Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal’s short-lived plan to end quotas in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KV) for students nominated by MPs not only kicked off opposition from Parliamentarians in the House but also briefly denied HRD ministry officials railway benefits. Railway minister Mamata Banerjee was apparently livid that her nominees would no longer get admission. Within days of Sibal’s announcement of the end of KV quotas, HRD ministry officials found all their requests for priority bookings on railways — which were earlier granted almost immediately — turned down. Some senior ministry officials had to seek the intervention of Minister of State for Railways E. Ahamed to resolve the dispute. Eventually, under pressure from MPs across party lines, Sibal had to reintroduce the quotas.
Too much to tea
Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Congress General Secretary V. Narayanasamy is a rare visitor to the party headquarters. But whenever he goes calling, he creates a buzz. An affable person, he mixes with the people easily and even shares a joke or two with them. During one such visit recently, he offered tea to those in his room. But was slightly taken aback when someone told him that he wanted to have badam (almond) milk. “Arre bhai, I am a poor man. I can offer only tea,” he said before reluctantly placing the order.
No sleeping on it
It took Law Minister Veerappa Moily five years to write his version of the Ramayana in Kannada, which was preceded by five years of research. His cabinet colleagues are curious to know how Moily finds time to write given his busy schedule. The minister has a piece of advice for his colleagues: get up early in the morning and devote some time to writing. He says his mother used to wake him up at 4:30 a.m. since he was in Class 4. To this, one of his colleagues quipped, “There are better things to do than tamper with history!”
Back down to earth
On a flight from Madurai to Chennai last week, L.K. Advani and M.K. Alagiri discovered they were co-passengers. It was their first interaction. Alagiri seemed most impressed by the chance encounter. Advani asked Alagiri to sit next to him and the Union minister was surprised by the senior BJP leader’s friendliness. Advani began by asking him about the health of his father, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. By the time they landed in Chennai, Advani asked Alagiri to stay in touch. However, DMK leaders were quick to warn him not to read too much political meaning into it as their central ministers are keen to find out about the UPA government’s ratings following the fuel price hike.
Not in the driver’s seat
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources P.K. Bansal took up the Ashok Road bungalow because it’s spacious and close to Parliament House and Shram Shakti Bhavan, where his offices are located. But, clearly, he hadn’t bargained for the traffic jams and the heavy vehicular parking on the road. This is because it’s bang opposite the BJP office. Clearly, the man cannot escape the main Opposition party, which sometimes gives him trouble by going into a non-cooperation mode in Parliament.
His is an inquiring mind
All India Congress Committee Treasurer Motilal Vora is a man of few words. Getting out of tricky situations is easy for him. He answers questions with questions. So, if there are inquiries about Bhopal, IPL or even organisational affairs, his standard answers are: “what happened?” or “what do you think about it?” Many in the Congress believe that the veteran leader doesn’t lay his cards on the table till he reads the other person’s mind.
Transported to heights
In an unusual request, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has asked Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel to allow rickshaw parking at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Patel international airport. Upset with the AAI for not allowing the city’s common transport mode, Modi told Patel, “The days are gone when only high-class people were using flight services. Nowadays, even a clerk wants his family to enjoy a plane journey. But a person who wants to take rickshaw has to walk two kilometres in search of one.” The rickshaw is a symbol of the city and allowing rickshaws at Ahmedabad airport parking won’t diminish the airport’s image, Modi added.