Everybody was surprised to see Congress president Rahul Gandhi reach Rajghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, early on Monday to lead the protests against the increase in petrol and diesel prices. Few in the Opposition, let alone in the Congress, had expected the Congress chief to be present for the Bharat Bandh protests after his pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar. The trek to and from Kailash Mansarovar takes about three days and Gandhi was earlier scheduled to return on September 12. He completed the journey in half that time so that he could return to Delhi to take part in the protests. His presence boosted the morale of the party leadership and also conveyed the seriousness of his intent to the rest of the Opposition.
Arrogance, thy name is…
A panel discussion after the launch of senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s book, Shades of Truth: A Journey Derailed, in the capital on Friday had some interesting moments. One such moment was when both P Chidambaram and Sibal admitted that there was indeed a division in the party on moving the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in April this year. But the moment of the function came when the discussions veered towards the Congress party’s failure to defend itself when scams started hitting the headlines with unfailing regularity. While Sibal insisted that nothing could be proved and that the scams were just a figment of imagination, the moderator said perhaps some ministers at that time became too arrogant and ignored the need to put up a strong defence. At this point, Chidambaram asked the moderator to name the arrogant leaders he was talking about. There was a deafening silence after that.
All in the family
A high-level delegation from Karnataka led by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday and sought relief for the seven flood-hit districts of the state. The delegation comprised former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, and ministers H D Revanna, R V Deshpande, D K Shivakumar and Krishna Byre Gowda. According to sources, when it was time to introduce the delegation to the PM, Deve Gowda started off by introducing his sons Kumaraswamy and Revanna. The PM remarked — albeit jokingly — that it seemed like a family affair. If the Gowda family members were at a loss for words, the Congress members in the delegation did little to hide their mirth. Bharatiya Janata Party’s Karnataka unit leaders were also invited to the meeting but they chose to give it a miss.