Off the record

Shinde’s loyalty

Senior Congress leader and Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde surprised many by endorsing Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar for the post of the prime minister. It is no secret that Pawar has been nurturing the PM ambition for long. But Shinde’s support did not evoke much of the thrill among Pawar supporters for the simple reason that political equations and strength of the NCP hardly permits such beautiful dreams.  

However, what is intriguing in this episode is what prompted Shinde to talk the way he did, especially when Congress itself is on its way to declare its prime ministerial candidate. Most of the Congressmen are eagerly waiting to get Rahul Gandhii’s name declared for the same. 

People who are in the know of Maharashtra politics dismiss the theory that Shinde’s comments have come out of gratitude or loyalty to his former mentor. They talk of local compulsion that the home minister requires Maratha leader’s blessings to win his Lok Sabha seat. Few others are sensing some sort of rebellion too against the leadership. “At times, you have to fearlessly decide what is the best for you,” said an observer in the power corridor. 

Anil Sinha, New Delhi  

Moists’ surrender

The surrender of one of the top most Maoist leaders Venkata Krishna Prasad alias Gudsa Usendi has brought some cheer in the security establishment. Diametrically opposite reasons are being speculated about the high-profile surrender with one section believing that Prasad, the spokesperson for CPI(Maoist)'s Dandakaranya region in Chhattisgarh, gave in with his wife owing to health problems and with the permission of top leadership while others say he got disgusted with the way the party was working.

The section which gives health as the reason believes that disgust with party could not be the reason as he is believed to be the person who led the ambush on May 25 in Chhattisgarh killing 27 people, including the state leadership of Congress. Six months is less a time for disgust to seep in and Maoist leadership would not have allowed an operation under a leader in which they do not have trust.

Whatever be the reasons for surrender, the Union home ministry is upbeat about the new development. The importance it gives to the surrender is evident from Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde opening his monthly press conference with a statement on the development. Welcoming it, Shinde described Prasad as an important Maoist leader and appealed to other senior Maoist cadres to follow this example. "The CPI (Maoist) party should give up their armed struggle and join the mainstream. All the surrendered people will be treated well as per the surrender and rehabilitation policy of the Government," he said.

Shemin Joy, New Delhi 

Shatru cut to size

BJP Patna Sahib MP Shatrughan Sinha’s supporters are miffed with the saffron party as Shotgun’s name is missing from the 31-member BJP parliamentary election committee for Bihar, which was announced recently. 

Widely perceived as a move to cut him to size, Shatru has been at the receiving end ever since he threw his weight behind LK Advani in the race for BJP’s prime-ministerial candidate. He further shot in his foot when he praised BJP’s bête noire Nitish Kumar and said if the Gujarat CM is competent enough to become PM-nominee “then why not Nitish, whose secular credentials are second to none.” All his utterances in the recent past have not gone down well with the top BJP leadership which is not very keen on retaining the star-turned-politician from Patna Sahib, the constituency where his popularity is on wane.But despite showing Shatru his place, the BJP is not publicly annoying its erstwhile star campaigner. Aware of Shatrughan’s ability and capability of wooing anyone and everyone, the saffron party played down the issue of omitting his name from the list. “Shatrughan is such a tall leader that it hardly matters whether he is included in a poll panel or not. His services will be utilised in the campaign committee,” averred senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry