Raja’s shrinking bandwidth
Parliament's winter session may see new signs of political alignments in Tamil Nadu. AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa has directed her MPs to target telecom minister A Raja for the spectrum scam but keep mum if the Opposition attacks the Government and the Congress for the CWG scams. The DMK's plan too is that its 16 MPs will stay neutral on the issue of the CWG scams. But the ten Tamil Nadu Congress MPs are in no mood to bail Raja out if he faces trouble on the 2G spectrum. Last week, Home Minister P Chidambaram held a lengthy discussion with DMK chief M Karunanidhi on the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue.
What was that again?
Mehbooba Mufti, leader of the opposition in J&K, had to travel to London to meet one of her daughters studying there. But there was a last minute glitch in her travel plans. After she reached Delhi to apply for a visa, Mufti realised that her passport had expired. Embarrassed, Mufti laughed it off by saying she is suffering from “memory loss”. One of her party leaders later attributed this “memory loss” to “hectic political activities back home”. An attempt at sarcasm, perhaps?
Sunny side up
At the Diwali get-together of the BJP, party president Nitin Gadkari displayed his witty side. When Gadkari joined former president Rajnath Singh on the lawns at Arun Jaitley’s residence, the venue of the get-together, news camerapersons surrounded him for photographs. At this, Singh remarked with a smile: “When I was president, these cameras would follow me. Ab to bas ek-do aakar photo kheench kar chale jaate hain (Now just one or two click and leave),” Singh told Gadkari. The latter retorted, translating a Marathi saying that “everybody salutes the rising sun”. When asked by a scribe whether he was the rising sun, Gadkari played it down as a light remark.
Writes of passage
Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal is set to become the first Indian education chief to write for the Harvard International Review, whose editors have requested Sibal to write for their magazine. Sibal, an alumnus of Harvard Law School, is understood to have agreed. Sibal, known to have a soft corner for his past academic associations, will be able to reconnect with his alma mater. National Book Trust chairman Bipan Chandra, who once taught Sibal, supposedly has easier access than most to the HRD minister and never tires of speaking about his former student.
At a loss for words
Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP spokesperson was pleasantly surprised when the prime minister’s office invited her for a lunch hosted at 7, Race Course Road for former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga who is on a private visit. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appreciated her performance in TV debates. “Nirmalaji, you have brought content to debates on television.” Sitharaman was left speechless by the PM’s compliment.
DMK’s rescue act
With his ratings in Delhi still unimpressive, Union minister MK Alagiri thinks it’s best to worry about his own people. When 80 construction workers from Tamil Nadu got stranded in Libya without proper food and wages, Alagiri played the saviour, contacted Indian embassy officials in Tripoli and managed to rescue the first batch of 40 workers.