Lapang’s adviser boasted of political connections, removed

Lapang’s adviser boasted of political connections, removed

New Delhi: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who is being groomed as the ruling party’s future prime ministerial candidate, seems to be leaving no stone unturned in maintaining a “good image" for himself. His office is apparently paranoid about protecting his name from being misused by any one – no matter how big the person is.

However, there seems to be no dearth of people in Congress who do not hesitate to drop his name to flaunt their importance.

The latest in the list of those who burnt their fingers by flaunting his name is Anish Gandhi, who was appointed in last August as adviser to Meghalaya chief minister D.D. Lapang. Realizing that his claims of proximity with Rahul Gandhi was flaunted very frequently, Rahul Gandhi’s office intervened and Anish Gandhi had to quit last week. Sources close to Gandhi’s office confirmed that it had brought the “misuse" of his name into the notice of the Meghalaya government, and sought its intervention into the matter.

As per the order issued on 3 April by Meghalaya chief minister’s secretariat (reviewed by Mint), it has accepted Anish Gandhi’s resignation. “You are accordingly relieved of all the duties and responsibilities of the assignment with immediate effect," the letter addressed to Gandhi says. Lapang told PTI that Gandhi’s resignation had been accepted as he wanted to take care of his parents in Canada.

Anish Gandhi, a 34-year-old engineer graduate, had apparently claimed his proximity with the Amethi MP, to get the adviser’s post – equivalent to that of secretary in the union government. Congress leaders say it was such claims that won him adviser post to the National Institute of Rural Development and also in the ministries such as Panchayati Raj and sport and youth affairs in the past. Incidentally, he was drawing just Re.1 as salary.

Anish Gandhi’s appointment was widely reported in the local news papers.

“A member of the Indian Youth Congress and part of “Rahul brigade", said one newspaper. Said ABC live-online: “ Indian National Congress party future prime ministerial candidate Rahul Gandhi has started to adjust his young team into prime key positing in governance. Latest in series reported from Meghalaya, where chief minister DD Lapang has appointed electronics and telecommunication engineer Anish Gandhi, a close aide of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, as his adviser."