Power Bites

Illustrations: Vikram Nongmaithem, Mayanglambam Dinesh
Illustration: Vikram Nongmaithem


UP CM Akhilesh Yadav has a new lieutenant to checkmate his uncles who are rival centres of power. Corporates eyeing lucrative deals in the state must now pay obeisance to Yadav’s father-in-law SC Rawat, a retired colonel. Last year, Yadav’s wife Dimple won the Lok Sabha seat he vacated on becoming CM. Her father’s newfound importance is linked to Yadav’s bid to build a war chest to beat back a challenge by his uncles, Shivpal and Balram, should his party fare poorly in the 2014 polls. Delhi’s real estate lobby with interests in UP is reportedly happy dealing with the former soldier who is based in Shimla.

Uncle Uncut 

Jammu & Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah too has an uncle situation. Mustafa Kamal, his father’s brother, caused a flutter this week saying the state should have a prime minister. Kamal, an MLA, has a reputation for making outrageous statements. He had earlier accused the Indian Army of reviving militancy to counter challenges to their immunity under AFSPA. He also questioned the 24 June attack on an army convoy. Kamal was relieved as National Conference spokesman in 2011 after he said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had no role in the state.

Illustration: Mayanglambam Dinesh
Their electoral losses two months ago notwithstanding, Opposition leaders in the Karnataka Assembly, HD Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) and Sadananda Gowda of the BJP, have wrangled Toyota Fortuner suvs for themselves from CM Siddaramiah’s government. The CM offered both leaders Toyota Corollas but they refused them. Gowda said the previous BJP government had given the Opposition leaders Fortuners, and that’s what he wants.

Unlucky Astrologer    

Who created the latest crisis for Kerala CM Oommen Chandy? The seeds of trouble were apparently planted when a fortuneteller told Home Minister Thiruvanchiyur Radhakrishnan that he would soon be chief minister. Party insiders blame the home minister for leaking the phone call records of the main accused in the solar scam arrested this month, in which the CM ’s name figured prominently. Last heard, the home minister and his soothsayer were on their way out.

Illustration: Mayanglambam Dinesh

Power Pack

The old guard still carries influence with the new chairman of the Congress party’s communications department, Ajay Maken. Last week, when party president Sonia Gandhi convened a meeting of Congress CMs to discuss the Food Security ordinance, reporters sought a briefing but were told Maken was busy. When the press corps pressed former chairman Janardhan Dwivedi, he telephoned Maken. A briefing was held promptly.


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