Nora Chopra is a senior journalist with a finger on the pulse of the Indian political scene

Delhi BJP leaders were in dark about Kiran induction

BJP's Delhi president Satish Upadhyay and national vice president and Delhi in-charge, Prabhat Jha did not know until the last minute that Kiran Bedi was joining their party. Whispers about Bedi joining the BJP were doing the rounds of the political corridors, but no one knew when she might, if at all, join the BJP. The two leaders were in the state party office, meeting the heads of the regional campaign committee when a phone call came, surprising both of them. Jha and Upadhyay were seen whispering to each other animatedly before leaving the meeting. The workers present there did not know what had transpired until they saw on TV news breaking that Bedi was joining the BJP.

SP, BSP, BJP in MLC arithmetic in Uttar Pradesh

Twelve MLC seats are up for grabs in the Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council) elections in Uttar Pradesh. The fight there is for the twelfth seat. The Samajwadi Party can get seven seats, but has fielded eight candidates. The SP has struck an alliance with the Congress (28 votes), which should get it the eighth seat. The BSP can get two seats, but has fielded three candidates. It too should manage to win all three, because it has aligned with Ajit Singh's RLD, which has nine votes. The BJP can get one seat, but has fielded two candidates. The question being asked is who is going to vote for whom. The BJP is banking on cross voting. There are MLAs who are in touch with the BJP top brass, seeking an entry into the party. But the BJP leadership is saying that anyone wanting to join has to ensure the party's victory in the MLC elections. The BJP bosses have their eyes set on the Dalit MLAs of the BSP.

Congress upset with Uttarakhand CM Rawat

The Pradesh Congress Committee leadership in Uttarakhand is upset with their Chief Minister Harish Rawat for his growing proximity to Baba Ramdev, known to be a BJP sympathiser. They are saying that ever since Rawat has taken charge of the state, factionalism has been rising in the Congress. They are accusing him of clipping the wings of PCC chief Kishore Upadhyay. The latter was appointed with Rawat's consent but the two fell out soon after. The first signs of the crack became visible when Upadhyay did not get a Rajya Sabha berth even though his name was cleared by the Congress high command. Rawat sent a relatively unknown lady, Manorama, who was once the president of the Mahila Congress, to the Rajya Sabha. And then in the last Cabinet reshuffle, Rawat inducted some independents in his government, including Dinesh Dhaney, who had defeated Kishore in the Assembly elections. The Delhi leadership is said to be helpless against Rawat as there are indications that he will topple the government and join the BJP if any action is taken against him.

BJP cadre unhappy with Manjul entry

BJP workers in West Bengal's Bongaon say that former state minister from the Trinamool Congress, Manjul Thakur defected to the BJP because of rivalry within his family. Manjul wanted his son to contest from the Bongaon Lok Sabha seat after his elder brother, TMC's MP from Bongaon, Kapil Thakur died. But the TMC chose Manjul's sister-in-law, the late MP's widow, as its candidate. It was after this that Manjul Thakur approached the BJP. Local BJP workers, who have been at the receiving end of TMC attacks led by Manjul Thakur are unhappy with the party's decision. They think BJP state president Rahul Sinha is behind Thakur's induction.

No foothold for journalist

A senior journalist, who recently wrote a book on the Lok Sabha elections, is trying hard to find a foothold in the new government. He even attempted to lobby with the government to make his mother the chief of the film censor board. Next he was seen at a memorial lecture where a senior government minister was present. But then, while at the function, he started sending messages to others present there, goading them to ask the minister questions on the 2002 riots. If rumours are to be believed, forget the foothold, the journalist is unlikely to find even a toehold.

Patnaik in trouble

With the CBI likely to question Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the coal block allocation case, a rebellion is brewing within his Biju Janata Dal (BJD). There is speculation that MP Jay Panda, who is apparently in touch with several disgruntled leaders, may even split the BJD. These leaders are said to be thrashing out a pact with the BJP on government formation. Some BJP leaders too want to settle their score with Patnaik for breaking the BJD-BJP alliance abruptly in 2010.

‘C.P. Joshi is protecting Sibal’

The West Bengal unit of the Congress, furious with Kapil Sibal for representing the state government in the Saradha case in his professional capacity as a lawyer, is accusing C.P. Joshi of protecting him. West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee chief Adhir Choudhary complained against Sibal to Joshi, who is the AICC general secretary in charge of the state. But the Rahul Gandhi confidant did not pay any heed to him. A peeved Choudhary has now complained to Rahul Gandhi against Joshi. The Bengal unit is also angry that Joshi failed to turn up at a rally in the state ostensibly because he missed his flight after being stuck in a traffic jam. Both Sibal and Joshi came in for much criticism at the rally.

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