Insider-out: With eye on UP Congress reorganisation, Priyanka Gandhi to shift to Lucknow

The other protagonist or antagonist of the absurd drama, Police Commissioner Amulya Kumar Patnaik, has created a record.

Published: 13th January 2020 03:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2020 10:57 AM   |  A+A-

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

The JNU We See

M Jagadesh Kumar has by now acquired an international reputation. Not for his expertise in nanoscience and nanotechnology, but the ‘surgical strike’ that’s going on in a campus of which he’s the VC. A campus for which he has a complete Metamorphosis-like plan. Former IIT Delhi man Jagadesh Kumar, let’s call him K, clearly “has his heart in his old campus”, what with all the “social engineering” he has set off in JNU. Thus spake a former bureaucrat of the HRD Ministry. As for the current lot at MHRD, it seems they are as harassed as the students, if not more. The babus, after all, can’t shout slogans to vent their anger, even if they are silently praying for azadi from K — a ‘Jaga-desh’ who has no time for ‘jana-desh’. Forget MHRD officials — one Secretary has already become a casualty — even Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal is at his wit’s end. Roping in Murli Manohar Joshi to call K’s bluff, and send a message to the RSS, came of little use. K remains adamant: he won’t call a meeting of the full JNU academic council. Till the other day, he did not deem it fit to reply or acknowledge letters/email from the ministry or the minister himself. Ever since he made it known that he ‘takes orders from above’, the ministry has been in search of divine intervention! Does not look like it’s coming though. It seems K has two powerful backers in the Cabinet Secretariat and PMO.

Not exactly Amulya

The other protagonist or antagonist of the absurd drama, Police Commissioner Amulya Kumar Patnaik, has created a record. Delhi has not known a top cop as unpopular as Patnaik. Not a week goes by without Delhiwallahs having to land up at the PHQ at all unearthly hours, protesting against the excesses of Patnaik’s forces. Delhi Police top brass used to be the relatively suave, ghazal-listening, gossipy, tipple-friendly types, till the recent metamorphosis. Were he not all set to retire by the end of this month, AP might as well have been a candidate to oversee police training! Anyway, among those vying to wield the top baton of Delhi Police are SN Srivastava, ADG, CRPF, of the 1985 batch; Satyendra Garg, now in Home Ministry manning the N-E division; and Balaji Srivastava, who took over as DGP Puducherry not so long ago. And, well, the 1984-batch Rakesh Asthana of CBI fame ‘will not’ succeed Patnaik, his junior.

Lucknow house for Priyanka

The buzz has it that Priyanka Gandhi would be shifting to Lucknow, for better anchoring of the UPCC. At present, she goes to the UP state capital once a month. But once her house is ready, that’s all set to change. Weekends, however, would be spent in Delhi, attending to her ailing mother Sonia Gandhi. The house of Sheila Kaul, Priyanka’s great-grand aunt, is being refurbished. Priyanka, who is said to be extremely finicky and has a knack for house decor like grandmom Indira, has overseen the work at the Kaul bungalow, which was under lock and key. It seems an auspucious date is awaited for her to shift. Meanwhile, bro Rahul Gandhi is preparing to take over the helm of the Congress party yet again, sometime in Feb-end.

Javadekar’s breakfast

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who’s been put in charge of the Delhi elections for the BJP, is desperate to break even. Such is the infighting in the Delhi BJP that he has been calling the leaders of warring groups for breakfast. But, alas, only the sumptuous meals are being wiped off, not the differences. The state unit chief now is Bhojpuri singer-star Manoj Tiwari, whose less-than-flattering interview on a channel was tweeted by the AAP with the words, “No parody required”. (He struggled to find words to even describe what plans the BJP has for Delhi.) One of the group leaders claimed that he has been so sidelined that he has no clue what the central leadership is thinking. And that Javadkar is only offering breakfast, no solution.

No Davos for BSY

In the recent past, it’s Karnataka that gave the BJP some electoral high. The party swept the polls, and made tangible inroads into the hitherto unconquered JD-S bastion in Old Mysuru. But to little avail. The Karnataka Cabinet expansion plan to accommodate rebels is ina limbo. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s attempts to get an audience with Amit Shah in Delhi have not fructified yet. First Jharkhand and now the Delhi elections have kept Shah occupied. A dispirited BSY even cancelled a trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos fearful of what might happen, behind his back, in his absence at home. Now an impending Shah visit to the state is the only hope of sorting out the imbroglio.

Santwana Bhattacharya
The author is Resident Editor, Bangalore, TNIE. Email:

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