Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad who resigned from the party and launched a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi; new Tripura BJP chief who ha shis task cut out as the state goes to polls early next year; and former MP and KCR’s daughter in BJP crosshairs in Delhi excise row — we bring to you the Newsmakers of the Week.
Former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad
Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad Friday quit the party which has seen repeated electoral defeats and constant exodus of leaders. Azad’s decision to leave the party after launching one of the sharpest ever attacks on the Gandhi family was much as a surprise as his decision to lead a band of leaders to write to Sonia Gandhi calling for changes in 2020. Read this report on the veteran leader who, once a confidante of Sonia Gandhi, has severed his ties with the party after 45 years.
New Tripura BJP chief Rajib Bhattacharjee
Three months after a shake-up in the Tripura BJP that saw Manik Saha replacing Biplab Kumar Deb as the chief minister, the ruling party effected another major change by appointing Rajib Bhattacharjee its state unit president on Thursday. Saha headed the Tripura BJP before his elevation. With Bhattacharjee believed to be Deb’s confidant, political observers said it was part of the party’s attempt to create checks and balances in the senior state leadership. Read Debraj Deb’s report on the new Tripura BJP chief, his political career, and the challenges ahead.
Bihar Assembly Speaker Awadh Bihari Choudhary
Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA Awadh Bihari Choudhary from Siwan was elected the new Bihar Assembly Speaker on Friday. The 75-year-old former minister, who has had a stint in the Janata Dal (United) too, is one of the most experienced legislators in the House. He succeeds Vijay Kumar Sinha who stepped down from the post on Wednesday and is now the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly. From a Janata Party candidate to the Assembly Speaker, a look at Choudhary’s political journey.
Pinarayi confidant KK Ragesh
Since last week, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and the LDF have been going at each other over the appointment of CPI(M) leader KK Ragesh’s wife Priya Verghese as an associate professor at Kannur University. Ragesh is the private secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the governor has raised questions of impropriety. Khan stayed Varghese’s appointment in the university over alleged violation of norms and favouritism. Earlier this week, the High Court, in an interim order, stayed Verghese’s appointment and impleaded the University Grants Commission on a plea filed against the appointment and sought a reply from the governor. This episode has placed the focus on the 52-year-old Ragesh who has received unstinted support from the CPI(M). Who is Ragesh and why has the CPI(M) backed him even at the cost of escalating tension with Khan? Read Shaju Philip’s report.
Ex-MP and KCR’s daughter Kalvakuntla Kavitha
She is an MLC, a former MP, and the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who is popularly known as KCR. Kalvakuntla Kavitha now finds herself in the eye of a storm after BJP leaders in New Delhi accused her of being involved in the Delhi liquor policy row. The allegations have surfaced at a time the BJP is trying to make inroads in Telangana. Kavitha dropped out of public view for a few months in 2019 after BJP candidate Dharmapuri Aravind defeated her. She returned to public life in October 2020 after being elected to the state Legislative Council from Nizamabad. The Delhi excise row, however, may impede her efforts to corner Dharmapuri and represent Nizamabad once again in Parliament