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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

The buzz: keeping tabs on the political grapevine

Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 16, 2013
First Published: 23:45 IST(16/9/2013) | Last Updated: 23:50 IST(16/9/2013)

Rajnath read the script right
Never did BJP president Rajnath Singh realise that the toughest call of his life would be to convey to LK Advani, that notwithstanding his opposition, Narendra Modi would be appointed the party’s prime ministerial candidate. But finally, he gathered courage and told Advani. Did support from the RSS give Singh the courage he needed? According to his aides, more than the RSS, Singh was himself convinced that Modi was the best bet and that Advani would finally agree with the party’s decision.

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Going with the flow
There is no dearth of praise for Murli Manohar Joshi from his colleagues in the BJP. Initially, Joshi had made his reservations clear about the appointment of Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. But once he was told by Rajnath Singh that Modi carried the writ of the RSS and had the support of the majority of the party’s leadership, Joshi did not hesitate to support his former disciple. In fact, he agreed to take a special flight to be in Delhi in time for Modi’s anointment. Modi grew  close to Joshi when he served as latter’s lieutenant during the ekta yatra in 1991-92. For Joshi, it’s party before self.

Never too far from politics
President Pranab Mukherjee left electoral politics to become the country’s first citizen. But parliamentary proceedings are still close to his heart. During the monsoon session, he keenly watched the House proceedings on TV, especially on two occasions: when the House debated and passed the food security Bill, and the passage of the land Bill. Sources said that his office had cleared the file on the land Bill, as passed in the Rajya Sabha, so quickly that the government could bring the Bill back to the Lok Sabha within 12 hours and get it passed. Usually it takes a day for the president to clear the transfer of Bills from one House to another. Old habits die hard.

Food for all
Food minister KV Thomas’ enthusiasm to feed people is not restricted to the food security Bill. If you happen to be at his official residence around lunch time, you will be surely invited to the dining table. Usually on offer is fish from Kerala and vegetable from his kitchen garden.

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