Raindrops keep falling
All is not right with the Army’s Rs 64-crore Manekshaw centre, inaugurated at Delhi Cantonment last week. The centre could not withstand the unseasonal showers last Friday and the ceiling started leaking, with puddles of water accumulating on the marble floor. This, on a day when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was there to deliver the valedictory address at a seminar marking the golden jubilee of the National Defence College. A few officers were overheard thanking the rain gods for not striking earlier when the PM was delivering his speech.
Sounds of silence
Former Union minister and Tamil Nadu Congress leader EVKS Elangovan is known as a critic of chief minister M. Karunanidhi and a staunch opponent of the Congress-DMK alliance. He does not see eye-to-eye with Tamil Nadu Congress president K.V. Thangkabalu either, who does not support the snapping of ties with DMK. Elangovan has been warned of strict action for speaking against the alliance. But that didn’t dampen the spirits of Elangovan who was elated when he found himself seated with Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the dais at a Tiruchy rally on October 9. Elangovan was restrained from speaking at the meet, with Gandhi even putting her finger to her lips at one point, gesturing to him to keep quiet.
No ticket or tea
The majority in the Congress know the importance of a Rajya Sabha ticket. The other day, a lawyer from Uttar Pradesh was seen pleading with Congress veteran Motilal Vora for a ticket to the upper house. Vora heard the lawyer’s arguments and politely refused, saying the decision rested with the high command. The lawyer then pleaded for presidential nomination to the Rajya Sabha. Vora said he had no such powers. The lawyer left the room only to return with a request for a different ticket this time — for the Commonwealth games. Vora offered him lemon tea instead.
New age lessons
It could be a hangover of his days as India’s science and technology minister, but HRD minister Kapil Sibal is determined to use satellite technology to aid his ministry’s mission of providing access to quality education to every child. The HRD ministry recently asked all states to use GPS technology to provide latitudes and longitudes of all schools that will be mapped to determine low school-concentration areas. Sibal had, a few months back, held a meeting with science and technology ministry officials too, and is keen to use technology in monitoring education programmes.
A surprise move
The University Grants Commission’s move to appoint a full-fledged secretary at the fag end of Chairman Sukhdeo Thorat’s term, after five years with acting secretaries, has raised eyebrows in education policy circles. Several professors and officials are wondering whether the move is legitimate. An MP has written to the government criticising the appointment, scheduled for October 29.
Lend me your ears
When it comes to giving a patient ear to any chief minister, PM Manmohan Singh shows no discrimination as Assam CM Tarun Gogoi discovered the other day. As he waited his turn, Gogoi realised that the UP CM Mayawati had been with the PM for more than an hour. “After taking so much time,” wondered Gogoi, “how can any non-Congress chief minister complain of discrimination?”