Keeping tabs on the political grapevine.india Updated: Apr 22, 2013 21:58 IST
Coming together in sorrow
It is not very often that Indira Gandhi’s two grandsons meet. However, a few days ago, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi called on his younger cousin, BJP general secretary Feroze Varun Gandhi to offer his condolences on the passing away of his new-born daughter. In the hour of bereavement, the family seems to have come together. Rahul was at Varun’s residence for over an hour and it is unlikely that any kind of political discussion between the two could have taken place. It is not known whether Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka spoke to Varun.
Within the charmed circle
Law minister Ashwani Kumar has been in the eye of a storm following reports that he had tried to influence the CBI report on the coal allocation scam. While the BJP and some other opposition groups have been demanding that he should be sacked, the joke doing the rounds in Congress circles is that nothing will happen to him. Reason: the minister who is an MP from Punjab may not be in the core group but is a part of the Kaur group given his proximity to the prime minister and his family. Clearly, this is an insider joke.
A real touch of southern discomfort
With Karnataka scheduled for assembly polls on May 5, central Congress and BJP election in-charges are having last minute jitters. While BJP in-charge Arun Jaitley is acutely aware of the anti-incumbency trend his party faces due to alleged corruption scandals during the Yeddyurappa regime, Congress in-charge AK Antony feels that there are far more chief ministerial aspirants in his party than workers. Although the Congress feels that it will at least emerge as the single largest party, both parties are clear that the result will be a hung assembly with HD Deve Gowda’s JD(S) playing the kingmaker once again. Not quite the party they’d hoped for.
It all went according to plan
Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia and his wife Isher Ahluwalia were the perfect hosts for US energy secretary and Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu, who was on his last official visit outside America last week. Chu has decided to return to the academic world after working with US President Barack Obama for almost five years. He had, however, agreed to participate in the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) meet in Delhi as it was his brain-child. And, when he was told that the Ahluwalia couple’s son had recently got married, he wanted to greet them personally. Montek and Isher were more than eager to host Chu and his wife. And it turned out to be the perfect evening, where the American of Chinese origin was at ease. From energy to synergy here.
Enviable track record for this envoy
There was a recent flurry of news reports about possible back-to-back mutual visits of the Indian and Chinese PMs within the next two months. Now it emerges that the visits won’t be so close to each other. The Chinese PM will visit India next month and the Indian PM will be visiting Beijing some time later this year. Talking of China, the Indian ambassador to Bejing, S Jaishankar is making his presence felt as the potential foreign secretary if and when the current incumbent Ranjan Mathai retires. A favourite of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ever since he played a crucial role in negotiating the Indo-US nuclear deal, Jaishankar was in the Capital last week to attend a meet of Indian envoys from the neighbourhood. Delivering with the dragon.