May 27, 2018, 10:57 pm IST

Raisina Whispers

Raisina Whispers
Raisina Whispers

Raisina Whispers

By:  VaraahaMihira, Jul 02, 2017

Rashtrapathi dreams

After he praised demonetisation in November last year many wondered if Nitish Kumar was warming up to the BJP. 7 months later he has skipped Sonia's Presidential discussion lunch, announced support to BJP candidate Kovind and now has even failed to fall for Opposition Congress' bait of Meira Kumar a fellow Bihari, Dalit and daughter of one of the tallest leaders from his state as the Presidential candidate. Even a last minute Iftar party appearance by Ghulam Nabhi Azad at Patna, failed to change his mind. The heat on ally Lalu is also said to be a major factor. The most upset is said to be senior JDU leader Sharad Yadav who has publicly though supported his boss, Nitish. Yadav has been heavily pitching for Opposition unity in Delhi and had pledged his party's support at the initial Opposition meets. Now he is left red faced. What must hurt Sharad Yadav the most though is that his own Rashtrapati Bhavan dreams have now been dashed. Perhaps, permanently.

Hopeless opposition

On vacation in Italy, Rahul Gandhi tweeted a link to a recent article in The Economist that indicated PM Modi wasn't the reformer he was touted to be. The article raised questions on freedom of press and hardliners having a free run creating a buzz on many social media platforms. However, in the gusto to share the article perhaps he overlooked an uncharitable adjective in the same article for the Opposition -'hopeless'.

Divided House

One of the longest serving Chief Election Commissioners (CEC) in recent times, S.N. Zaidi will be retiring in the first week of July bang in the middle of the presidential polls. Zaidi has spent over two years as CEC and over 5 years at the Commission itself. He however leaves the poll watchdog's staff a divided house. His long time aide Ashwani Kumar, who followed him from the Civil Aviation Ministry has sought a post to continue in the Commission after Zaidi's departure. However, certain staff at the Commission has objected to this in writing. Apparently this is in reaction to Ashwani's earlier letter about inappropriate work culture at the EC that had stung several staff members. A.K. Jothi the next Chief Election Commissioner will have to take the final call.

A Touch of Prathibha

The selection of Ramnath Kovind as NDA's Presidential nominee has similarities to that of Prathibha Devi Singh. Both were sitting Governors when the announcements were made. Both were relatively unknown to Lutyen's chatterati. Both are representatives of historically oppressed sections of society. Pratibha Patil was the first female and Kovind the second Dalit to be picked for President. A senior Congress leader recounted recently how Patil was selected. After several rounds of talks between UPA and allies there was a lot of disagreement and no unanimity on the name. It was then that CPI suggested that there should be woman candidate. This caught the imagination of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. They asked for a list of women in high constitutional posts. Patil who was Governor was the immediate choice. This was then strongly seconded by CPI chief A.B. Bardhan and NCP Chief Sharad Pawar. Both closely knew Patil as they were members of the Maharashtra Assembly with her since the sixties.


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