Coomi Kapoor (for Info only, not official)

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Coomi Kapoor

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    ... After Rahul Gandhi’s election from Amethi in 2004, Kanishka Singh, his political aide, was a constant presence by his side. But of late Singh has not been seen as often at Rahul’s Tughlak Lane residence, leading to speculation that he was out of favour. In fact, Singh was assigned the key task of playing understudy to party treasurer Motilal Vora. The role of Vora, who turns 89 this month, is confined largely to signing cheques. According to insiders, it is Singh who handles the complex financial portfolio of the Congress. Party treasurer is a key position and bestowed only on someone considered completely trustworthy. Vora followed in the footsteps of other loyalists such as Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Ahmed Patel and Sitaram Kesri. Singh is more qualified for the post than any past treasurer —he has an MBA from Wharton and was an investment banker on Wall Street. Loyalist To Rogue There are several theories floating around as to how one-time Gandhi loyalist Shehzad Poonawalla turned rogue. ...

    Indian Express on Dec. 10, 2017, 1:22 a.m.

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    ...Actor Kamal Haasan has projected himself as the rallying point in the state for the anti-BJP, anti-AIADMK forces. He is likely to weaken the DMK, though they were once considered on the same side. Tangled TN politics Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to an ailing M Karunanidhi, political allegiances in Tamil Nadu have gone topsy turvy; nobody is quite sure just who is with whom. For instance, the AIADMK’s Rajya Sabha member V Maitreyan, who was among the first in the party to hit out at Sasikala and her role during Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation, is now siding with T T V Dinakaran, Sasikala’s nephew. O Panneerselvam and E K Palaniswami, who were both vying for the chief minister’s post, are now partners. ...

    Indian Express on Dec. 3, 2017, 12:26 a.m.

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    ...Advani, who just turned 90, was asked last week at a wedding about the state of politics in the country. The leader of the Margdarshak Mandal preferred not to comment. He no longer keeps in regular contact with political developments in the state. Without a face A problem for the Congress in the Gujarat Assembly polls is that it has no known face to project as its chief ministerial candidate. Shankarsinh Vaghela has quit the party and floated a new outfit to split Congress votes. Bharatsinh Solanki has decided not to stand for elections. Shaktisinh Gohil and Arjun Modhwadia are recognised only in their respective pockets of influence. The Congress rumour mill has it that Sam Pitroda is Rahul Gandhi’s nominee for chief minister. Pitroda, Rahul’s long-time mentor, is an OBC who was responsible for Gandhi’s recent successful tour of the US, and has now flown down to Gujarat to plan the election strategy. Some media reports have also mentioned Pitroda’s name for CM. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 26, 2017, 1:01 a.m.

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    ...The roll of honour of the Gujarat cadre includes: Additional Principal Secretary to the PM P K Mishra, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti, CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, Commerce Secretary Rita Teotia, Water Resources Secretary Amarjit Singh, Private Secretary to the PM Rajiv Topno, OSD to the PM Sanjay Bhavsar, CBI Joint Director A K Sharma, who is in charge of the key Public Policy Division, Joint Secretary to the President Bharat Lal and Director General of Hydrocarbons Atanu Chakraborty. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 19, 2017, 12:04 a.m.

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    ... Memories are short. When 26 years ago, Narasimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh launched their revolution in economic policy with a double devaluation, there was near unanimous denunciation by the leading economists of what they had done. Ruination was predicted. The World Bank was thought to be dictating India’s policy. Even after all these years, the CPM/CPI keep denouncing neoliberalism. They prefer socialist stagnation. For a government to be criticised for undertaking deep reform is almost invariably a compliment. The BJP should be proud that it has undertaken several policy initiatives which have begun to clear the decades of debris left from earlier economic policies. Lenin said you could not make an omelette without breaking eggs, nor a revolution without breaking heads. There is still unfinished business which will bring forth cries of anguish; ignore them. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 12, 2017, 12:15 a.m.

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    ... The Congress is excited over the positive response in Gujarat to Rahul Gandhi. Youth are at the forefront of the anti-BJP campaign. But party veterans fear that the Congress could lose the initiative because of divisions between the old guard and Rahul’s people. For instance, veteran Ashok Gehlot is the general secretary in-charge, but Rahul Gandhi appointed four deputies under him. One of them, Balasaheb Thorat, also heads the screening committee for candidate selection and reports directly to Rahul. A recent blunder was to allow Reshma Patel, the fiery orator who was once a close aide of Hardik Patel, to slip out of the Congress camp. Reshma, who has fallen out with Hardik, was willing to join the Congress if nominated for Keshad seat in Saurashtra. She flew to Delhi to finalise her entry. However, the Congress backed down because Hardik objected. As a result, Reshma, as well as Hardik’s spokesperson Varun Patel, joined the BJP. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 12, 2017, 12:15 a.m.

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    ...Rahul Gandhi’s pet dog Pidi became an overnight sensation following his master’s jocular tweet. Specially as former Congressman Himanta Biswa Sarma was quick to tweet back that Pidi was the same frisky Fox Terrier whom Rahul was preoccupied feeding biscuits to when he should have been discussing the political crisis in Assam. A grievance shared by a number of Congress leaders. Pidi joins a long list of pets closely associated with their political masters. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as opposition leader, was devoted to his small but ferocious Apso and was tolerant of the fact that the fluffy dog at his side sometimes snapped and even lunged at his visitors; it even once bit his master. Arun Nehru warned his intimidated guests not to move from their seats because of the large hound at his feet. The hound looked suspiciously like a Dalmatian, generally considered friendly. Sitaram Kesri kept several Pomeranians. He even sent them in his air-conditioned car to eat ice cream at India Gate. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 5, 2017, 1:12 a.m.

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    ...Major goof-up The BJP has been consistent in its vehement protests against the “glorification” of Tipu Sultan by the Congress. It was therefore mortified when President Ram Nath Kovind praised the 18th-century Mysore ruler in the Karnataka Assembly. A red-faced Karnataka BJP, which believes that Tipu was anti-Hindu, tried to cover up by claiming that it was Chief Minister Siddaramiah’s office which wrote the speech for the President. But to the BJP’s discomfiture, it turns out that the speech was in fact written at Rashtrapati Bhavan, with inputs from the office of the Karnataka Assembly. The President personally cleared the speech before it was finalised. So either someone from the Rashtrapati Bhavan media department who wrote the speech’s first draft was ignorant of the confrontation between the BJP and Congress over Tipu’s legacy, or else, as seems rather unlikely, President Kovind is genuinely appreciative of Tipu’s role in Indian history, despite his former party’s position. ...

    Indian Express on Oct. 29, 2017, 12:43 a.m.