Where is Rahul Gandhi? This question has popped up once again after he skipped key party meetings in the aftermath of the violence in Delhi over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. In fact, he was conspicuous by his absence from a Wednesday meeting of the party, which was called specifically to discuss the prevailing situation in Delhi, for which all Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs were summoned. Party sources defended him saying the Gandhi scion was away on a tour, but as a party veteran pointed out, Gandhi was missed as he was still the party's best bet — if for nothing else, for his ability to rile the BJP leadership.
US President Donald Trump's headline-grabbing press conference with both Indian and foreign journalists on Tuesday, was a hurried affair. Invitations to media houses went out well past midnight, with most journalists barely getting the chance to register themselves before the window of opportunity closed at 9 am sharp. Embassy officials swore they had received instructions on getting the event off the ground at the last minute. This was confirmed by a hassled Trump administration staff member who hinted that no trade deal and few official-level talks meant that the US president had a sizable chunk of his day free. However, despite some hiccups with regard to incessant security checks for media personnel, the event seems to have gone smoothly enough. After the hour-long question-answer session ended, one senior official looked relieved. Similar events at the White House rarely go so smoothly, he confessed.
AAP vs Congress
The success of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi elections has spelt fresh trouble for the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh. While the grand old party is looking to revitalise its operations in the country's most populous state, AAP's stellar win in Delhi is drawing UP Congressmen, especially the younger lot, towards it, upsetting the plans of Congress general secretary in charge of UP, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. At a recent roadshow organised by the AAP in Lucknow, several key Congress leaders from the state joined the party which is looking to aggressively expand footprint in the state. The list includes such names as former president of Uttar Pradesh unit of the Youth Congress Nadeem Ashraf Jaisi and his erstwhile deputy Manish Chaudhary. Jaisi, who hails from Congress' pocket borough of Rae Bareli, was once considered close to the Gandhi family.