Though by evening the resignation in Patna overshadowed all other political play in and around Parliament, the tangle over Rajya Sabha seats remained the major talking points — whether Ahmed Patel will win the third seat from Gujarat and the BJP chief, Amit Shah’s expected entry to the upper house. And, who would get the West Bengal seat that the CPI-M denied its general secretary Sitaram Yechury to contest with the Congress support?
Bengal Congress seemed as angry as the Bengal CPI-M, with a few Marxist MPs bitterly hinting their state unit has “nothing more to lose but their chains” that bind them to the “unreasonable” Kerala-Karat dominated central committee. A third term denied to Yechury also means that the Congress may be pushed into an alliance with TMC, a tactical blunder in many ways than one for Bengal CPI-M. The Kerala lobbies of both the parties were however relieved.
Congress in a fix
Bengal Congress chief Adhir Choudhury hotly contested claims that Meira Kumar would be given the Bengal seat that was offered to Yechury. With the CPI-M-Congress alliance for the RS seat falling through, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has offered to support Kumar to cement her relations with the Congress. “We’ll decide our candidate, not Mamata,” Choudhury retorted. Nonetheless, it remains a possibility as Sonia Gandhi and not Choudhury will pick the candidate.
Will Patel win?
In Gandhinagar, Patel filed his nomination papers with the entire Congress state unit, barring just ‘ousted’ Shankarsinh Vaghela, in attendance. If the BJP fields a third candidate apart from Shah and Smriti Irani, who’s being re-nominated, the going may get tough for Patel. The man, however, said: “Vaghelaji has promised me his vote(s), I’ve no reason to disbelieve him.” Vaghela, apparently, has put a condition, an apology from the new AICC in-charge of Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot.
What about Gandhi?
With BJP offering to prop Nitish Kumar as the Bihar CM, after he sprung a resignation on his grand-alliance partners, RJD and Congress, the opposition’s vice presidential candidate Gopal Gandhi is rather perplexed. Though his is a token fight against BJP/NDA’s Venkaiah Naidu, the contest was primarily planned to stitch up the opposition unity firmly, ironically which is falling through. However, JD-U leader Sharad Yadav indicated that there would be no change of stance on Gandhi. “No tilt towards Deen Dayal Upadhayay on this,” he noted. Nitish, it seems, is keen to send Gopal Gandhi to Rajya Sabha from Bihar, just like Didi is ready to back Kumar from Bengal.