Although Ajit Jogi has announced his intention to form a new political front, the Congress is still not sure if the Chhattisgarh strongman would actually leave the party. For, he has done such posturing in the past, too. Even now, he and his MLA son Amit, while making statements, have left enough scope to allow them to continue with the Congress should their plans fail. The plan, it seems, is to pressure the high command into giving Ajit the reins of the state unit, something he has conveyed to Sonia Gandhi earlier as well. Unwilling to give in to the demand, the party has shelved a plan to reach out to him. It is now waiting to see what will unfold on June 6, when he is scheduled to hold a meeting in his village Marwahi.
Early to rise
While ministers usually meet foreign delegates over high tea, lunch or dinner, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Friday held a meeting over breakfast. He was supposed to host a visiting French delegation for lunch and preparations had already been made. But Prabhu realised that he was needed elsewhere on Friday afternoon. So, instead of cancelling the meeting, he called delegates to Rail Bhawan for breakfast at 8 am. Railway Board members, who are not used to such timings, also turned up to engage in some “breakfast diplomacy”.
The HRD Ministry held its two-year press conference on Friday but Minister of State Ram Shankar Katheria was missing in action. Apparently, the MoS was annoyed at being informed just a day ahead of the event by the Press Information Bureau. He is learnt to have conveyed this informally. Officially, though, his staff said that he had a flight to catch around the time of the press conference.
No Second chances
The nomination of Ashok Kumar Siddharth by BSP chief Mayawati as the party’s Rajya Sabha candidate has left retiring MPs, who were expecting a return ticket, disappointed. With the current MLA strength in the UP assembly, the BSP can send just two MPs to the upper house, while six are retiring. According to some leaders, the party felt it would be ideal to field a Dalit candidate. The retiring MPs won’t be jobless, though — they have been given detailed assignments for the 2017 Uttar Pradesh polls.