Sidelights of CMs? conclave

Patil was taken aback when he was told by the Congress president to stop his presentation on internal security midway and instead speak on the subject only on Sunday.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2006 23:29 IST

• Home Minister Shivraj Patil was taken aback when he was told by the Congress president on Saturday evening to stop his presentation on internal security midway and instead speak on the subject only on Sunday. The Home Minister known for his long-drawn presentations complied immediately to the great relief of the chief ministers and party office-bearers who had to sit through the whole day to discuss the agricultural issues. One general secretary said that it was indeed thoughtful of Soniaji to have postponed Patil's discourse for the next day. Taking the cue from his leader, Patil spoke for only 20 minutes on Sunday.

• Arunanchal Pradesh Chief Minister G Apang who spoke for nearly an hour and virtually put many of his colleagues to sleep with his obsevations, perhaps made the longest presentation at the conclave. Apang, however, made some important points and appeared to be keen on setting up a Special Economic Zone in his home state. Though there were many speakers, Digvijai Singh, Ashok Gehlot and Satyvrat Chaturvedi were amongst the few office bearers who spoke on day one.

• Several leaders of Uttranchal Congress seemed unhappy and wished that they could have spent some exclusive time with the Congress president Sonia Gandhi to present their views on the forthcoming elections. They felt that factionalism within the party was bound to have a bearing on the outcome. They also wished to draw the Congress president's attention on the fact that in the last four and half years there had been no meeting of the Congress Legislative Party and the PCC which was constituted two years ago is yet to meet for the first time.

• The Uttaranchal government had made elaborate security arrangements to host the VVIP guests. But some of the best efforts also sometimes backfire. The Coach meant to take the CMs to their hotels after the end of the session broke down at the critical juncture. Organisers and security personnel than had to look for alternate arrangements to ferry the CMs to the hotels.

• The Congress president and Prime Minister's interaction with the media took place more than half an hour behind schedule. And when Congress president's political secretary Ahmed Patel arrived before others, he was greeted with a loud applause to drive home the point that it was getting late. Then party General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi apologised for the delay. Several chief ministers and party office bearers and some Union ministers also arrived and took their seats before both Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh reached the venue. The organisers had made excellent arrangements for filing of stories and had placed more than 70 computers at the disposal of the media.

• The end of the press conference was also a signal for the CMs to leave. Long convoys of vehicles with armed escorts sped past the barriers to rush to Haldwani or Baazpur where helicopters and private aircraft were waiting. However, the SPG had issued strict instructions that till the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi were airborne no body would be allowed to take off. But by evening Nainital which was a witness to VVIP visitors was back to normal. Many others took time off for boating and shopping before leaving for Kathgodam to catch the night train back to Delhi.

First Published: Sep 24, 2006 23:29 IST