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Revealed: Asaram Bapu's Congress backer...

September 02, 2013 15:15 IST

Revealed: Asaram's Congress backer



Revealed: Asaram’s Congress backer... 

Why Kumari Selja’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing... 

Ratan Tata wows the Supreme Court... 

All this and more in this week’s Dilli Gupshup

Contrary to public perception, Asaram Bapu had some powerful backers within the Congress.

A Union minister from Madhya Pradesh is said to have lobbied hard to throw a protective ring around the controversial godman in the run-up to his arrest for alleged sexual assault on a minor.

In a cabinet meet, the minister openly said that action against Asaram would hurt the Congress in the Madhya Pradesh assembly polls.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram intervened, arguing that criminal cases must be decided by the law and not political fallout. The prime minister backed Chidambaram.

Click on Next to see the ‘next Indira Gandhi’...

Image: Asaram Bapu


Indira is dead, long live Indira

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The Congress’s spin doctors are busy giving final touches to a campaign to project Sonia Gandhi as a replica of her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi.

Though Sonia has done most things drastically different from Indira, the Congress managers want to showcase Sonia as a motherly figure who cares for the poor.

The Garibi Hatao plank is being repackaged in the context of the food security bill, cash transfers and protection against land acquisition.

Click on Next to see why Kumari Selja’s phone has not stopped ringing...

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'Halllo, Madam Selja?'

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The political stock of Kumari Selja, Union minister of social justice and empowerment, has been skyrocketing since the time she was seen providing support to an ailing Sonia Gandhi in Parliament.

When the Congress’s many high and mighty saw her on television accompanying Sonia, they called her up and felt she was ‘acting pricy’ when there was no answer. Actually, in the hurry to accompany ‘Madam’ to the hospital, Selja forgot her phone.

In fact, when the voting on the food security bill in the Lok Sabha got over, Panabaka Lakshmi, Union minister of state for textiles, spotted it on Selja’s seat and took it with her.

The aforementioned phone is now getting frequent calls from ticket aspirants from Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh – all seeking Selja’s recommendation. Her proximity to Sonia is seen as a sure sign of getting a Congress nomination.

Click on Next to see how Ratan Tata wowed the Supreme Court

Image: Kumari Selja escorting an unwell Sonia Gandhi out of Parliament

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The Ratan Tata effect

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Ratan Tata was in the Supreme Court to attend a 2G hearing last week. He insisted on standing in a queue to get his entry pass made.

Most of the country’s rich and powerful get the pass made, instead of personally queuing up for it, but Ratan Tata is, well, Ratan Tata.

Soon word was out and Supreme Court officials rushed out to escort Tata inside. When the business icon resisted, they pointed at his senior citizen status to expedite formalities and took him inside.

Click on Next to see why the Gandhi surname matters even in the BJP...

Image: Ratan Tata

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The Gandhi Modi loves

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The buzz is that both Varun and Maneka Gandhi are beginning to play pivotal roles in the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Varun is increasingly being seen as the BJP’s face in Uttar Pradesh. And he was chosen by Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s Uttar Pradesh point-man, after internal surveys confirmed his wide reach. Varun has met Modi too.

Meanwhile, mother Maneka has been short-listed by Nitin Gadkari to hold some back-channel negotiations with the Aam Admi Party. Gadkari, the BJP’s man in charge of Delhi, is said to be of the view that Arvind Kejriwal needs to be contacted for both pre-and post-election scenarios.

And in Gadkari’s assessment, Maneka is the best person for this delicate role.

Click on MORE to see more gossip from the Dilli Durbar...

Image: Maneka Gandhi with her son Varun at the BJP headquarters
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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