Thanks but no thanks
Union minister Virbhadra Singh is visibly angry with his arch political rival and Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal for denying permission to organise a public meeting at Shimla’s famous Ridge on his 78th birthday which also marked the completion of his 50 years in politics. Singh minced no words in conveying his annoyance when Dhumal called up the veteran Congress leader to wish him. “Thank you for all your kindness,” the former Himachal Pradesh CM told the incumbent. Not 50 and forward. ?
More at home here
Intelligence Bureau director Nehchal Sandhu is due to retire in December. But there is a strong buzz in Raisina Hills that he may be kept on in another key post in the security establishment. Sandhu’s track record as an operational and analytical expert is highly valued by the establishment. What adds to Sandhu’s chances is the fact that National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon is more into strategic affairs than domestic politics, giving enough space for Sandhu’s skill-sets in the national security establishment. He seems secure at the moment.
An up-lifting experience
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi waited for more than five minutes for a lift to the first floor of Pranab Mukherjee’s North Block office on Monday. The lift operator was unaware of Gandhi waiting and kept shuttling between other floors. Finally, Gandhi suggested to Mukherjee’s secretary Pradeep Gupta that they should climb the stairs. Rigorous fitness enthusiast that he is, Gandhi did not find the climb difficult. A step-by-step approach.
Friends in high places
The reach of the IITs extends beyond technology and science — into even the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). When the IIT faculty protesting against HRD minister Kapil Sibal’s plan for a single entrance test wanted to meet the PM earlier this month, they had two days to get an appointment before he left for the G20 summit. The faculty turned to two IITians — Indu Chaturvedi and Jaideep Sarkar — who are senior bureaucrats in the PMO. Needless to say, the faculty got to meet the PM in time. Not such a testing time.
When reality bites
When it comes to real estate issues, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar is quick on the draw. A day after a major fire almost destroyed the secretariat building in Mumbai, Pawar wasted no time in proposing that the state government should revamp the entire structure on its own, and not opt for either build-operate-transfer or private-public partnership models. But chief minister Prithviraj Chavan rejected the proposal, saying the question of pulling down the existing building and constructing a new one was “a bit premature”. No building blocks for Pawar.
Not such a good connection
A ‘LPG transparency’ portal launched by petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy has earned him the ire of his colleagues. They are upset that he should let out details about who is guzzling cooking gas at this time. Reddy had thought that through a single click, consumers could get to know their individual pattern of LPG usage, booking status, refill history or request for surrender of their connection. But the media went to check on Union ministers, chief ministers, MPs and VIPs who get five to six cylinders every month. The rule is that one will be supplied the gas cylinder only once in three weeks. But when it comes to the VIPs in Delhi, they can order even two in a week. Did Reddy deliberately plan this to force VIPs to forgo their entitlement? Cooking their goose?
In choppy waters
In the Trinamool Congress, it takes a long time before assurances become reality. Almost four months ago, when Mukul Roy became railway minister, party chief Mamata Banerjee told Saugata Roy, MoS (urban development), that he would be given additional charge of shipping. But till date, no further word has come from Banerjee. Also, Trinamool leaders were expecting Banerjee to demand at least one more Cabinet slot for the party but again, she has shown no sign of accommodating another party colleague in the Union Cabinet. He is clearly at sea.