Keeping tab on the political grapevine.india Updated: Oct 03, 2011 23:53 IST
Dimming the lights on GE
For all its reputation as India's financial capital, Mumbai showed a different face to Jeffrey R Immelt, CEO of General Electric, last week. The chairman of the $150-billion dollar conglomerate with stakes in energy, technology and infrastructure met Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. But unlike last year when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh changed his itinerary when Immelt dropped by in Delhi, this time, the GE chief was treated as just another CEO meeting Maharashtra's politicians before seeking licences and approvals for investments. None of the Nationalist Congress Party ministers holding critical portfolios such as energy (Ajit Pawar) turned up. While the NCP may be trying to put Chavan down as the Congress CM has no love lost for NCP boss Sharad Pawar, this was hardly the time to play politics. Especially when GE has plans to invest in Mumbai's core infrastructure.
Chavan among the ladies
On a happier note for Prithviraj Chavan, the chief minister can legitimately say that he stands out from all other members of the new Maharashtra Congress executive committee. He's the only man in the 15-member executive committee that has been approved by Sonia Gandhi recently. The 14 others are all women. Chavan's name also figures in the list of permanent invitees and the election committee. But there, he has other men for company.
Room still with a view
TKA Nair may have stepped down as principal secretary to the prime minister, but his presence in the PMO lingers. In the south-eastern corner of the PMO, a room has been spruced up for him to operate from as adviser to the prime minister. The room was earlier occupied by Shyam Saran, then special envoy on the India-US nuclear deal and later for his use during climate change negotiations. Nair will be just one room away from new principal secretary Pulok Chatterjee, who was handed over charge and room at 11 am on Monday. Who says that Nair and Chatterjee don't - or won't - get along?
What's cooking with Diggy?
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh is currently in Houston in the United States for his wife's treatment. Being away does not mean that Singh is out of action. Through his tweets, Singh keeps up the heat on the BJP and the RSS. The stinging attacks against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and frequent digs at the RSS, BJP president Nitin Gadkari and veteran leader LK Advani, his tweets have it all. In between, Singh takes time off to cook for his family. "My forte pork chops and steaks (not beef)," read one of his recent tweets. Did he just avoid another confrontation with the Sangh parivar this time?
Who's Arun Jaitley?
There is some Twitter trouble for the BJP. A fake account of senior leader Arun Jaitley has come up on the social media site. Worryingly, it has already got more than 700 followers who avidly tweet to get 'his' responses on political questions. The fake tweeter posts opinions on political issues ranging from Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal's appointment of a lokayukta to the absence of Narendra Modi at the BJP's national executive in Delhi. The real Arun Jaitley has let it be known to journalists that the Twitter account is a fake and that he does not have any account on Twitter at all. But we have confirmed that a real Arun Jaitley exists.
A kind of sadbhavna
Even as the BJP wore flushed faces when they found Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi skipping the party's national executive - trying valiantly to explain Modi's absence away by saying that the CM did not venture out of Gujarat during navratras - BJP leaders were privately not averse to having a good laugh. One BJP CM told reporters just outside the national executive meeting hall with a smile, "Meri bhi navratri chal rahee hai. Main executive ke liye aaya hoon (I too have my navratras. I have come to attend the executive)." Clearly, with one BJP CM being positioned more strongly than ever before as the party's poster boy, not all BJP chief ministers are happy.