No country for old men
Turmoil in the Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress is showing no signs of abating. Some senior leaders seem unhappy with the manner in which the UP Congress Committee (UPCC) was reconstituted and the way General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (pictured) is asserting her authority in the choice of key office-bearers. Peeved at being cold-shouldered, a senior Congressman and the party’s prominent Muslim face in UP, Siraj Mehdi, has resigned from the party and has sent an emotional letter to party President Sonia Gandhi. He lamented that the new UPCC gave no representation to the Shia community while the Bharatiya Janata Party governments at the Centre and in UP had nominated Shias in key positions. Mehdi also alleged there was no place for 50-plus leaders in the Congress.
Rahul breaks out of his shell
Contrary to initial reports that he would not, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will campaign for his party in Haryana and Maharashtra. Gandhi quit as the party chief after the Congress' debacle in the Lok Sabha polls and had implored senior leaders to follow his lead. None of the veterans have heeded his call, while several of the younger ones have either been sacked or quit their positions in the party. Gandhi's team has refused most requests by party candidates to campaign for them, and acceded to a handful where the candidate is not part of the party's old guard. Gandhi, who returned from his foreign sojourn, appeared before a court in Surat in a defamation case on Thursday. He will address his first public rally in Dharavi on Sunday where Varsha Gaikwad, daughter of Mumbai Congress chief Eknath Gaikwad, is seeking re-election. During Rahul Gandhi's tenure as party chief, Varsha was AICC secretary for Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls. Gandhi will also address a rally in Latur where former chief minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh's sons Amit and Dheeraj are contesting. He will campaign in Haryana on October 14, and return to Maharashtra for another round of campaigning on October 15.
High Commissioner for a day
Ayesha Khan, a 22-year-old from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, won the “High Commissioner for a Day” competition and the chance to be the UK’s top diplomat to India. The British High Commission said on Thursday Khan spent October 4 overseeing the UK’s network in India, chairing briefing sessions, networking with dignitaries, and meeting project beneficiaries. Now in its third year, the competition is a celebration of the “International Day of the Girl Child” (October 11) and was open to Indian women in the age-group 18-23. As part of the selection process, applicants were asked to record a one-minute video on why gender equality was important and state who their biggest gender-equality inspiration was.