Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik was taken by surprise at a seminar on disability at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi on Friday. Two disabled students asked him to extend the Rajiv Gandhi Fellowship for SC/STs to the disabled. Even as Wasnik was saying that he would consider the proposal, a professor announced that he was extending the fellowship to the disabled and pledged a month’s salary to it, requesting the minister to do the same. Wasnik had no option but to say yes. He asked the prof to inform him of the name of the scheme so that he could send the money. “Why, to the Rajiv Gandhi Fellowship, of course,” came the reply. Wasnik creaked open a smile in response.
Not getting his weekend fix
Isn’t it a bummer when you’re made to work on a weekend? Well, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal isn’t happy at all with the central government for holding conferences on Saturdays and Sundays. At the CMs’ conference on price rise and internal security last Saturday and Sunday, Dhumal rued that he had to cancel “important engagements” to attend the meet. “We keep Saturdays and Sundays free to visit our constituencies... Can’t they hold these conferences on working days?” he was heard telling an aide.
One man, one post?
On the subject of last week’s chief ministers’ conference on internal security, there was something very different from past meets. Home Minister P. Chidambaram has already pointed to one difference: there were “no discordant voices” during the meeting, quite an achievement especially in the context of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi quarrelling with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee a day earlier at the CMs’ conference on price rise. The other difference was the absence of the National Security Advisor (NSA), a fixture in past meets. NSA Shiv Shankar Menon has been assigned to look at the international situation rather than get involved in domestic problems. Is that another tell-tale sign that we now have a single chain of command in the security establishment?