted aide.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Which two MPs are set to lose their parliamentary seats to colleagues in the forthcoming elections?

Why is the Congress planning to ignore Digvijaya Singh?

Why is a certain minister feeling burdened by education?

All this, in this week's Dilli Gupshup.

Rahul Gandhi is desperate for change, but the Congress unfortunately does not feel the need to oblige.

Having tried, and failed, to replace the old guard in key party positions, Rahul baba is now attempting minor changes that will presumably ruffle fewer feathers.

But even that does not seem easy.

Rahul, we heard, recently tried to shift Kishori Lal Sharma from Amethi.

There has apparently been a fallout between Sharma, who is Priyanka Gandhi’s trusted aide, and Team Rahul. No one, however, knows exactly what happened.

The end result was that Sharma was kicked upwards as AICC general secretary.

But the old hand knows he will wield more power in the Gandhi bastion and is unwilling to shift to 24, Akbar Road.

Last heard, he continues to take active interest in both Amethi and Rae Bareli.

Please click on NEXT to find out why Pawan Bansal is a worried man…

Won't let go of Chandigarh: Bansal

Image: For now, Pawan Bansal is blaming the BJP for his woes.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/ Reuters

He has already lost his Cabinet berth.

Now, disgraced former Union railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal is fighting a grim battle to retain his Chandigarh parliamentary seat.

In order to succeed, he will have to overcome a big challenge -- Union ministers Kapil Sibal and Manish Tiwari are reportedly interested in fighting the next Lok Sabha election from this relatively ‘safe’ constituency.

Now that he has secured a ‘clean chit’ in the cash-for-railway job scam, Bansal has started visiting Chandigarh regularly.

The former minister claims his ouster from Rail Bhavan is the result of a ‘conspiracy’.

For now, he is blaming the BJP and a section of the bureaucracy for his woes.

But will that net widen if he finds himself losing his favoured constituency?

Please click on NEXT to find out how Digvijaya Singh will be ignored...

How the Congress plans to ignore Digvijaya Singh

Image: Congress leaders dismiss Digvijaya Singh's Batla House views as 'personal'.
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/

The Batla House verdict has created problems for the Congress in more ways than one.

In fact, the party’s media team had a special meeting to decide how they would react to the judicial verdict.

They felt that any opposition or criticism of the verdict would not go down well with the masses.

Senior Congress leaders were heard pointing out that the party’s stand on Batla House proved costly in the 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

When the meeting was about to conclude, a spokesman asked, “But what about Digvijaya Singhji?”

The Congress leader chairing the meet remarked curtly, “We will ignore (his statements) and say it’s his personal view.”

No wonder, the meeting ended with a sigh of relief.

A certain minister is feeling overworked… please click on NEXT for details.

A minister burdened by education

Image: Union HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju is focused on the coming elections.
Photographs: Courtesy PIB

Union Human Resource Development Minister M M Pallam Raju is a worried man these days.

And it has nothing to do with the upheaval in his home state, Andhra Pradesh.

Raju, apparently, is finding his ministry both big and unwieldy. He is, as a result, feeling burdened and overworked.

His biggest challenge is the department of education, which brings with it the maximum number of problems.

These include students failing to get admission in the IITs despite clearing the entrance exam; the running of the controversy-ridden mid-day meal kitchens; lobbies working in management, engineering, medical colleges; paucity of central universities, etc.

With the minister expected to give all of these his personal attention, Raju finds himself attending meeting after meeting after meeting.

As a result, he is unable to nip back home to Andhra Pradesh and spend time nursing his parliamentary constituency, Kakinada.

With the Lok Sabha polls inching closer by the day, the minister is struggling to figure a way out of this maze.

‘Khamosh!’ Will Shatrughan Sinha’s famous dialogue be used against him? Please click on NEXT to find out...

Shotgun Sinha ko gussa kyon aata hai?

Image: Will Shatrughan Sinha be asked to keep quiet?
Photographs: Mohammed Jaffer/ SnapsIndia

First, he said he would prefer L K Advani over Narendra Modi for prime minister.

Next, he said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is ‘prime minister material’.

Then, he promptly found himself in hot water with his own party.

Even as party president Rajnath Singh prepares the ground for disciplinary proceedings against the verbose Shatrughan Sinha, a section of the BJP was tasked with probing why the Bihari Babu went berserk.

The findings showed no visible Advani hand in his criticism of Narendra Modi.

Rather, Shotgun’s rant seems to have been triggered by his anxiety over losing his Lok Sabha seat.

The actor-politician believes that his constituency, Patna, is being readied for senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.

With elections around the corner, Sinha was only looking to save his political career.

The big question is: Will all this bombast save him? Or will he be told, in legendary filmi style, ‘Khamosh (Be quiet)!’