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Keeping tabs on the political grapevine

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is quite familiar with Chinese leaders, having notched up 22 meetings with them. The one with Wen Jiabao was the 11th between the two. Singh apparently hits it off better with the affable Wen than with the glacial President Hu Jintao.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2010 23:27 IST

Learning to say Wen

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is quite familiar with Chinese leaders, having notched up 22 meetings with them. The one with Wen Jiabao was the 11th between the two. Singh apparently hits it off better with the affable Wen than with the glacial President Hu Jintao. However, Wen turned inscrutable when officials suggested at least one question from the media or any quarters during the visit. Perhaps he could field a question after his lecture at the Indian Council for World Affairs was one suggestion. But the Chinese clammed up. The Indian media's critical stories about China, they feel are the handiwork of government officials. In their eyes, the Indian media did not know Wen to fall in line like their own hacks.

Point not well taken

Party veteran and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is wont to work himself into a lather quite often. At the party's subjects committee meeting on Saturday, he told off many leaders during discussions on the draft resolutions. Former Chhattisgarh CM Ajit Jogi was among those who faced Pranabda's ire. During a discussion on 125 years of the Congress, when Jogi intervened to make a point, Mukherjee was quick to silence him. "Mr Jogi you can write an article on the subject but we can't accommodate your views in this resolution," an annoyed Mukherjee told him. The speak when you are spoken to rule.

Old acquaintance is forgot

Off with the old and on with the new as the year draws to a close seems the new Congress motto. The Congressmen who figured in general secretary Digvijaya Singh's list of leaders "nearing expiry date" are in no mood for some festive cheer. Singh, while speaking at the AICC plenary, requested Rahul Gandhi to select his own team and retire those who had been selected by Rajiv Gandhi as they are all past their shelf life. Besides himself, Singh named Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmad Patel, Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and Union ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and Harish Rawat. Hooda, who is constantly under attack from rivals within the party couldn't hide his surprise whem Diggy spoke. A few minutes later Singh and Patel were seen sharing a good laugh. But for the rest, it is just a nervous titter.

Spy in the sky

A battle royal for the top post in the Research and Analysis Wing — the country's external intelligence agency — is on. The current spook-in-chief KC Verma is set to retire on January 31, 2011. The grapevine had it that Verma would move out a month before his tenure ends to enable Sanjiv Tripathi, who otherwise retires on December 31, to be appointed. But there is no truth to this. AB Mathur (IPS) and Anand Arni — both currently in R&AW — and UK Bansal (IPS-special secretary, internal security, ministry of home) are in the fray. Some of them will definitely not be able to come in from the cold.

No more tweet nothings

Congress spokesman Manish Tewari's Twitter account has been hacked. An imposter has been regularly posting tweets from his account for more than a month now, not exactly in line with the party policy. Tewari has requested the Twitter management to close his account. Quite a tweet feat that.