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Rahul Gandhi, the tough spymaster

Last updated on: July 2, 2013 16:35 IST

Rahul Gandhi, the tough spymaster



Why are BJP's senior leaders upset?

What is Union Transport Minister Oscar Fernandes upto?

What is Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma's latest obsession?

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

The political game is slowly, but surely, changing in New Delhi.

Among those who are being jostled out of their comfort zone are certain high-profile general secretaries of the All India Congress Committee.

They are beginning to realise that party vice president Rahul Gandhi's style of functioning involves, among other things, performance-linked accountability.

For the first time, secretary-ranked officials in the Congress are directly being assigned work by the party leadership (read: Rahul and his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi).

This is a drastic change from the old, well-established practice wherein the general secretaries would assign tasks to their juniors.

Party bigwigs like Janardhan Dwivedi, C P Joshi, Gurudas Kamat, Ambika Soni, Digvijaya Singh, Mohan Prakash and others have begun to realise that their work in the states assigned to them is being monitored by the secretary-level functionaries. And, since most of these functionaries are part of Team Rahul, any progress, or lack of it, is reported back to the Gandhi scion.

No wonder, then, there has been a discernible change in the general attitude towards the secretaries. Senior leaders have started treating them well and are trying to keep them in good humour.

Please click on NEXT to find out why certain BJP veterans are sulking...

Image: Rahul Gandhi is changing the way in which the Congress party functions.
Photographs: Vijay Mathur/ Reuters


What's offended these BJP leaders?

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Now, this is a problem you would not expect would plague the bigwigs in New Delhi.

However, at 11, Ashoka Road, known to most people as the national headquarters of the Bharatiya Janata Party, there is an acute paucity of space.

The newly appointed BJP vice presidents -- Uma Bharti, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Prabhat Jha, Sadananda Gowda, S S Ahluwalia, C P Thakur, Balbir Punj and Satpal Malik among others -- have no room to call their own there.

What's sent these veterans into a sulk is the fact that though vice presidents are ranked higher than general secretaries, there is no room for them at the party office.

Which is why you will find most of the BJP vice presidents whiling away their time in their respective states.

The space crunch is so bad that even Shahnawaz Hussain, the BJP's head of media, is forced to operate from the media conference hall.

There's one man, however, who has, as always, managed to find himself a room. That resourceful person is none other than the former BJP president, Nitin Gadkari

Please click on NEXT to find out why Transport Bhavan is in an uproar...

Image: Uma Bharti is on the lookout for her own room at the BJP headquarters.
Photographs: Raj Patidar/ Reuters

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A rocky state of affairs!

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Ever since new minister Oscar Fernandes moved in, Transport Bhavan has been in a state of quiet uproar.

The otherwise genial Fernandes has one particular habit that has made his staff unhappy. He likes to work until late in the evening.

This has caused great unease among the babus, who like to leave for the day as soon as clock strikes 5 pm.

Yet, those officials who work closely with the minister have no option but to stay on till Fernandes continues his day's work at Transport Bhavan.

Please click on NEXT to find out what the Union steel minister is concentrating on these days...

Image: Union Transport Minister Oscar Fernandes likes to keep late working hours.
Photographs: Manish Swarup/ Reuters

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I can walk English, I can talk English...

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He's one of the many people in New Delhi who loves to make, if one can put this politely, 'an interesting impression'.

And what's he upto these days?

Well, Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma has nearly given up his decades-long obsession with the Hindi language and seems to prefer speaking in English.

Union minister of state V Narayanasamy recently got a taste of Benibabu's English when his senior spoke extempore.

Beni then asked Narayanasamy to rate his English language skills.

Narayanasamy, who is known for his quick wit, said it was better than Finance Minister P Chidambaram's attempts at speaking Hindi.

Beni took it as a compliment, we hear...

Please click on NEXT to find out which minister is at war with the media...

Image: Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma's latest passion is speaking in English.
Photographs: Courtesy

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Why Pallam Raju is unhappy


M M Pallam Raju, Union minister for human resource development, does not seem to be fully enjoying his stint at Shastri Bhavan.

A disappointed Raju has been heard complaining that his vision for excellence in higher education is not reflected in the media.

Raju, who recently had a high-level interaction with American Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent visit to India, felt the media missed the substance of their deliberations.

The officials in his ministry, however, feel Raju's expectations may be a tad too high since he seems to expect the same level of media coverage that his predecessor, Kapil Sibal, would command.

Unfortunately for Raju, the media seems to prefer to focus its spotlight on his junior, Shashi Tharoor.

Image: Union HRD Minister Pallam Raju would like the same kind of media attention his predecessor, Kapil Sibal, commanded.
Photographs: Tim Chong/ Reuters