Protocol has it that Prime Ministers only make way for their counterparts and those heads of State who outrank them. In the case of Manmohan Singh, however, the rulebooks went for a toss when on Thursday, the Prime Minister was returning home from work. Security officials with Singh were tipped off that a large troop of monkeys was on the PM’s route. Since the PM was already on the move and there wasn’t any time to actually remove the posse of obstructing monkeys, the Special Protection Group lads decided to make an impromptu change in the approach to 7 Race Course Road. Where the monkeys went after that, we still have no information.
A Plan B, perhaps?
Talk about self-criticism. Minutes after he released the report, ‘Macro Modelling for the Eleventh Five Year Plan,’ Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia virtually debunked it. He announced that the findings of the report could not be read as the Planning Commission’s views as the methodology used for the report had its ‘own limitations’. Close to a dozen officials from different government departments were left red-faced. But there was a saving grace: the lead author, Kirit Parikh, former member of the plan panel, had detailed the findings of the report before Ahluwalia arrived at the launch-cum -press conference. The question is: did the devil lie in the details?
Never mind the differences between the two. Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee shares at least one personality trait with her predecessor Lalu Prasad Yadav: of not being inclined to delegate responsibilities to junior ministers. The former Railways Minister was accused of not allowing enough elbow space to his Ministers of State, R. Velu and Narainbhai Rathwa. The situation doesn’t seem to have much changed in the new dispensation with Banerjee’s colleagues, E. Ahamed and K.H. Muniyappa. And just for the record, the two ministers have been allocated work through an official order. But the order — issued on June 9 — carried this important rider: “All files relating to above items of work of the Ministers of State will be submitted for the approval of the Railways Minister.”
Theory of relativity
For many a young MP hailing from a political family, learning the ropes in Parliament is perhaps easier than dealing with his or her seniors whom they have grown up calling Uncleji or Auntiji. It can be tricky for these young turks to have to suddenly adopt a more formal address. The situation is equally embarrassing for the aforementioned Unclejis and Auntijis as they don’t really want to be seen as ‘old MPs’ in contrast. A minister, in fact, urged one young member of Parliament not to call him ‘Uncle’ categorically stating that the tag “makes me feel old’’. The young ’un obliged, but added that it would take some time to get used to calling him ‘Sir’.
A newer, fresher Hindutva?
When there’s a power struggle in the Sangh parivar, changes at the top level in the BJP can’t be far behind. Rajnath Singh, so goes the buzz, may be replaced by Murli Manohar Joshi as the party chief by this weekend itself. And if that does happen, it will have very big implications for the BJP with some of its present office-bearers being changed subsequently. The RSS is determined that the BJP must adhere strictly to the Hindutva agenda. Ideology is far more important than coming to power. That’s at least what RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s new (sic) slogan is.