October 20 2009

Maharashtra is turning out to be quite a minefield for the Congress. The post-poll uncertainty is the chief worry, and it has invited the concern of no less than Manmohan Singh who is usually not too keen on interfering in intra-party affairs. As expected, the good doctor has his own prescription, and this calls for batting for the Union minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, who is also the head of the party’s campaign committee in Maharashtra . Singh’s calculation is that Shinde’s projection can win the Congress the support of the weaker sections, and counter the threat from the Nationalist Congress Party’s Chhagan Bhujbal. But not everyone is willing to read Singh’s sudden interest in Shinde on such simple terms. Many believe that Singh’s prescription is for an entirely different ailment. Apparently, the PM wants Shinde to be shifted from the power ministry where reforms have not taken off in spite of the PM’s express wishes to accelerate them. Shinde’s stature is what is preventing a direct action. Hence the maha-formula.

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