A textbook case
During Cabinet meetings, former Union minister Murli Deora used to read out occasionally from written texts. But railway minister Mukul Roy seems to have made it a practice, though he rarely attends Cabinet meetings. Roy, the Trinamool Congress’s nominee, always reads out from notes even if he is intervening in matters related to other ministries. During the last Cabinet meeting, Roy, party chief Mamata Banerjee’s trusted lieutenant, read out a note objecting to the proposal to amend the Forward Trading Act, saying that there should be a “thread-bed” discussion on the issue. Despite not many understanding that the minister was seeking a threadbare discussion on the subject, the Cabinet decided to defer the subject once again. No prizes for guessing who clears the texts.
Protecting his turf
These are not the best of times for Union minister for chemicals and fertilisers MK Alagiri. Last week, the Supreme Court allowed a petition to be replaced by another one before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, challenging his election to the Lok Sabha from the Madurai constituency in 2009 for alleged corrupt practices. Then there is the old foe: J Jayalalithaa. Her government has now gone after the Union minister’s son Dayanidhi Azhagiri’s granite export business and has arrested his loyalists for their involvement in numerous land-grab cases. His firm, PRP Exports, had allegedly encroached upon five acres of government land for mining. After they were done with mining the area, they brought in 300 trucks of sand to cover the illegal sites. To add more to his list of woes, his brother — MK Stalin — is going out of his way to restrict Alagiri’s influence in the DMK. Don’t blame Alagiri now for not leaving Madurai.
The healing touch of music
After years of unending official and political work, President Pranab Mukherjee is now re-discovering that there’s more to life than politics and governance. Recently, Mukherjee attended the first world flute festival, which was organised at his residence to celebrate Janmashtmi, and he enjoyed every bit of it. Those who were invited to the programme were delighted to see him relax and enjoy an hour of mellifluous music. There are more such programmes in the offing at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
There is much to worry
The National Students’ Union of India, the students wing of the Congress, was routed in the Rajasthan University elections. In the August 18 election in the state’s 9 universities and their affiliated colleges, the BJP’s student wing, ABVP, won president’s post in five, independents won in three and the Student’s Federation of India in one. The poll results are sure to worry Congress managers: assembly elections are due in the state in 2013 and young voters constitute 30% of the total electorate.