Factionalism and internecine war in the Delhi Congress is well known, but it is now getting reflected in the ommissions and commissions of the AICC’s communications department. Union Law Minister and Chandni Chowk MP Kapil Sibal briefed the media at least once this election season. But months ago, his name had been shot down as one of the senior spokespersons. And the needle of suspicion was on Delhi heavyweight and communication department chairman Ajay Maken. Another instance is the absence of spokesman Sandeep Dikshit, who proved to be quite good at the job, from party briefings in the past several weeks. The communications department chairman usually decides who to pick from the panel of spokespersons and Sandeep has been kept out even long after elections in Delhi were over. With his main rival Sheila Dikshit stationed far away in Kerala Raj Bhawan, Maken seems to be focussing on his unfinished agenda in Delhi.
While Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath recently sought to cover up the cracks in the poll body, claiming that all decisions are taken collectively, there are few takers for his claims. Nirvachan Sadan (the EC headquarters) has long been abuzz with murmurs about growing differences between the CEC and the two Election Commissioners — H S Brahma and Nasim Zaidi. There have been differences on a variety of issues ranging from the refusal of permission to Narendra Modi to hold rally in Varanasi to not acting swiftly on complaints against Rahul Gandhi and whether to allow the government to appoint the next Army chief.
BEATING THE CODE
Of the 54 Kendriya Vidyalayas that were announced just before the model code of conduct came into effect, some are already up and running. Kamal Nath has ensured that the one in his constituency Chhindwara is up in action. Similarly, Sonia Gandhi’s team ensured that land was made available for the KV in her constituency Rae Bareli in time. The new KV in Rahul Gandhi’s constituency Amethi, however, could not take off in time.
A Prayer meeting for Rajkumari Kaul, former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee’s companion, that was held in the Capital Sunday saw a massive turnout with leaders across party lines making an appearance. So much was the rush that even several Union ministers — Praful Patel and Jyotiraditya Scindia among them — could not find seats in the packed auditorium. However, one leader who got a good place in the front row was Amar Singh who sat right next to L K Advani throughout the function.
At the fag end of UPA II, the Ministry of Minority Affairs is facing criticism over the sudden removal of the secretary of Maulana Azad Education Foundation, IPS officer Wazir Ansari. Ansari is known to be an upright officer and fingers are already being pointed at minister K Rehman Khan over the removal.