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Off the record

india Updated: Jan 25, 2010 21:43 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

On the slippery slope

The 1991 batch of the Indian Foreign Service is waiting in the wings to get their promotions and postings as joint secretaries, but there is a technical hitch. The 1990 batch of IFS are already joint secretaries, but their batchmates in the Indian Administrative Service are yet to get this position. Some inquisitive diplomats, not wanting to take a chance, double-checked with friends at the Department of Personnel and Training, the government’s human resources manager. It seems they’ll have to wait for at least three more months to climb the slippery pole of bureaucratic hierarchy, for that’s when the 1990 batch of IAS officers will get their promotion.

In bits and pieces

The Amar Singh episode has led to speculation that the Samajwadi Party may now split, with the celebrities in the party threatening to part with Singh. “There will now be a Samajwadi (Y) and a Samajwadi (B),’’ quipped a Congress leader; the ‘Y’, of course, referring to the Yadavs who form Mulayam’s main support base and the ‘B’ to Bollywood icons like Sanjay Dutt, Jaya Bachchan and Jaya Prada — Singh’s ardent supporters. Singh himself had initiated the name-game when he spoke of henceforth being a “samajwadi” and not a “Mulayamwadi”.

Lock, stock and barrel

The Special Protection Group sure knows how to keep the schedule of its protectees away from curious scribes. Earlier, one look at the paper covering the sealed lock on the office doors was enough to know about Congress president Sonia Gandhi or general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s last visit to the AICC headquarters. But now the rooms are opened for airing at regular intervals and a fresh sheet with a new date is duly pasted on the locks by the SPG. In Rahul’s case the SPG has abandoned the practice of sealing the lock so no one knows if and when he comes there. As it is, Rahul prefers interacting with party workers at his Tughlak Lane residence.

Not coming a cropper

It is unusual for Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to lose his cool. But recently, he couldn’t control his temper when a representative of the lobby opposing the introduction of Bt brinjal questioned the integrity of scientists evaluating the crop. Representatives at a consultation in Kolkata alleged scientists evaluating the crop had been bought over by Monsanto, the multi-national company that researches and sells genetically-modified crops. The irony, of course, is that, in the past, Jairam Ramesh too has had concerns about GM food. Word travelled fast within the NGO circuit with the result that consultations in other cities did not witness any unsubstantiated personal attacks on the scientists.

Hearing is not believing

‘Bangaru Judeo Party’ is how a senior Congress leader referred to the BJP when his attention was drawn to an audio CD that allegedly contains the recorded voice of HP Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal ordering state vigilance chief D.S. Manhas to tap the phones of Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh. “This is yet another episode of the CD series that featured Bangaru Laxman and Dilip Singh Judeo,” he said.