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Keeping an equal distance

The claim by some senior leaders that they are close to the Congress top leadership irks many in the party. A senior party functionary was heard saying that those who make such claims are actually miles away from it.

india Updated: Jun 22, 2010 00:35 IST

The claim by some senior leaders that they are close to the Congress top leadership irks many in the party. A senior party functionary was heard saying that those who make such claims are actually miles away from it. To prove his point, he cited examples of how leaders like former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, who once claimed to be close to the top leadership, were cut down to size in due course of time. “The high command treats all partymen as equals... It’s just that some have little bit more access than the others,” he said. So near and yet so far it seems.

Caste-ing his net wide

The caste mathematics of poll-bound Bihar seems to be getting curiouser. With the ‘bhumihars’ no longer being as supportive of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s pursuit of a second term as before, Kumar is said to be trying to win over another section of the upper castes: Maithil Brahmins. Taking people by surprise, the CM recently made a visit to the residence of Nitish Mishra, whom Kumar had dropped from his cabinet two years ago. Considerable political significance is being attached to the meeting, since Mishra is the son of Jagannath Mishra, who still commands influence over the Maithil Brahmin community.

Rare sighting in Delhi

In the spotlight for being absent from Parliament and Delhi, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M.K. Alagiri decided to take his role in the GoM on the Bhopal gas tragedy very seriously. He went through copious Tamil notes made by his aides even and held forth on his ministry’s role at the GoM’s first meeting before his secretary took over. Those surprised by the change in Alagiri’s conduct were told that Parliament’s monsoon session may see more of him than before. He is said to have spoken to the Lok Sabha Speaker about overcoming the language problem he faces while responding to members in the House. Alagiri was ticked off by Papa Karunanidhi, saying he would have to take his work in Delhi seriously before he can hope for the chair in Chennai.

Dressed for the occasion

It’s no secret that Nitin Gadkari loves his shirts and trousers more than kurta-pyjamas. So when the BJP president wondered aloud among his Bihar colleagues whether he could turn out in his trade white shirt and black trousers at a rally in Patna, he got a firm ‘no’. Saffron leaders told him that no one takes a politician seriously in Bihar if he is not attired in a kurta, which even aspiring politicos in the state wear in the hope of building up their image. Finally, Gadkari relented and turned up in a kurta at the rally, which had a good turnout despite the Narendra Modi-Nitish Kumar spat.

It’s all about location

There are plans to shift the Ministry of External Affairs to the new building of Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan at 23-D, Janpath, by November 14, the birthday of the first prime minister after whom the building is named. But talk has started about which offices will be housed there. Not many want to leave South Block, despite the Ministry of Defence asking for more space there. Some officials are taking consolation in the fact that since interior decoration is yet to begin, no one will move in for quite a while.