The third week of this month is set for a rare spectacle in the UPA administration: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the cabinet's number two - finance minister Pranab Mukherjee - will be out of the country at the same time. Incidentally, both will be in the US for official engagements.
Top UPA sources said, in their absence cabinet meetings are unlikely to be held and senior ministers like AK Antony (defence) and P Chidambaram (home) will look after the daily functioning of the government.
As a matter of policy for smooth running of the administration, Mukherjee doesn't go abroad in Singh's absence. When Singh is away, Mukherjee heads the cabinet meetings.
This time, Mukheree will leave for Washington for the annual meeting of the fund banks (IMF and World Bank) on September 21. On the same day, Singh is also scheduled to leave for New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Both leaders are scheduled to return on September 27.