Keeping tab on the political grapevine.india Updated: May 07, 2012 22:25 IST
Smiling his way through
Known for his short temper, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee also knows how prudent it is to reach out at times. Ever since his name started doing the rounds for the president's post, there is a visible change in Mukherjee's attitude towards the leaders of other parties. RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh could not hide his joy when Mukherjee gave him a warm hug in Parliament. The two were then seen engaged in intense conversation. With a big smile on his face, Mukherjee was also seen talking to NCP chief Sharad Pawar as if the two had met after a long time. His short walk with senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj last week in Parliament complex also surprised many since the Leader of the Opposition had a day earlier vehemently opposed the finance minister's candidature for the post. All sweetness and light.
The list's got longer
Mamata Banerjee's discomfort with the communists is no secret. So her taking the CPI's D Raja aside for a small chat in the Central Hall of Parliament the other day got tongues wagging. Apparently, Didi and Raja share a warm rapport. When the search is on for a president and a vice-president. Comrade Raja, a Rajya Sabha member, has support across party lines. So we have yet another name added to the list of possible vice-presidents. A comrade to many, it would seem.
If looks could tell
When defence minister AK Antony was sent by the Congress to call on DMK chief M Karunanidhi in Chennai to seek support for the coming presidential elections, Karunanidhi had the venue shifted at the last minute from his official Gopalapuram residence to CIT Colony where Kanimozhi and her mother Rajathiammal live. Other than them and senior DMK leader TR Baalu, no one from the party was with Karunanidhi when he met the defence minister. The former Tamil Nadu chief minister did not discuss anything about the meeting later with other DMK leaders, making them wonder whether there was nothing of interest to the party. Photographs of a beaming DMK chief and his daughter in the newspapers the next day added grist to the mill. Kanimozhi is an accused in the 2G case, and has got a notice from the Enforcement Directorate recently. An eloquent silence.
Not at home yet
Aziz Qureshi, governor-designate of Uttarakhand, has made frantic calls to Union home ministry officials to find out when Margaret Alva, who has been shifted to Rajasthan as governor, will vacate the Raj Bhavan in Dehradun. When Qureshi got in touch with Alva's aides, he was told that she would vacate only on May 14. A crestfallen Qureshi decided to sound out the Congress high command as he wanted to move into his new home at the earliest. She's taking her time about it.
Some selective rehabilitation
Former Union civil aviation minister CM Ibrahim, who had virtually gone into political oblivion, was recently appointed a member of the Congress coordination committee for the Karnataka assembly elections which will be held later this year. The move has angered some of his colleagues in the erstwhile Janata Dal who are now in the Congress. Former prime minister VP Singh's close aide Wasim Ahmed is one of them. After being dropped from the Congress Working Committee (CWC), Ahmed is looking for rehabilitation in the party. His resentment had peaked last year when his former Janata Dal colleague Mohan Prakash was inducted into the CWC and given charge of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir. Still out of the fold.
It could be round or square
Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa is not happy with the seating arrangements for the chief ministers' conference in Delhi. She told an aide that, when Prime Minister Man- mohan Singh and home minister P Chidambaram were seated on the stage along with key officials, the chief ministers should not have been be made to sit below. Ideally, she remarked, that the seating arrangement should be on a round table or a square table as is the practice when the prime minister takes a meeting at 7, Race Course Road. The seat of many problems.