He may have settled for just one Lok Sabha seat in the AIADMK-led alliance, but Tamil Maanila Congress president G K Vasan has something else in sight. He is said to be lobbying with the AIADMK for a Rajya Sabha seat for himself. Six Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu will retire in July this year. Vasan’s hope will, however, depend much on the outcome of the results of both Lok Sabha elections and the bypolls in 22 Assembly seats. If reports emanating from Tamil Nadu are to be believed, the AIADMK is not in a comfortable position in the Lok Sabha elections. All eyes are on the by-elections, the results of which will decide the fate of the AIADMK government which currently has a thin majority in the 234-seat Assembly.
So what and who stood in the way of a Narendra Modi-versus-Priyanka Gandhi Vadra battle in Varanasi? Many Congress leaders argue that BSP chief Mayawati was not keen on Priyanka contesting and was instrumental in the SP fielding its candidate in Varanasi. The Congress, meanwhile, does not know who to blame. Or whether to blame anyone at all. So within a matter of hours, two senior Congress leaders gave conflicting statements. Sam Pitroda, considered close to Rahul Gandhi, said the party chief had left the decision to Priyanka and it was she who decided that rather than concentrating on one seat she should be focusing on the entire state. Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Shukla, who many believe is a Priyanka loyalist, on the other hand said she had expressed her readiness to contest from Varanasi but Rahul decided otherwise.
The decade-old NRI cell at the National Commission for Women has been hearing cases of dispute in NRI marriages involving mostly abandoned or battered Indian brides. NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma has now decided that she will herself hear cases for an hour starting 3 pm every Monday in cases where women want to meet her for a personal hearing. These hearings will be walk-ins without any prior appointment.