A non-virtuous vice-chancellorship
Never mind his posture. Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal is an upright man and he’s upset. He made his displeasure felt within his ministry about the controversy surrounding the selection of a new vice-chancellor for the National University of Educational Planning and Administration. R.P. Agrawal, ex-Secretary, Higher Education, was a candidate. Agrawal had raised more than a few eyebrows when he had applied for the post of VC while still working as Secretary — thus making some upright people suspect him of being in a position to influence the committee’s decision. The panel actually submitted its nominations — with Agrawal heading the list — days before Agrawal retired on October 31. With Sibal shaking his head now, Agrawal is now almost certain not to be vice-chancellor.
Meira the Greenthumb
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar intends to fight climate change from Parliament. How? For starters, the 2010 calendar her secretariat will bring out won’t have pictures of statues, political leaders or buildings of state legislatures. Instead, it will have information about the botanical aspects of the sprawling Parliament House complex sharing space with dates of the year. So will MPs turn a new leaf in the New Year?
Hamare dost Rupert-ji
At an exclusive dinner in honour of media magnate Rupert Murdoch and his son James, a Union Cabinet minister mistook the Wall Street Journal’s Indian edition managing editor Suman Dubey for Murdoch Sr. “How does Murdoch speak so fluently in Hindi?” the minister, who’s also a seasoned Congress veteran, asked another guest. As his gaffe was pointed out, the minister was suitably embarrassed. But Dubey, whose publication is part of Murdoch’s News Corp, was characteristically pragmatic. “But my Hindi isn’t that good,” he remarked.
Mishras here, Mishras there
The buzz is that a lot of resentment is brewing in the BSP against the soft-spoken Rajya Sabha member Satish Mishra. And it’s all because a posse of his relatives are holding different posts in the state administration. By one count there are 16 of them roaming around in ‘lal batti wali gaadis’ (cars with red beacons), clear signs that they are chairmen or members of committees or commissions or are government advocates or some such worthy entity. Mishra had hit the headlines as the BSP’s master strategist who had helped Mayawati rally the upper caste votes that brought her to power. But no one had quite reckoned that opening up to the upper castes was synonymous with letting a lot of Mishras loose.
BJP’s role model: Congress?
The Congress’s re-emergence from the depths in Uttar Pradesh is being acknowledged even in BJP circles. Apparently, Gopal Tandon, son of BJP veteran Lalji Tandon, wanted a Congress ticket from Lucknow (West) in the recent assembly bypolls. But Congress general secretary and UP in-charge Digvijay Singh refused to accommodate him. The Congress won the seat that was considered a BJP stronghold. In fact, the segment is part of the Lucknow parliamentary seat that Tandon Sr represents in the Lok Sabha.