by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
The trouble-shooter in Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma is feeling troubled. Reason ! Barring a handful of Hurriyat Congress leaders, most of them are in jail facing money laundering charges. The NIA has arrested even the son-in-law of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of the Hurriyat Congress. Be it Shabir Shah, Zahoor Watali, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Abdool Rasheed, Yasin Malik, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and their supporters are facing NIA heat. The NIA is filing chargesheet against all of them. The problem for Dineshwar Sharma is that he will have nobody to talk to except political parties, associations and traders etc. The principal stake-holder, the Hurriyat which is leading the 15-odd hardliner groups, is not playing the ball. Sharma may be wanting that NIA withhold its chargesheet against the Hurriyat leaders for some time. But the NIA is not relenting as it will put the agency itself in the bad light. Geelani wants cases against his sons and son-in-law withdrawn. Hope for the best.
When two favourites fight in CBI
A bitter battle has begun in the CBI ever since Rakesh Asthana was promoted as Special Director. The “allegation” against Asthana was that his name figured in the 2011 diaries recovered from the premises of Gujrat-based Sterling Biotech when he was Commissioner of Surat Police. The diaries remained buried for long until some wise people got whiff of it in the IT department. The Enforcement Directorate came into the scene. The probe into the diaries began though diary entries are not proof enough to convict a person. But the case was sent to the CBI Director Alok Varma by the ED as it involved a top officer of the agency itself. Varma and Asthana never saw eye-to-eye as the latter used to throw his weight around due to his direct connections with the PMO since his days in Gujrat. But Varma is also a Modi appointee. The anti-Asthana report came handy for Varma who opposed his promotion. When the recommendation went to the Central Vigilance Commission, it sat over it. The government went ahead and promoted Asthana. Now Asthana is alleging that Varma has defamed him by leaking his own 2-page document to the media. The PMO is furious over the whole thing as it has been shown in poor light. But what to do as both, Varma and Asthana, are Modi favourites. And Varma can't be removed as he has a fixed two year tenure.
BJP Nervous as Rahul's graph rising
The makeover of Rahul Gandhi and marked improvement in his dialogue delivery at public meetings has baffled his partymen and rattled hard core critics. The other day, BJP's core group comprising of top 5 (Modi, Amit Shah, Jaitley, Rajnath Singh & Nitin Gadkari) met to review prevailing political situation. The core group meets every week. In a lighter vain, one of the members said, “Pappu Bolna seekh gaya hai.” But the core group had a serious issue at hand; how Rahul's popularity on social media is growing. Within days, BJP ministers came out linking Rahul Gandhi's increased popularity on social media to fake Twitter accounts in Russia, Kazakhstan and Indonesia. One minister did not flinch at playing on the word " dope", slang for a stupid person. The Congressmen are enthused as Rahul has started interacting with the people and meeting them in small groups. Recently, while returning from Amethi, Rahul opted to travel in the ferry bus for passengers instead of going in a private vehicle which used to pick him up at the tarmac itself. The SPG protectee won the hearts of the people as Rahul gladly offered to be photographed with the co-passengers and mingled.
The unstoppable Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari is always a fodder for Capital's Cahterattis. Therefore, when he invited the media at his official residence for pre-Diwali tea-party, it was toast for them as it was a free wheeling event. He answered all the questions journos raised and disappointed none. He was talking less about the road sector and more about the aviation as he is member of the group of ministers for divestment of Air India. Gadkari had his own take on the issue saying that Vijay Mallya paid the price due to his flamboyance and indecision on the issue of liberalizing the aviation sector than due to other reasons. Though the sector was liberalized later, paid the price. Since road sector is fully back in gear, Gadkari is now fully focused on Irrigation and bringing in new technology to ensure that 1.80 crores hectares of land is brought under cultivation which will revolutionize the agriculture sector. He is busy resolving inter-state water disputes and succeeded in bringing truce between Maharashtra and Gujrat. He personally held several meetings between the two BJP ruled states of UP and MP to resolve water dispute. But he told the PM that he can't resolve water dispute between Punjab and Haryana. It is learnt that the PM will make some effort to resolve the dispute in near future at his level.