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Keeping tabs on the political grapevine

india Updated: Mar 12, 2013 00:02 IST

A resourceful minister
Minister of state for human resource development Shashi Tharoor is often ridiculed by more traditional sections of the political class for the time he spends on the social networking site Twitter. He uses his vast following on the network to try and help people, even save lives. From people in urgent need of a particular rare blood group to charities conducting eye donation camps, Tharoor’s Twitter account is frequently bombarded with requests from people in need. All they need him to do is to retweet their requests, and the message reaches over a million followers across the world — immediately. Tharoor always obliges them. His retweets have already reportedly helped save a life in Madurai. Casting his network really wide.

He’s still a real sport
Urban development minister Ajay Maken took on Suresh Kalmadi and other entrenched, non-performing or corrupt sports administrators when he was sports minister. He no longer holds that portfolio, but Maken built such support among sports lovers and sportspersons in his earlier role, that when the International Olympic Committee recently decided to ban wrestling from the 2020 Olympics, many turned to Maken for help. And he didn’t stay silent. He told those who met him that he thought the IOC decision was “insane” and personally asked new sports minister Jitendra Singh to intervene. He eventually wrote to the IOC registering India’s opposition to the move. He still grapples with sports issues.

Leader of the carpool
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s new car, a Mercedes Benz R350 CDI 4Matic, makes many heads turn in Parliament and has become an object of envy among fellow MPs during the budget session. Often people are seen examining the car at close quarters. “Yeh samajwadi neta hain (he is the socialist leader),” an MP from Maharashtra was heard telling his party colleague the other day. The sarcastic comment forced an SP MP to run towards his vehicle that was following his party chief’s car. Always the big wheel in the party.

The power of none
The Rajya Sabha MP from the National Conference Ghulam Nabi Ratanpuri has been frequently crossing swords with his party leader and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah. A day after Abdullah broke down in the state assembly over the killing of a youth in Baramulla and slammed the Centre for its refusal to withdraw the Armed Force Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of Kashmir, Ratanpuri sought to puncture the CM’s claims by circulating home minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s reply to his question. The NC MP wanted to know the names of state governments that have formally requested the revocation or abolition of AFSPA to which Shinde replied none. Not too many in the queue to get rid of this law.

Keeping the master list under a lid
The general elections may be due only in a year, but the BJD boss and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is already giving his party MPs and Lok Sabha ticket aspirants a few sleepless nights. Patnaik conveyed to the party that he has already prepared an initial list of candidates where he has kept just one name against some seats but in other seats there are a couple of candidates. Nobody has any idea about possible choices. Pulling off a seat feat here.