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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014
The Buzz - Keeping tabs on the political grapevine
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 01, 2013
First Published: 22:38 IST(1/7/2013)
Last Updated: 22:46 IST(1/7/2013)

He’s quite the family man

Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari has always come across as an aggressive spokesman for his party, the Congress, and now the government.

Those who know him better say he is a strong believer in family values and has a softer side.

Moved by the plight of ‘Chotti’, the young survivor who has become a poster girl of the Uttarakhand disaster, Tewari has launched a personal initiative to try and reunite her with her parents.

Tewari also wrote a personal letter to the National Disaster Management Authority to help launch a special mission for ‘Chotti’. But as of now, there are no signs of the girl’s parents. Beyond the call of duty.

Not all the farewells were fond

There was little love lost between former home secretary Raj Kumar Singh and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) after the latter found that it was the 1976 batch IAS officer who surreptitiously pushed the National Counter Terrorism Centre proposal onto the agenda of the Chief Minister’s Conference on Internal Security last month.

But then Singh stood up for the IB against the CBI when the agency moved to arrest Special Director Rajender Kumar in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case citing mandatory prosecution sanction from the home ministry.

Appreciative of the courage shown by Singh, IB Director Asif Ibrahim was the first one to give him a farewell dinner on June 30, the day he retired.

While the home ministry  gave Singh just a farewell tea, Ibrahim gave the former home secretary a sumptuous nihari and naan dinner besides the gift of a  Kashmiri carpet.

It is another matter that new home secretary Anil Goswami did not make it to the IB dinner citing a prior engagement.

Now that’s some food for thought.

Not holding back in his praise

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh showed unusual respect for Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who met him last week to seek Rs. 1,000 crore as relief for the flood-hit regions of the state.

Singh stood up and greeted the veteran Congress leader with folded hands and congratulated him for leading the party to victory in the state. Sources said that Virbhadra  Singh told the PM in advance about the victory of the party candidate Pratibha Singh in the Mandi by-election, which was announced on Monday. A standing ovation of sorts.

Share and share but not alike

The appointment of 44 secretaries to the Congress has caused logistical problems for the party’s managers. The Congress headquarters at 24, Akbar Road faces a shortage of rooms to accommodate such large numbers of office bearers.

Thus two to three secretaries have to share one small room. General secretary Ambika Soni too has to share her room with Karan Singh.

After taking charge of Uttar Pradesh, Madhusudan Mistry has moved to the front of the building to rub shoulders with other high-profile general secretaries.

Shakeel Ahmed, Mohan Prakash and Ajay Maken have been given bigger rooms while CP Joshi, Gurudas Kamat and Luizinho Falerio will operate from much smaller ones. Rooms with many views.

Making her presence felt

Meenakshi Natarajan, who was recently dropped as AICC secretary, is a member of a Congress panel of 36 leaders who articulate the party’s views in the electronic media.

But she has not attended a single meeting of the panel so far. Considered close to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, many party leaders claimed that she is sulking following her removal from the AICC and also for not being given a berth in the Union cabinet.

But there is talk in  Congress circles now that the Lok Sabha MP from Mandsaur will be “suitably rehabilitated” in the party in Madhya Pradesh, which goes to the polls in November-December this year.

Falling short on attendance.

Not for her eyes only, it would seem

The Congress leadership is at its wits’ end to explain how a letter reportedly written by former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to the party president Sonia Gandhi regarding the alleged terror links of the new Punjab Pradesh Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa has been leaked to the press.

While Bajwa has said that he was waiting for Amarinder to confirm whether he wrote the letter, the former CM refuses to make any comment about the “privileged’’ communication with his boss. The question is who has leaked this letter.

Tracing the missing links.


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