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A house, or two, for Priyanka Gandhi to help lift UP Congress’ flagging fortunes

Pre-Truth — snappy, witty and significant snippets from the world of politics and government.

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Congress house-hunting in Lucknow, Prayagraj for Priyanka Gandhi 

After Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was asked to vacate her government-allotted bungalow in New Delhi’s Lodhi Estate last June, party workers in Uttar Pradesh were thrilled to hear reports that she was scouting for a house in Lucknow. They saw in this move the Congress general secretary as well as the Gandhi family’s willingness to sweat it out in the Hindi heartland, where the party is virtually defunct.

Priyanka, the general secretary in-charge of UP, was said to have zeroed in on a house belonging to late Congress leader Sheila Kaul. However, the grapevine now has it that she has changed her plans due to security concerns, and her team is actually looking for two rented houses — one in Lucknow and the other in Prayagraj.

Priyanka Gandhi’s personal secretary Sandeep Singh is leading the search for the two houses, and recently visited Prayagraj to meet some local leaders and see a house that will also have a small war room for eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Congress leaders in Lucknow have been given to understand that Priyanka will be visiting UP every month from January 2021, having not visited the party’s state headquarters since December 2019. The Congress is struggling to remain relevant in UP politics — in the recent assembly by-elections, it polled 7.53 per cent of the total vote, with its candidates losing their deposits on four seats and finishing second on two, while on the Tundla seat, its candidate’s nomination papers were rejected.

Also read: Soldiers still in stand-off in Ladakh, CDS Rawat & BJP MP Lekhi flag off Chinese car in Delhi

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma goes mask-less at rallies, supporters follow suit

From padyatras to bike rallies, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has been rigorously campaigning for next week’s Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) polls, and routinely appearing without a mask. He has been campaigning for a month, and is followed by thousands of mask-less supporters in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).

Sarma holds the health portfolio among many others in the Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP government, but besides his personal security officers, the police personnel deployed on the ground are among the few who wear masks in public gatherings, where social distancing is not feasible.

Assam Health Ninister Himanta Biswa Sarma greeting a crowd without wearing a mask | By special arrangement
Assam Health Ninister Himanta Biswa Sarma greeting a crowd without wearing a mask | By special arrangement

Sarma has attempted to charm his way into the Bodo community with his rhetoric and style. He announced his personal phone number in a public rally and asked people to WhatsApp him. He also responds to countless selfie requests, shaking hands with hundreds of fans, and flashing a wide grin for those waiting with smartphones to catch a glimpse of him.

Karnataka MLA called Duryodhan sees humour in his name

Karnataka’s Raibag BJP MLA Duryodhan Mahalingappa Aiholi was recently asked an interesting question by journalists: How does he manage with a name of the antagonist from the epic Mahabharata? The leader laughed it off and said his parents were very smart as they named him to ensure no one can cast an evil eye on him.

“My name has been lucky for me as my political career has been quite successful, and I have been an MLA for three terms. Apart from this, I am able to give my friends and colleagues a good laugh when they tease me with my name. At least I am able to spread some cheer,” Duryodhan said.

Also read: 2020 set to be the first year without a single foreign trip for PM Modi


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