Such a long journey
BJP leader L.K. Advani and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar share a common trait: a fondness for political yatras. Before the 2005 assembly elections in Bihar, Kumar had embarked on the Nyaya Yatra, following it up with the Vikas Yatra and the Pravas Yatra. In the run-up to this year’s assembly elections, Kumar is planning do a Vishwas Yatra (Journey for soliciting support of the masses).
Not taking a toll
On her way to the airport last week, Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee was recognised at the highway toll gate at Palam. The agent insisted that he would not accept money from her, since ministers and MPs are exempt from paying toll. Banerjee’s reasoning was equally forceful: “I may well be a Union minister, but I am travelling in a personal car,” she said. Ultimately, the agent relented.
On the same page
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat’s love for books is well known. But now, he is reading Mahatma Gandhi. There is a reason why the Marxist leader has turned to the father of the nation. Karat is writing a forward essay to the book — Mahatma and the Ism by E.M.S. Nampoodiripad, which Leftword publications in republishing to mark the centenary celebrations of Nampoodiripad.
Best past the post
Usually, a director’s post in the government of India is not one that creates much of a buzz. But when it comes to the two most important directors in the Government among the IFS officers — one at the Prime Minister’s Office and the other at the External Affairs Ministry (EAM), things get a little heated up. Virendra Paul, director at the PMO, and Abhay Thakur, director at the EAM — who served S.M. Krishna as well his predecessor Pranab Mukherjee — are being posted out. The race for the successors has begun in earnest. Though the final call has not been made, the frontrunners include Pranay Verma, director, climate change, who was director at the Foreign Secretary’s office when Shivshankar Menon was the incumbent, and Gopal Baglay, who has just been relieved as director of PAI (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran).
A change in temperature
R.K. Pachauri, head of UN panel on climate change, interrupted his interview when an uneasy question on Himalayan glaciers was asked but returned the next day after a promo on a private TV channel showed him walking out. Thereafter, a private FM radio station ran a news clip saying “Pachauri ko gussa kyon aata hai?” The interviewer got a call from Pachauri’s office saying that Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change head would like to complete the interview. The interview was completed and the promo was withdrawn.