The buzz: keeping tabs on the political grapevine

Rest first and leave the rest
Though she herself has not been too well, Congress president Sonia Gandhi was very concerned about the leader of the House Sushilkumar Shinde, who is recuperating from a surgery. While Shinde insisted on staying in the Lok Sabha while Gandhi was speaking on the food security Bill, the Congress president time and again asked the home minister to go home and rest. The same was the situation when the debate over the land acquisition Bill was taking place in the Lok Sabha. Even before the voting took place, a concerned Gandhi told Shinde that they both should leave the house as even she was tired. Touched by her concern, Shinde agreed but said that he would only leave after she had left. A bit of home leave is in order. 

A chalk and cheese approach
Business in the Rajya Sabha has been proceeding far smoother than in the Lok Sabha and this has perhaps to do with the good cop-bad cop roles being played by chairman Hamid Ansari and deputy chairman PJ Kurien. While Ansari has been a stickler for rules, and rarely allows unscheduled interventions, Kurien has been following a take-it-easy policy. He allows brief interventions and questions from a wide a range of members, reducing the tension in the House. 

Pushing ahead with the plan
Will his formalisation as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP come as a birthday gift for Narendra Modi? BJP president Rajnath Singh is said to be firm on implementing a plan worked out in tandem with the RSS to declare Modi as the candidate before September 20, which marks the advent of Pitru Paksh, an inauspicious period for any major initiative before navratri. Ideally, Singh would like it to happen before September 17 when Modi turns 63. LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj are opposed to Modi’s anointment, and want the issue to be put off till the November elections in five states. But Singh intends to take the matter to the BJP parliamentary board to complete the formality. A very happy birthday in the offing.  

An intelligent observation here
As the general elections draw closer, politicians and parties are getting down to the business of commissioning opinion polls and surveys. The Intelligence Bureau  (IB) too does an informal assessment for the ruling central government, a fact well documented in a book authored by Maloy Dhar, a former IB officer. The IB has often been faulted for its misplaced priorities and became a bit of a joke in a recent conversation between home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and his deputy RPN Singh. Singh summed up the IB’s political penchant thus, when he told Shinde, “If the IB’s election calculations turn out right, they will say, ‘we told you so’, and if they don’t, you can hardly hold them to it because you’re out of power by then in Delhi.”  

Hooked on to it
Minister of state for human resource development Shashi Tharoor is already all over twitter. Now he is promoting wife Sunanda Pushkar on the platform. The other day, he tweeted “Welcome to Twitter, my wife @sptvrock! Have to repeat my warning: this can be far more addictive than you expect!.” Several retweets of his wife have followed since then. Tweeting sweet nothings.


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