Monday, December 28, 2020

Fly on the Wall - Mumbai model for new Congress Chief!

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Mumbai model for new Congress Chief!
How the new Congress president may be democratically elected in place of Sonia Gandhi if polls do take place for the coveted post? As many as 1400 plus AICC delegates & others have to be elected first and then they will elect a new CWC and eventually a president in February 2021 unless polls are postponed. The AICC managers hit upon a novel method and tested it in Mumbai to elect Mumbai Regional Congress Committee chief. It is now called the Mumbai Model. The General Secretary incharge of Maharashtra HK Patil sent a voice message to 450 designated party functionaries: I am AICC incharge HK Patil speaking. I seek your views on who should be the president of Mumbai Congress. After the beep, send just one name. Your answer will be kept confidential. Thank you”. No one knows who followed the drill and who didn’t. But the mandarins in the technical team of Rahul Gandhi working behind the scenes, took enough care that the process is executed with finesse. It’s a different matter that no one among 450 delegates knew till date who sent which name and how MRCC president was chosen. But one thing is clear that this Mumbai Model will may be executed in AICC polls too. Since Rahul Gandhi’s loyalists are determined to install him as party chief. The AICC media head, Randeep Surjewala has already said that 99.9% want Rahul as CP. He already knows the mind of 99.9% of the 1400 AICC delegates. The last word has yet to be written.

Rahul & his new mobile
When the 5-hour long meeting took place at Sonia Gandhi’s residence at 10 Janpath, Rahul & Priyanka were in tow to receive the invitees. The Gandhis wanted a virtual meeting over Zoom. But none of the dissidents including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda were ready for it. They insisted on a face-to-face meeting which Sonia Gandhi eventually agreed to. But many leaders were dismayed that Rahul Gandhi was glued to his new iPhone 12. A leader who was part of the meeting said Rahul remained busy with his mobile for nearly three hours. In between, he left the meeting twice to interact with Kamal Nath and A K Antony and attend to urgent calls. Sonia Gandhi, on the other hand, remained seated for full 5-hours without a break.

Hooda stuns the conclave
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is a soft spoken person and rarely talks tough. But he was perhaps the only one among the dissidents to stun the gathering. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Prithviraj Chavan and many other letter writers were speaking in a rather conciliatory tone. When Hooda’s turn came, he didn’t mince his words. Rather, he sent the chill in the otherwise warm weather in the sprawling lawns. Hooda said he is fighting a lonely battle in Haryana against the BJP which had pumped Rs 100 crores to win the Baroda Assembly seat in a bitter byelection. Yet he was able to defeat the BJP against all odds. Hooda did not stop there and went on to say that had he been made the leader of the party in Haryana three months prior to State Assembly polls last year, the Congress would have got the state. “Unfortunately, I am not accepted as leader in Delhi while people in Haryana adore me,” said Hooda in a pained voice. There was a silence of the grave.

Nadda’s rising clout
With BJP president J P Nadda down with Covid and recovering, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has taken charge of Assembly polls in West Bengal due next year. Shah was out of action in Bihar for some strange reasons. But now he is leading the onslaught on Mamata Banerjee from the front. However, Nadda is working overtime sitting home and played a key role in the selection of seven Union Ministers who were made inchage of seven regions for Assembly polls. It is learnt that the selections were made as per the PM’s desires and many favourite ministers were excluded causing surprises. Obviously, Nadda's graph has been risen after Bihar win and other polls. Only recently, a couple of Chief Ministers of BJP ruled states wanted to call on the PM. But Modi politely conveyed to them to first apprise the party president about the issues.