Shashi Tharoor’s exit from the Union council of ministers has given hope to several aspirants. Minister of State (MoS), Railways, E. Ahamed has begun to nurse hopes of regaining the position he held during UPA-I, that of minister of state for external affairs. But who will fill Ahamed’s post? The talk doing the rounds in the corridors of power is that former Janata Dal (United) leader Digvijay Singh is negotiating an entry into the Congress, as also induction as MoS, railways. Incidentally, Singh has served as the railways MoS during Mamata Banerjee’s previous term as the railways minister.
For crying out loud
Many young Lok Sabha MPs are upset over not being able to speak in the House on important issues. Their complaint is that while senior members are given enough time to speak, they don’t even get a minute to put across their views. “We are learning the tricks of the trade from Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav. We have to raise our voices like them only then will we be heard,” said a young MP from Punjab.
No awe of the law
Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam’s visit to the US recently to negotiate direct access for India to David Headley has created a new tension in the Union government. The grapevine says that Subramaniam coordinated with home minister P. Chidambaram on the issue, much to the chagrin of Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily. The law minister is already a bit upset with the extra interest shown in his ministry by the Prime Minister’s Office and the home ministry.
A worrying exit policy
Retired Congress politicians and bureaucrats who have been pestering the party leadership for governorships have suddenly developed cold feet, says a party veteran. The sudden reluctance is being attributed to the increasing rate of fatality that seems to be coming with the post. Party senior Dewendra Dwivedi, who was in the pink of health, suddenly developed a liver problem and died after he was rehabilitated as Gujarat governor. It was almost the same case with Prabha Rau, who took over as Rajasthan governor very recently and died last week. Her predecessor S.K. Singh too died in office.
No sugarcoating his words
BJP chief Nitin Gadkari does not mince words when it comes to taking on Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, focusing his attack on the political fallout of the Indian Premier League (IPL) row over franchisees. The other day, Gadkari, who went to address sugarcane growers at Bhandara, Patel’s home constituency, chided the minister for “wasting” time “watching cricket at night and cheerleaders who lift their legs for a six and their hands for a four when you languish without power for 24 hours.” The locals loved every word, considering that the politics involving the NCP and the IPL is much discussed here. Gadkari has an eye on Bhandara for it is one of three Lok Sabha constituencies from where he may contest in 2014.
Not first among equals
Former Union Minister Shahnawaz Hussain, who is miffed over his exclusion from the list of new office-bearers announced by BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, does not hesitate to tell anyone who is interested that the “ground rule in the party” is “a winner is treated like a loser. If you lose (haar) an election, you are rewarded with a garland (haar).” Hussain is upset that party leaders like Vijay Goel made it to the list of general secretaries despite losing the last election, while he was ignored despite winning the Bhagalpur Lok Sabha seat. Last week, Gadkari met Hussain over dinner and assured him to “leave it to me, I know your potential and, as a spokesperson, you will do a great job. At the right time, I will assign you a key job.” Hussain thinks he will accept Gadkari’s word for now — till the Bihar elections are over. But he is one of the seven new spokespersons.