On the wrong feet
Is expelled Samajwadi Party leader Jaya Prada trying to mend fences with Mulayam Singh Yadav? Many SP leaders looked surprised when the actor-politician, a protege of Amar Singh, came rushing towards Yadav in Parliament last week and touched his feet. Yadav also reciprocated by putting his hand on her head. The Lok Sabha MP from Rampur is feeling isolated in the house as SP members hardly interact with her for fear of annoying their boss.
Striking the right note
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the BJP’s Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj have struck a rapport over the years. The Women’s Reservation Bill has brought them even closer. The other day in the Lok Sabha, Swaraj scribbled something on a piece of paper and sent it across to Gandhi who nodded in acknowledgement. Leaders from both the parties are wondering about the contents of the slip. Gandhi has just returned from America, where her mother is undergoing treatment. Perhaps, it was about her mother, a Congress leader later said.
On a different bandwidth
V. Maitreyan, the AIADMK’s Rajya Sabha leader, carries three mobiles with him. One is exclusively reserved to receive calls from his leader, Jayalalithaa. He won’t part with the number of that phone because the party supremo wouldn’t like it to be engaged when she calls. The idea of a separate phone to converse with her was Madam’s idea. She didn’t want to talk to key party leaders on listed numbers lest Telecom Minister A. Raja is ‘eavesdropping’. The last time the phone rang was when Jayalalithaa called to congratulate Maitreyan on raising the 2G spectrum scam.
Scoring points on Sibal
The human resource development ministry under Kapil Sibal prides itself for transparency, and officers are seen staying
back in Shastri Bhawan till late answering queries under the Right to Information Act. But one recent RTI application left the ministry stumped. The applicant demanded details of how much Sibal, IIT directors and each faculty member scored in their school-leaving examinations. The ministry has asked the IITs for information on the faculty and directors. But the Cabinet Secretariat — the nodal agency that keeps details of ministers — has no information on Sibal’s performance. And no one in the ministry is keen to ask the minister himself.
Room for accommodation
The CPI(M)'s extended central committee meeting at Vijayawada from August 7-10 saw participants unhappy with their hotels. Some members from Kerala sought the help of a Congress minister in the Union Cabinet to arrange for government guesthouses for their stay. The minister obliged. Unlike the usual party meet where comrades meet for discussions and more discussions, there was some fun element this time — a boat ride on the Krishna for the participants.