No rules for Rahul Gandhi
The reason why the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting was called despite Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s indifferent health was to establish son Rahul Gandhi as the undisputed leader of both the party and its parliamentary wing. The original plan though was a bit different. Rahul was to speak on demonetisation in the Lok Sabha. But with Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving no indication if he’ll intervene on the subject at all (many say he may on Monday or Tuesday), the CPP meeting was seen as the next best option. Some Congresswallahs, however, seemed unhappy with the development.
Apparently, an amendment to the party constitution was required to allow Rahul to address the CPP since he’s neither the leader nor the deputy leader of the party in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. Ideally, in the absence of Sonia Gandhi, either Ghulam Nabi Azad or Mallikarjun Kharge should have taken the stage and invited Rahul to speak to the party MPs, as a one-time exception. But no such rules were followed.
BJP’s book cleanup op
It’s not for nothing that BJP treasurer and power minister Piyush Goyal has no issues about inviting fellow chartered accountants to audit his party’s accounts. If the young professionals handling the saffron party’s financial transactions are to be believed, the transformation of the party’s finances towards a cashless operation has been on for the last six months. And all cash transactions were stopped a month ago. Were those involved told about demonetisation? Not really. The orders came from the top and were carried out, no questions asked. In fact, this could be the reason why recent land purchases by the BJP in Bihar, Rajasthan and Bengal were done without any glitches. BJP Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh in fact boasted that he picked up land near the Dumdum airport for D4 crore in Amit Shah’s name with his PAN number.
Didi’s demonetisation dramatics
The coup allegation may have helped Mamata Banerjee hog the headlines, but little else. She’s now being seen as a competitor to Arvind Kejriwal in making hit-and-run allegations against opponents, rather than a viable counter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Those who know Didi, however, say the spirit of her politics is oppositional and she’s itching to give it all up and sit on dharna at Jantar Mantar. It’s Kejriwal who advised her against it. In the meantime, while keeping a night vigil over democracy at the state secretariat in Kolkata, Didi served biryani, chicken curry-rice to the media personnel who kept her company.
Sushma Swaraj’s health
The Heart of Asia Conference in Amritsar has bought the focus back on external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s health. The reason why Arun Jaitley led the Indian delegation is because a minister of cabinet rank is required to be present to welcome Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani. For protocol reasons, this could not have been left to junior external affairs minister M.J. Akbar. Swaraj, who’s expected to have a kidney transplant, did not want to undertake the journey and take the hectic pressure of the conference, with attendees from 31 countries. She’s attending to her daily MEA work without much problem.