Keeping tab on the political grapevine.
No high fliers here
During Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina's trip to India at the Teen Bigha corridor, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh was initially scheduled to receive her in West Bengal. A day before Hasina crossed the border, Ramesh held a meeting with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and had even prepared a speech in Bengali, a language he is conversant in. However, the next morning, barely a few hours before he had to catch his flight, Ramesh came to know that Ghulam Nabi Azad would be going to Kolkata for the job. Azad too, was informed at the last moment and had to cancel a foreign trip he had planned in the evening. No flights of fancy, we suspect.
Not according to plan
Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia had a tough time last week: first his former Cabinet colleague, the maverick Mani Shankar Aiyar attacked him for not believing in planning despite being the plan panel chief. Then, at the NDC meet, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa slammed the NDC meet as a ritualistic exercise. During the lunch break, Ahluwalia was eating ice cream when journalists pointed out, "Sir, Tamils are attacking you." An unperturbed Ahluwalia quipped, "But Chidambaram (home minister) is with me." Not home alone clearly.
A meeting with disaster
Congress MP PT Thomas had to earn the wrath of the party for reportedly trying to fix a meeting between a team from Anna Hazare's Ralegan Siddhi village and Rahul Gandhi, which never materialised. The disastrous end of the Idukki MP's personal venture saw the team returning to Ralegan Siddhi without getting an audience with Gandhi, as there was no prior appointment. The unnecessary controversy - that resulted in a major PR disaster for the party - was created by Thomas who, during his visit to Hazare's village in September, had invited the sarpanch and others to Delhi and promised them a meeting with Gandhi. Thomas later apologised for the communication gap, a fact acknowledged by Congress leaders since the Idukki MP does not know Marathi and is not comfortable with either English or Hindi. Lost in translation?
A chief concern among them
With Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah in the dock over the alleged death in custody of a National Conference worker Mohammed Yousuf, many Congress leaders are scenting blood and once again have started raising the issue of rotating the chief minister's post among the coalition partners after three years. And to ensure that their efforts succeed, they have launched a mission for a patch-up between sworn enemies Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and state Congress president Saifuddin Soz. Both should understand that their putting aside their differences would be in the larger interest of the party, a J&K Congress leader said. From revolving to evolving.
More curtain calls for him
Union law minister Salman Khurshid's creative side will come to the fore when his English play goes on stage for the benefit of 28 governors when they gather for their three-day conference from October 28 at Rashtrapati Bhawan. In the play, which is titled 'Sons of Babur', the law minister seems to have explored his own roots in Afghanistan. While writing the play, Khurshid visited the Mughal emperor's grave in Kabul, which has been recently renovated and restored by the Agha Khan Foundation. As for serious business, Khurshid will also present a special status paper on the role of the judiciary to the governors. All the world is a stage.