Is Sonia Gandhi Losing Grip?

Rats deserting a sinking ship are an old truism. As the UPA ship of state begins to wobble; are Congress leaders getting ready to jump? An odd sequence of events suggests something is not quite right in the Congress party. 

Recall first the background of the curious relationship that existed between the BJP poster boy Mr. Narendra Modi and Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s Political Secretary and close confidant, Mr. Ahmed Patel. Mr. Modi and Mr. Patel both belong to Gujarat. However that never provided a satisfactory explanation for the curious cooperation that became evident between them. Mr. Modi never put up a candidate against Mr. Patel but allowed him to be elected uncontested to Rajya Sabha. Later, when the Gujarat government sorely needed the export of cotton Mr. Patel intervened with the Union cabinet and had the ban on cotton exports lifted. These two events did not attract sufficient media attention. Mr. Ahmed Patel handles electronic media for his party. 

But there has now occurred an event more difficult to ignore.
Last week the former Gujarat Congress party spokesperson Ms. Asifa Khan in a well publicized press conference joined the BJP. She hails from Baruch which has a large Muslim population. Baruch also happens to be Mr. Modi’s original constituency. Ms. Khan earlier had been handpicked by Mr. Ahmed Patel to become spokesperson of the Congress. She was considered a staunch Ahmed Patel loyalist. She said she was joining the BJP to “bury the 2002 communal riots”. She said: “I am as pained as any victim of 2002 riots but the community has to move on .... BJP is working towards bringing in prosperity.” She made clear that she remained grateful to Mr. Ahmed Patel who had inducted her in politics. This development is a huge boost for Mr. Modi not for the Gujarat election but for washing off his communal taint and thereby strengthening his claim to become his party’s prime ministerial candidate.
The timing of Ms. Khan’s defection should be viewed in the context of developments within the BJP. Mr. Ram Jethmalani who had been helped by Mr. Modi to become a Rajya Sabha MP publicly criticized BJP President Mr. Nitin Gadkari and made a strong pitch for Mr. Modi to be projected as the PM. Earlier Mr. LK Advani had stated that the BJP ought to become more inclusive. This statement was widely interpreted as a dampener for Mr. Modi whose secular credentials have been questioned. On the eve of RSS Chief Mr. Mohan Bhagwat’s scheduled meeting with Mr. Modi the Gujarat Congress party’s Muslim spokesperson and staunch Ahmed Patel loyalist defected to the BJP and praised Mr. Modi. 

That some cross-party moves are afoot is clear enough. What remains unclear and crucially significant is whether Ms. Khan’s move was blessed only by Mr. Ahmed Patel or also by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. The possibility of Mrs. Gandhi approving this move is too remote for serious consideration. Ms. Khan’s continued praise for Mr. Patel is too obvious to be dismissed. Till now Mr. Patel has not criticized his protégé. 

What then are the implications? Is Mr. Ahmed Patel revolting against his boss? If so, is he alone or is this the reflection of growing disenchantment within the Congress? Does Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s writ still run as powerfully as it did or is she beginning to lose her grip? 


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

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Views: 3320      Comments: 1

Comment And there was another development on 23rd Oct evening:

Suddenly, media exposed Mr. Gadkari's case of fake identities of investors in his companies.

Earlier, Mr. Kejariwal claimed he wanted to expose Mr. Gadkari. But even before him, the media exposed (mentioning some RTI response as basis).

Congress politicians, who were out in front in media to defend Mr. Vadra only a few week back in an exposure of corruption case of similar tune, kept away from commenting on exposure of Mr. Gadkari. No Congress politician gave any comment to media directly. It was ‘reported’ that Mr. Digvijay Singh had written letter to the PM asking to order probe on exposure !

TV news reporters claimed that Congress politicians decided not to attack Mr. Gadkari personally because it would result in credit going to IAC
(what a funny reason and how well it is put in ears of media fellows who sincerely communicate to the whole country).

So, Congress is not interested in pulling Mr. Gadkari down.

Then who is behind bringing the corruption exposure out in media 'suddenly' ?

Mr. Gadkari was given second term as the BJP president to counter Modi ? What if he now has to step down ?

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
23-Oct-2012 19:33 PM

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