Offence is the best form of defence
It is well known that minister of state for human resource development (HRD) Shashi Tharoor has a way with words. At a press conference recently, his boss, HRD minister MM Pallam Raju was having a tough time answering questions on the ministry’s recent decision to create a new technical education accreditation body when the government already has one. Raju, who was earlier minister of state for defence, said: “My, you guys are tougher than the defence journalists.” Tharoor added instantly: “Those are defence journalists, these are attack journalists.” If words could kill…
You can bank on her
Last week, when the standing committee on finance was discussing the Microfinance Institutions Development and Regulation Bill, Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury demanded that special attention be given to financial empowerment of women in the backdrop of the December 16 gang rape case. She found support from some MPs on the panel and finally, the finance ministry was told that banks should be asked to give more loans to women. As they say, strike while the iron is hot.
Slugging it out
The all-party meeting on Telangana last week saw a fiery exchange between MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy. The two have been at loggerheads since the expansion of the Bhagya Lakshmi temple that is located at the base of Hyderabad’s famous Charminar monument. The expansion had prompted Owaisi to withdraw his party’s support to the Congress in the state and the UPA at the Centre. At the all-party meeting, Owaisi took the opportunity to attack Reddy and at one point the two were heard shouting at each other. Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde had to intervene to control the situation by asking Owaisi to confine his speech to Telangana and Reddy to listen patiently.
A direct threat
Is Union science and technology minister S Jaipal Reddy mulling to quit the Cabinet? According to Congress MPs from Telangana, Reddy will resign if the Centre denies formation of a separate state. The MPs have also reportedly told Congress president Sonia Gandhi that they might have to leave the party and choose their own political paths if the Centre does not concede to their demand of statehood for Telangana.
His master’s ears
Even though this was the first time that minister of state for planning Rajeev Shukla was participating at the National Development Council meeting, he had an important role to play: he had to keep a tab on Opposition chief ministers. Shukla was quick to inform Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s walk-out announcement. After he got the news, the PM asked senior ministers to rebut her claims in the media and set the record straight. You see, it’s all about timing.