Keeping tab on the political grapevine.india Updated: Oct 17, 2011 23:31 IST
Bigmouth strikes again
Why oh why does Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh love to set the cat among the pigeons by opening his mouth? Last week, he set off a war of letters with social activist Anna Hazare and didn’t let his party’s disapproval of such an action even after the prime minister had started an exchange of letters with Hazare stop him. Singh quotes his political guru, Dwarka Prasad Mishra, to explain his logorrohoea: “No matter [for reasons] good or bad, one should always be in the news.” Mishra, a former chief minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh and the father of former national security adviser Brajesh Mishra, is known as the original Chanakya of the Congress. But times may have changed since Mishra Sr’s time.
A fusty conference to discuss the Right To Information (RTI) last week turned feisty when the platform became a setting to lambast Anna Hazare and his colleagues campaigning for the Jan Lokpal Bill. Noted RTI activist Aruna Roy had the Lokpal Bill on her mind when she spoke of redressing grievances through a transparent law and propagated an approach different from that of Anna and Co. She was supported in her approach by former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha and information commissioner ML Sharma, a retired CBI official, who stated that Anna Hazare’s lokpal would create a super-constitutional body and “a monster”. As of now though, the truce between Hazare and the government on the matter continues to hold.
Hisar or bust
Chander Mohan, the former deputy chief minister of Haryana and son of Bhajan Lal, was keen to take on his brother Kuldip in the Hisar by-poll. When he approached the Congress for ticket, the ruling party flatly said no. The scandal-hit politician, who converted to Islam and married Anuradha Bali aka Fiza and was thrown out of the Haryana cabinet in 2008, was told to wait till at least the 2014 general elections. A miffed Mohan is in the US ever since the poll schedule was announced. And the Congress in Hisar, well...
Too many cooks?
While the clock has started to tick for the Kuruks-hetra in UP next year, both the politician and the voter are confused when it comes to figuring out who will be at the helm of affairs in 2012. All the rath yatris criss-crossing the state today are attracting crowds. If Rajnath Singh is getting crowds, so is fellow BJP leader Kalraj Mishra who is travelling as part of the twin Jan Swabhiman yatras. If Advani drew crowds in Varanasi, so did Uma Bharti in Sonbhadra two days ago. The situation gets further complicated as Akhilesh Yadav, son of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, is also holding large rallies and trying to convince people that the minorities are still with his father. To top it all, the Congress’ Rahul Gandhi is drawing crowds as he goes canvassing for votes. As it is, the UP results have always been difficult to predict. But with all these yatris, the task this year has become way harder.
Flights and figures
In what would be music to former civil aviation minister Praful Patel’s and noise to comptroller and auditor general (CAG) Vinod Rai’s ears, middle-level bureaucrats assembled at the Mussoorie Academy last week raised questions on the way constitutional authorities were sitting on judgement on the elected government of the day. An auditor general tried to convince officials of the role of the CAG using the Air India report as a case study. Rather than being enamoured by the role of the CAG, the mandarins made it clear, with reference to Air India, that it was not the job of the auditor to question government policy but to check whether ledgers were in order during implementation.