Saturday, January 30, 2021

Fly On the Wall | Sonia rises, takes charge

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Sonia rises, takes charge

Sonia Gandhi is trying to do what she is known for; stitching alliances. She successfully dislodged Vajpayee in 2004 by fixing alliances. But 2021 is not 2004. She has lost her most-trusted aide in Ahmed Patel and Rahul Gandhi has failed to enthuse workers and people at large. In 2004, Rahul had brought with him a hope to rejuvenate the party. Be it as it may, Sonia made a passionate appeal to all CWC members including dissidents that the first priority is to defeat the BJP in the ensuing Assembly polls. After clinching peace within the party, Sonia Gandhi has now charted on a course to retain Puducherry and wrest AssamIn Kerala, the Congress may be face-to-face with the Left parties but both are in alliance in West Bengal. In Tamil Nadu, the Congress is playing a second fiddle to the DMK. The way Sonia Gandhi deputed Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel as observer to Assam and he clinched alliance with five other Opposition parties in no time, has made BJP worried. The BJP and Bodoland People’s Front have already parted ways. Baghel is keeping the faction-ridden state unit together after the death of party’s tallest leader Tarun Gogoi and creating a new positive narrative. Sonia also over-ruled Rahul for a change and allowed Congress-Left alliance in West Bengal. A loss for Congress in these crucial states is a big worry for Sonia as BJP has left no stone unturned to win West Bengal, retain Assam and toy hold in TN, Puducherry and Kerala.

CBI Truly Independent

Those doubting independence of CBI need to change their opinion, for a change. It showed great alacrity in completing probe into the Hathras rape & murder case. Yogi Adityanath denied these charges saying it was a conspiracy to destabilize his government. The September 2020 incident had rocked the nation and a probe was entrusted to the CBI. It was presumed that the CBI will sit over it for months or even years. After all, there are many such cases where the CBI continues to probe awaiting forensic evidence, viscera report etc etc. Even the last example is of Sushant Singh Rajput alleged suicide in June 2020. The Mumbai police was no evidence of murder, the NCB found no evidence against Sushant’s live-in partner Rhea Chakraborty oabout drugs, the ED was forced to eat the humble pie and other agencies went silent. But the CBI continues to investigate it giving no explanation of abnormal delay even after Bihar elections are over. But the CBI confirmed within four months it was a case of rape and murdere. It came as a huge setback to the Yogi. When Yogi expressed his unhappiness with political masters in Delhi, he was politely told, “We don’t interfere in CBI’s functioning. It’s truly independent.” No doubt, the steady rise of the saffron-robed monk may have created heart-burns in Delhi. For the saffron brigade, he is an icon and favourite leader and in great demand across the country for campaigning. In the power corridors of powers, the CBI’s Hathras case is seen as a politically-loaded move to cut Adityanath to size. Wait for the last word!!

Lucky CBI Chief?

A big exercise is on for the selection of new CBI Chief as present incumbent R K Shukla is set to retire on February 1. But there is no sign of meeting of the Selection Committee comprising Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of the single largest party in Lok Sabha (Congress) to pick a new chief. Rakesh Asthana, DG, BSF and Dr Y C Modi, DG, NIA are the top contenders for the post. Both are PM’s favourite buddies. But a PMO insider says something else is cooking too. There may be a surprise in store for the low-profile, nameless, faceless R K Shukla. He has done a commendable job during the past two years. He doesn’t meet the media, doesn’t come on TV. The Boss likes such officers. So why disturb the arrangement? Why not give an extension, asked the source.

Bureaucracy Supreme

The DoPT under the PMO keeps issuing one circular after the other urging the babus (IAS) to submit their immovable property details under the Conduct Rules, 1968 inherited by them or owned or acquired or held on lease or mortgage, either in his/her own name or in the name of any member of family or in the name of any other person. Half of the Babus don't care to respond. There is nothing unusual about it.