The Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee Chairman, Suresh Kalmadi, has become wary of unnecessary media attention. In the last couple of Group of Ministers (GoM) meetings on the Games held at Nirman Bhawan, Kalmadi managed to give the slip to the reporters waiting outside, exiting from a gate located at the far end of the building. He also requested the ministerial staff to not talk about it. The secret route was finally revealed on September 29 by one of his Cabinet colleagues after the media kept asking about Kalmadi’s whereabouts.
Debate and rule
When pro-Ram temple AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa hailed the Ayodhya verdict, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi followed suit, little realising it wouldn’t go down well with Muslims. It was a major shift, as the DMK chief had taken a strident anti-Ram line on the Ram Sethu issue a few years ago. As DMK managers warned him of the impact on next year’s assembly polls, Karunanidhi realised he couldn’t do a volte-face but could revive the ‘Aryan versus Dravidian’ debate. “Courts are determining where Ram was born while Chola ruler Rajaraja’s memorial remains untraced,” he thundered.
An eye for an eye
Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda is not one to forget past slights. When Devendra Prasad Yadav, a former Union minister and trusted aide of Lalu Prasad, approached him for help in ‘fixing’ the RJD chief, Gowda was more than willing to help. Unwilling to forget Lalu’s ‘unfriendly ways’ when he was PM, Gowda agreed to Yadav’s idea of fielding 100 candidates in the upcoming Bihar assembly elections under the banner of Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular). Lalu’s worry is that Yadav, a five-time MP, was closely associated with the RJD poll strategies and could play a spoiler in some seats.
Out on a headhunt
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has to fill up some sensitive posts in the next four months. Apart from finding a successor to K.V.S.S. Prasad Rao, head of National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) that handles cyber-terrorism, the three other posts to be filled up by January include those of the chiefs of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the two intelligence agencies — Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
For a piece of the poll pie
Elections in Bihar never fail to disappoint. While denial of tickets leads to rebellion in all political parties, the ruling Janata Dal (United), Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan are grappling with ‘domestic discontent’ of another kind. Many leaders have started looking at the Congress as ‘a greener pasture’ for the political aspirations of their sons and wives. Personal aides are also following the trend. A close Paswan aide has been visiting the Congress headquarters frequently over the past week, seeking a ticket for his wife from the Dinara assembly segment in Rohtas district. But the move is strongly opposed by a powerful woman Congress leader who is lobbying hard for the wife of one of her close aides. Who will have the last laugh remains to be seen.