Gujarati delicacy dhokla | Commons
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Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have fondness for delicious Gujarati dishes such as dhokla, khandvi as well as Saurashtra food.

Despite his perceived bitterness towards the Nehru-Gandhi family, Prime Minister Narendra Modi might be happy to learn that the two top Congress leaders — Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul — have fondness for some delicious Gujarati dishes. While Modi is known for choosing the khichdi as his favourite dish, the Gandhis prefer other delicacies.

Recently Sonia Gandhi told some journalists in Parliament that she likes dhokla, which was ordered for her from the canteen. However, she felt it could be a little soggy with a good mustard and green chilli seasoning. She also shared that she likes another Gujarati dish, khandvi. The Gandhis are very particular about their diet and exercise. Normally Sonia likes to eat dosa and a cup of hot coffee in Parliament when she has the time for a bite. A senior Congress leader from Gujarat, who was sitting in the group, noted that Rahul liked the Saurashtra thali.

Tripura poll outcome key to Yechury’s third term in RS

There is a chance of the CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury coming back to Rajya Sabha for a third term depending on the Tripura assembly election results. Jharna Das Baidya, a CPI(M) member who is currently a second-term Rajya Sabha MP, is contesting the Tripura polls in a difficult constituency. If she wins, the party might ask her to give up the Rajya Sabha seat, which she won in March 2016.

The grapevine has it that Yechury could be chosen to represent Tripura in the Rajya Sabha. Though he announced last year that he would not seek a third term as the party does not allow any member a third term, but it is for the politburo to decide. As the CPI(M) has no effective presence in the House, he might be fielded again, if the politburo changes the rules.

Will Dimple yield her LS seat to husband Akhilesh?

Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav might yield her Kannauj Lok Sabha seat to her husband and former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in the next Lok Sabha elections. Akhilesh obviously wants to move to national politics with the Yogi Adityanath government firmly in place in UP. The family seems to have already decided on this. Also, Kannauj was originally his seat before Dimple represented it from 2012. Akhilesh is currently a member of the UP Legislative Council and his term ends in April.

So what happens to Dimple who has emerged as a leader in her own right? The soft- spoken Dimple, who remained a housewife after her marriage, entered politics when she was elected unopposed in a by-election from Kannauj. She won the seat again in 2014. Although Dimple initially handled the social media activities of the Yadav family, she was gradually initiated into hardcore politics. From a fumbling speaker in Lok Sabha in Hindi, Dimple had grown into an effective orator, addressing rally after rally, along with her husband during the 2017 UP polls.

The SP, however, does not want to take a risk of vacating Dimple’s seat to make her a Rajya Sabha member, as it would reduce the party strength in the present Lok Sabha. The tenure of 10 Rajya Sabha members from UP ends in April, of which the BJP will get eight seats, the SP one and the tenth seat could be won if the Congress, BSP and SP put up a combined candidate. The SP has not decided whether to repeat Jaya Bachchan or look at the caste factor.

Naresh throws his weight behind Naidu

One should not be surprised at Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP Naresh Gujral coming to the help of the agitating Telugu Desam Party, which is demanding more funds from the Centre. This is for two reasons. Firstly, the SAD is not very comfortable at the way the party has been sidelined by its partner BJP. The then deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal bluntly told BJP leaders about his party’s grievances when they had the second NDA meeting ahead of the Presidential elections in July last year.

The Punjab defeat has worsened the situation. The second reason is what many people do not know. Naresh Gujral has very good relations with Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu. It goes back to the days when Naidu was instrumental in supporting I.K. Gujral as the prime ministerial candidate in 1987 when Deve Gowda was to be replaced. The personal relationship continues even today and Naidu visits Naresh Gujral whenever he is in Delhi.

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