The outsider as insider
Is the Congress finally going to rehabilitate Suresh Pachouri, former Madhya Pradesh Congress president? Pachouri had quit as minister of state handling the sensitive personnel ministry in 2008 to lead the MP Congress in the assembly elections. Three years later, tribal leader Kanti Lal Bhuria replaced him. The word in party circles is that Pachouri may return to the Rajya Sabha and Manmohan Singh's Council of Ministers, thanks to the seat vacated by Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan. Speculation about Pachouri's return started doing the rounds shortly after the Congress leadership told Maharashtra leaders not to aspire to Chavan's RS seat, as it was to be given to an 'outsider' who would be subsequently 'accommodated' in the PM's team. From personnel to personal.
A slightly faulty connection
Uttarakhand's BJP chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal is spending an awful lot of time traversing the state's 70 constituencies on a helicopter. The attempt seems to be to shore up his image ahead of the assembly polls due early next year. Billed as 'Antodaya Vikas Yatra' to woo voters, he is trying to show that he listens to people's problems. Even as the Congress is questioning the "huge expense" to promote the BJP's prospects, Pokhriyal is calling it a "people connect" plan. But he is unable to explain why he waited till the last year of his term. A late starter here.
Taking a crack at it
Many were left puzzled last week when junior science minister Ashwani Kumar repeatedly referred to "post-shutdown coding" at India's nuclear reactors. Quiet chuckles followed once the officials, and journalists alike, realised the minister was misreading 'post-shutdown cooling', or passive cooling, which could have reduced the Fukushima crisis. Perhaps that's why Kumar and his senior minister for science and technology, Pawan Kumar Bansal, at a recent monsoon briefing were overheard chuckling to themselves about the complexities of their new assignment. But the consensus remains that both ministers are trying their best to crack the science 'code'. We can't quite decode that.
Not bamboozling him now
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh has a reason to smile. His ardent critic Sunita Narain of the Centre for Science and Environment had written to the PM praising Ramesh for ensuring that the forest bureaucracy adopts bamboo as a minor forest produce. After ensuring that tribals in Maharashtra got the right to harvest and transmit bamboo, Narain has written to the PM applauding Ramesh for his support for the campaign. Wonder what she will say about his permission to the Posco project? Her steely side may surface again.
The facts' in the fire
AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa has moved the Madras high court to block author Vaasanthi and Penguin Books India from publishing her biography. She has alleged that the book contains unverified personal information, which is both false and defamatory. She says it's customary for any journalist to verify the facts with the person concerned and publish the article along with his/her version - more so when it's a biography. What has upset her is that the contents of the book relating to her original name, her father and name of her brother emphasised their connection to the Mysore Palace and her closeness with long-time aide Sasikala. Now we know the origins of her ire.