Priyanka’s New Office

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra can now be found at her new office at 10 Janpath, where she has been meeting party leaders from various states (and not just Uttar Pradesh). According to party leaders, she is meeting each leader individually as well as in groups so that she gets to hear all sides. She apparently remarked at one such gathering that this is one of the lessons that she has learnt from her stint in Uttar Pradesh, that one’s exposure should not be confined to one faction of the party only. Also seen is party general secretary K.C. Venugopal, who is helping her. In fact, KCV will now be dealing more with Priyanka than Rahul. This is interesting as KCV is the general secretary in charge of the organisation. In effect, this means that the two siblings have decided that while Rahul Gandhi gets busy with his Bharat Jodo Yatra (yet another one in his series of Discovery of India tours), the sister will be working on the Congress Jodo plan, trying to unite all the factions of the party. Given that Priyanka has a wider appeal amongst Congress leaders, and is known to reach out to the Old Guard (unlike Rahul), this may work, provided that Priyanka is allowed a free hand and doesn’t have to listen to diktats by Team Rahul. Otherwise, this may well end as an exercise in futility.

The Saffron Surround Sound

It is not just the Congress that is facing a turf war, but as the recent reshuffle in the BJP’s parliamentary board has shown, there are similar tensions within the party. Both Nitin Gadkari and Shivraj Singh Chouhan are not “old” in terms of age, but experience they score over some of the newbies in the parliamentary board where tokenism seems to have scored over experience. Otherwise how can one explain the inclusion of Sudha Yadav and Iqbal Singh Lalpura? The one exception being the 79-year-old Yediyurappa. These moves have created a buzz in the saffron surround sound which goes something like this: that Gadkari could be further downsized in the Cabinet reshuffle, that Shivraj Chouhan may be removed as Chief Minister Madhya Pradesh and given a token Cabinet berth as compensation. Add to this the fact that Vasundhara Raje Scindia is still to be declared as the BJP’s CM face in the Rajasthan elections, and it does look as if the three stalwarts of a pre-Modi BJP are being sidelined in the run-up to 2024.