Door darshan, Sonia-style
Congress circles are abuzz with interpretations of why party president Sonia Gandhi did not give time to Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan last weekend even as she gave an audience to rival state politicians and former chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan just days before.
Deshmukh and Chavan may use this opportunity to flaunt their proximity to 10 Janpath but the fact is that after undergoing surgery in the US, Gandhi is recuperating and receives two to three guests a day.
With Cabinet ministers, chief ministers, MPs and MLAs are all lining up to see Gandhi — and be seen seeing her — there are bound to be rescheduled appointments.
Perhaps it pays to be patient to look up the patient.
Through a lens darkly
Are CCTVs a panacea to terrorist attacks and violent crime? After the July 13 serial blasts, the Maharashtra government believes so.
Last week, state home minister RR Patil, Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik and other officials returned from an official trip to Britain after examining the role of hi-tech gadgets and security cameras in detecting terrorist attacks and violent crimes.
CM Prithviraj Chavan had to push Patil to go as the latter isn’t too fond of travelling.
One of the the main reasons for the trip was to enlarge the CCTV footage recorded at Zhaveri Bazaar and Opera House on the day of the serial attacks. One CCTV shot shows a person carrying a bag among the milling crowds at Zhaveri Bazaar and then leaving the strike spot without the bag.
Much to the chagrin of investigators, the image in question becomes pixelated once it is enlarged for identification. But the bad news is that even after having one CCTV per 12 persons in Britain, not one violent crime has been solved through the use of security cameras. But then, who knows?
Maybe Mumbai can show the way.
In letter and spirit
So did the finance ministry send the March 25, 2011, letter suo motu to the PMO?
Or was it sought by the PM through former cabinet secretary and now vice-chairman of the Kerala State Planning Board KM Chandrasekhar?
Chandrasekhar was the most sought after person in Delhi during an official trip last week. Accompanied by a state cabinet minister, he met home minister P Chidambaram, urban development minister Kamal Nath and even ran into his former boss Arun Jaitley at Delhi airport on Sunday.
The 1970 batch Kerala cadre officer demitted office last June after serving as cabinet secretary for an unprecedented four years. The hot topic these days is whether or not he asked for the letter from the finance ministry.
While his successor Ajit Seth will now have to come out with the truth, Chandrasekhar indicated that he neither asked for the infamous letter nor did he see it. Watch this space.
When the going gets tough
Union minister of state (home) Jitendra Singh finds his senior colleague P Chidambaram a tough taskmaster. At a party meeting in Rajasthan recently, Singh admitted that his new job was not allowing him to give more time to his state.
“It’s not easy to work with a very experienced home minister. I have to study a lot. I did not study so much during my school or college days,” he said when some state leaders tried to corner him for restricting his visits in Rajasthan to his constituency Alwar.
“You are a minister from Rajasthan and the state looks up to you,” state Congress president Chandrabhan tauntingly told him.
Who says ministers have it easy?
Caught in a war of words
Goa Congress boss Subhash Shirodkar is in a soup with his statement that there were no illegalities, but only possible irregularities, in the state’s mining sector.
Shirodkar, who was trying to defend Goa CM Digambar Kamat who is facing allegations of illegal mining, is now under fire not only from the Opposition but even from the NCP, an ally.
Former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde has joined the issue, saying there is no difference between illegal and irregular mining.
Can someone please send Shirodkar a dictionary?