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Lowest common denominator

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations proved to be a great leveller.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2010 22:19 IST

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations proved to be a great leveller. The venue, Nirman Bhavan, was shrouded with a tight security cover as many top ministers and VVIPs were expected to meet the diaspora. Each attendee was issued an entry card that fell into categories such as ‘official’, ‘media’, ‘delegate’, or ‘invitee’. But an obsessed-with-protocol bureaucracy ended up issuing a card that said ‘official’ to the Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Vayalar Ravi, effectively equating him with the junior-most official in his ministry.

No idiocy, this

Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, a film buff himself, is particular that neither he nor his partymen misses watching what he thinks are ‘good’ movies. So, accompanied by his family members and a group of party leaders, Advani watched Bollywood comedy 3 Idiots at a city cinema hall. Impressed with the Aamir Khan starrer, Advani strongly recommended the film to his partymen, including new BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, as it espouses an innovative approach to problem-solving.

All dressed up but...

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh’s resignation from all party posts has triggered speculation that he might join the Congress, and there are grounds for this, it seems. Singh had lavished praise on Congress president Sonia Gandhi in his blog. But the Congress did not seem too keen to welcome him. “Amar Singh is not welcome in the Congress. The BJP would be an ideal party for him,” suggested a senior Congress leader.

No lion-hearted gesture, this

This is an issue that’s taking on lion-sized proportions. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wouldn’t part with lions from the Gir sanctuary for the Centre’s plans to set up another sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. Modi thinks his government has spent money for their conservation without the Centre’s help. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, however, says Modi shouldn’t take the credit. “It is the Maldhari (local) community who did it. They treat them as members of their family and protect them.” Ramesh says he will work on Modi to eventually agree to the big cats’ relocation. “Miracles do happen,” he says, with a roar.

Logged out for now

Caution on cyber security has hit a new high, as some officials in the Ministry of External Affairs are finding out now. With the Centre getting stricter about cyber security, the National Informatics Centre has banned many sites with suspicious IP addresses. Inadvertently, or otherwise, websites in Chinese that help officials track news about that country are also blocked.

Shadow sleuths

In the past few months, the Enforcement Directorate’s Delhi zone has been in the limelight due to its investigations against former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, the arrest of alleged hawala dealer Naresh Jain and also for the raids on the Emaar MGF premises. Contrary to common belief that hundreds of sleuths must be working round-the-clock to dig up evidence, the reality is that all these investigations were being handled by just two assistant directors along with ten other officers under the supervision of a deputy director.

Plans cut short

With CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu in a serious condition, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achutanandan wanted to be in Kolkata for five days. But party leaders prevailed upon the CM to abandon the idea on the ground that he should be careful about his health too, and he agreed to oblige at last.