Reaping a literary harvest
Union food minister KV Thomas comes across as an affable politician, but it is not widely known that he is an author. The minister’s 11th book, For the grains, is going to be released soon and it is drawn from several speeches that he has delivered as a minister. It deals with a wide range of agriculture-related topics. The first five of his books are based on Kumbalangi, the village where he grew up, and one is on Sonia Gandhi. He’s got it write all right.
Moving forward on IIT
Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh may have earned the ire of the IIT community when he commented in 2011 that their faculty are “not world class.” But a year later, the IIT Bombay alumnus has buried the hatchet with his IIT community, and will this week attend the pan-IIT alumni meet in Kolkata. Former HRD minister Kapil Sibal, who also frequently got into tussles with the IIT community including the alumni — over faculty pay, autonomy, and most recently, admission test reforms — is also expected to attend the meet. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, not exactly an industry favourite, has a chance to redeem her image when she delivers the keynote address at the meet, the first time the global event -- to be attended by several top CEOs — is being held in Kolkata. In a class apart, it would seem.
It could have been a name changer
Minister of state for human resource development Shashi Tharoor frequently jokes about his weak Hindi speaking skills, but the former undersecretary general of the United Nations knows the nuances of his name’s spelling in Hindi well. On joining his office, Tharoor was thrilled to see that his nameplate in Hindi with a light emphasis on the ‘i’ at the end of his first name as opposed to a heavy emphasis. He told his staff he was happy because his name was often misspelt in Hindi. All’s spell that ends well.
When you can’t please them all
It was a fine political balancing act between the DMK and the AIADMK for President Pranab Mukherjee when he went to Chennai last week to attend the diamond jubilee celebration of the Tamil Nadu assembly. As DMK chief M Karunanidhi chose to stay away on the ground he was not “given due respect” by CM J Jayalalithaa, Mukherjee broke protocol to call on him at his residence, driving there straight from the airport. Later, speaking at the celebration, he praised Jayalalithaa to the hilt for providing good governance — even as he mentioned Karunanidhi briefly. But TN governor K Rosiah played it safe, lauding the CM but making no reference to the DMK chief. The next day, Karunanidhi issued a statement blaming her for the governor ignoring him. DMK sources say their leaders worked behind the scenes for Mukherjee to call on him. It was a call that Mukherjee took.
Apply apply, but no reply
The Congress has been trying to mollify former Gujarat deputy CM Narhari Amin who has been sulking after he was denied a ticket from Gandhinagar South constituency. First, Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia and AICC observer Ashok Tanwar went to meet him at his residence and then it was the turn of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel to call him. The central leadership then rushed Union minister Rajiv Shukla to Ahmedabad to use his cricket connections to pacify Amin who was once BCCI vice-president and the Gujarat Cricket Association chief. The gentleman’s not for turning.