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Dilli Gupshup: Gossip from the Delhi Durbar

Last updated on: May 7, 2012 14:44 IST

Guess who Sonia wants as President!


It's been yet another difficult week for the Congress.

From the Rashtrapati race to a reshuffle of ministers to the reshuffle of governors, India's oldest party has been walking the political tightrope.

Catch up on the latest political gossip in Dilli Gupshup...

Has the Congress Party's karta-dharta entered the Presidential race?

Yes, but not in the way you think.

Bring that chair a little closer... we're giving you the latest insider info from New Delhi.

The list of nominees for President has apparently whittled down to two -- Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Their supporters are trying various strategies to ensure their candidate is the one who becomesPresident. And this includes lobbying hard with allies.

They're worried that Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Lalu Yadav and M Karunanidhi will have a crucial say in deciding Pratibha Patil's successor.

Congress bigwigs, however, are unanimous that the final choice will be made by Madam.

If that happens, our vice-president will be the next President since both Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh are unwilling to spare Pranab-da.

Please click NEXT to check out garma garam khabar about the Union Cabinet.

Image: Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari who will be India's next President?
Photographs: Pranab Mukherjee: B Mathur/Reuters; Hamid Ansari: Vijay Mathur/Reuters


Headed for Delhi: Chavan, Gehlot, Reddy

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A major reshuffle of the Union Cabinet is on the cards.

The gupshup is that three Congress chief ministers -- Prithviraj Chavan of Maharashtra, Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan and Kiran Reddy of Andhra Pradesh -- will be tranferred out of their states to Delhi.

Those likely to be booted out of the Cabinet are Earth Sciences and Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Road Transport and Highways Minister Dr C P Joshi and Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Jaipal Reddy.

Chavan, who will be thrilled to return to his old stomping ground, has reportedly been sounded for parliamentary affairs where incumbent Pawan Kumar Bansal's performance has been far from satisfactory.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad may also quit the Cabinet to take up party posts.

Please click NEXT to find out the real story behind another reshuffle that recently took place in New Delhi.

Image: The Maharashtra connection: Prithviraj Chavan and Vilasrao Deshmukh
Photographs: Arun Patil

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There's many a slip...

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Another interesting event was the recent reshuffle of governors.

There was sooo much lobbying...Oof! Mazaa aa gaya.

B V Wanchoo's name was cleared by both Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh (the former director of the Special Protection Group -- he of the sharp goatee-raised chin-and-pink shirts -- is now governor of Goa), but R K Dhawan failed to make it.

Dhawan, who once controlled access to Indira Gandhi as her personal secretary, was keen on the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai, which has the best private beach in the country. However, he was given the choice between Dehradun or Jaipur, perhaps because Sonia doesn't care much for him.

Former Madhya Pradesh speaker Srinivas Tiwari did not make the cut either; his clearance was blocked apparently because of past litigation against him.

Ditto for C K Jaffer Sharief. The former Karnataka strongman, who once had Sonia's ear, we hear, failed the clean image test on account of an old disproportionate assets case.

Please click NEXT to catch up on another Congresswallah's woes.

Image: R K Dhawan, who served as Indira Gandhi's powerful secretary, didn't get Sonia's nod for a move to Mumbai
Photographs: Reuters

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'Friendly' ties that bind!

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If you thought the Abhishek Manu Singhvi episode had ended, think again!

Apparently, lawyers and Congress leaders are trying to uncover the identity of three others who reportedly recommended a woman lawyer for an important assignment. The trio are thought to be very powerful in the legal fraternity,

There are whispers that the lady may have had 'friendly' ties with them.

Please click NEXT to find out why Rahul Gandhi is angry, very angry.

Image: The beleaguered Abhishek Manu Singhvi
Photographs: Stringer/Reuters

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A Congresswallah's ways

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The arrest of a transporter in Uttar Pradesh is causing the Congress party huge embarrassment.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has accused Daljit Singh, a member of the All India Congress Committee, of allegedly diverting foodgrains meant for Below-the-Poverty-Line card holders and mid-day meal scheme.

Daljit has also been accused of using some of these funds from such diversions to pay for the air travel of senior Congress officials.

Upright citizen that he is, he accounted for these expenses in his income tax returns as well.

Rahul Gandhi is furious and has taken strong note of the matter.

Image: Rahul Gandhi with school children in Bhopal
Photographs: Raj Patidar/Reuters

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