Moving double quick these days
Expecting a promotion or change in portfolio, many junior ministers in the UPA government are working on their unfinished agendas in their respective ministries. A minister in Shastri Bhawan cleared all the files in three days expecting a reshuffle last week. Another, who has an office in the CGO complex, asked senior officials to take approvals on all pending issues and have them executed before the prime minister announces any changes in the government. Several junior ministers are not happy with the work allocated to them and are looking for bigger responsibilities in what is likely to be the last reshuffle before the next general elections. Not filing things away for another day.
On the road quite often
The ministerial staff of road minister CP Joshi have been busy ever since the latter got additional charge of the rail ministry. With Joshi deciding to accord equal priority to both the key infrastructure ministries, his staff at Transport Bhawan shift base to Rail Bhawan during the first half of the day, post-lunch they move back to their original office in Transport Bhawan. In between, there is a bit of running around for the rail ministry bureaucrats if some late evening meeting is scheduled at Transport Bhawan. That both the ministries are located within a stone’s throw away from each other is the only respite. Seems like the dual charge for Joshi, who has a penchant for holding regular review meetings, will ensure that the bureaucrats of both the ministries are kept on their toes, at least for the time being. Joshi is not too keen to retain the road portfolio. He’s on the right track.
The iron lady melts a bit
Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa is not known for impromptu public darshans due to security reasons. But the other day, she couldn’t help but notice an old man who had been greeting her every time she passed near Chennai's Queen Mary's College, which is close to her Poes Garden residence. For days on end, 72-year-old Arumugam has been standing at the same spot. As policemen brought him to her, she sought to know what made him stand there come rain or sunshine. A trembling Arumugam told her that he was in a state of penury and his son was without a job. She assured him that his son would get a job instantly. Now, exasperated AIADMK leaders, who wait for an audience with her, are wondering whether they should resort to the same style to catch her attention. When waiting really paid off.
All for alliteration now
Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury is known for making off-the-cuff remarks. When her attention was recently drawn to a statement by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee that the UPA government was running on money, muscle and mafia, she retorted by saying that the West Bengal chief minister was part of the UPA not so long ago. Chowdhury went on to say that "money, muscle, mafia and Mamata, all are connected...all Ms and M stands for Mamata also". M is also for minefield in politics.
Tussle behind the façade
In the giant hall where the BJP's national council was deliberating at Surajkund, the walls had large cutouts of leaders with their quotes on various issues. The choice of leaders was, however, ironical. There was Swami Vivekanand, SP Mukherjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, AB Vajpayee and Nitin Gadkari. No one else — not even Advani, who once led the rathyatra to catapult the party to national status. But, on the final day, the anomaly was silently corrected, with two Advani cutouts apparently being put up the previous night. The sudden course correction did throw light on the BJP's power struggle. Not cut out for diplomacy here.