Preparing for 2014

Preparing for 2014

The Congress Coordination committee for the 2014 elections has started meeting at 15 Gurudwara Rakabganj road, a secluded government bungalow close to Parliament. As in 2006, a war room has been set up which includes data on all 543 constituencies, detailed maps of areas, a plasma screen, video conferencing facilities and digitisation. The members of the committee include Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, Digvijay Singh, Jairam Ramesh, Madhusudan Mistry and Janardhan Dwivedi. Two meetings of the committee have already been held. The key states of Bihar and Tamil Nadu figured in the discussions. The Congress believes that if it can persuade Nitish Kumar and Jayalalithaa to support the UPA, it would turn out to be a game changer.

Gadkari still favourite

Despite the bad media publicity he had received, the RSS is still reluctant to deny Nitin Gadkari a second term as party president. The process for appointing a party president has been deliberately delayed. There is a 'go slow' in completing state unit polls in half the states, a mandatory requirement before the election of the new party president can take place. In any case, the date for appointing the next party president is flexible and depends on what date they choose to hold as the standard. For his first term, Gadkari's name was declared at the end of December, but he took charge only in mid January and announced his new team on February 10. All four top leaders in the RSS hierarchy are still backing their fellow Maharashtrian and see the adverse publicity against him as a conspiracy. Considering that Gadkari's Purti group is filled with RSS employees, the RSS is in no mood to tarnish a body of which it is very much a part of.

Turning 60

Three important parliamentarians are turning 60 in the same week. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley celebrates his birthday on December 28 and several parties are being hosted in his honour. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid turns 60 on January 1, while Commerce Minister Anand Sharma's birthday falls on January 5. Referring to the new stage of life they will enter, Sharma entreated Jaitley in Parliament to think of practicing a new form of yoga which would be beneficial.

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