The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Ahmedabad on Tuesday marked the debut of recently appointed general secretary of the party, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, as a member of its highest decision making body. However, at the customary photo-op of all the participants of the CWC, she stood in one of the last rows along with some of the junior leaders, while Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, along with some other top leaders, stood in the front row. Interestingly, the party had organised for modified golf carts to ferry the elderly among its leaders to the meeting venue at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial.
Confessions of an ally
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) might be the third-largest party in the current Lok Sabha and part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre, but that does not make it "a decisive political force", said party Spokesperson Avadi Kumar during a debate. Then, much to the chagrin of his party colleagues, he said in the upcoming election, his party's focus would be on the by-elections to the 18 Assembly constituencies rather than the Lok Sabha. "With 37 members in a 534-member Lok Sabha, we are just a droplet," he said comparing the fate of his party to that of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which was part of the United Progressive Alliance.
Battle for Chhindwara
The Chhindwara Lok Sabha seat in Madhya Pradesh is key for both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). For the coming Lok Sabha election, Chief Minister Kamal Nath's (pictured) son Nakul Nath will represent the seat on a Congress ticket. This is the second time since 1980 that Kamal Nath will not contest the seat. As chief minister he will fight an Assembly seat instead. Earlier, in 1996, he couldn't contest the seat after being accused in the Jain hawala case and denied a party ticket. On its part, the BJP senses a reasonably fair chance to win the seat this time around. The party is expected to field former union minister Prahlad Patel there. Like Nath, Patel hails from the tribal-dominated Mahakaushal region.