Missions impossible for now
The annual meeting of the heads of all Indian missions in Delhi will take place from August 26. This time, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao wants some 100 representatives of think tanks at a dinner to be hosted by her on the opening day of the meet. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) wants Ashoka hotel as the venue, but
the Tourism Ministry’s already booked it for the same days. Now MEA officials are considering whether they can get the Tourism Ministry to shift the venue of its programme.
Good timing for him
All India Congress Committee (AICC) Secretary Mohan Prakash is on cloud nine these days. One, he was granted an audience with Congress President Sonia Gandhi within a day of his seeking an appointment. The second is that Gandhi met him for 30 minutes. Prakash’s colleagues are now feeling jealous as she rarely gives that much time to any party functionary unless there is a pressing issue.
The last act in Kerala
When he was alive, screen icon MGR always sought to play down his Kerala connection because of his arch rival, M. Karunanidhi, who accused the AIADMK founder of being an outsider. Now, Kerala is about to acknowledge the late Tamil Nadu chief minister’s humble origin. A Rs 52 lakh-kalyana mandapam (wedding hall) in his memory has come up in his ancestral village of Vadavannur, 15 km from Palakkad. The AIADMK has nothing to do with it though. It will be inaugurated this week.
Stormy weather ahead
Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy shares a good rapport with Opposition leaders, particularly the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj. The other day when Narayanasamy met Swaraj at a function to mark the birth anniversary of Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee, he greeted her in Tamil. Calling her a “revolutionary leader”, he smilingly asked her about the BJP’s plans for the monsoon session beginning July 26. Swaraj too responded with a smile and informed him that while obituary references were on the first day’s agenda, it would be “Parliament bandh” the next day, giving Narayanasamy a fair idea of what is in store for the ruling coalition.
A bit of gloom service
That there are cracks in the decade-old friendship between Amitabh Bachchan and Amar Singh is not news. But an incident in a reputed London hotel a few days ago has left many feeling that the two have definitely drifted apart. The story goes thus: Bachchan looked relaxed in the hotel lounge until a call on his mobile made him leave hurriedly. Minutes later, Singh arrived with his family at the same hotel. The Bachchans apparently didn’t want to be seen around when the Singhs came. While the Bachchans were in London for the premiere of Raavan, the Singhs were supposed to be holidaying in Europe but landed up at the hotel where the former were staying.
Comrades in computers
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi doesn’t mind following the Marxists when it comes to providing cheaper IT education in schools. On learning that the Kerala government used the open-source free software, Linux, for its schools, he has decided to do the same in 3,650 schools in his state. Though his babus objected, Modi saw he could save Rs 100 crore by installing Linux in schools. Before opting for Linux, his aides tried to negotiate to install the Microsoft Windows operating system at a cheaper rate. But the talks failed.