Piyush Goyal’s guest
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, who meets MPs in his room, number 6 in Parliament, has been hosting a special VIP these days. At lunchtime, first-time MP and BJP chief Amit Shah visits Goyal’s room and the two have a quick power lunch. The menu is usually a no-fuss fare and there is more conversation than food. Occasionally, other senior party MPs join in.
Uma on guard
Just as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was ready to start delivering his speech on the discussion in the Lok Sabha on the budget, parliamentarians of the TDP and YSR Congress came up and stood in front of him, asking him to address their concerns first. Seeing her party leader flanked by over a dozen protesting MPs, Uma Bharti got up from her seat and came and stood in the aisle, right next to Jaitley. With a stern expression, she stood there to prevent any physical disruption till the protesting parliamentarians backed down.
With discussion on the Budget continuing in the Rajya Sabha till late in the night, first-term MP and BJP president Amit Shah decided to carry on his organisational work from the Parliament House complex. As major speakers finished their speeches, Shah held a meeting of almost a dozen Union ministers in the party office in Parliament. Sources said preparations for the Karnataka Assembly polls were discussed.
The 15-minute adjournment in the Lok Sabha on Thursday morning witnessed some drama in the House as Trinamool Congress’s Kalyan Banerjee and Union Minister S S Ahluwalia engaged in a shouting match as other MPs looked on. Ahluwalia, the BJP MP from West Bengal’s Darjeeling, had crossed over to the Trinamool’s benches for a chat. Kalyan was heard excitedly accusing Ahluwalia of “betraying the interest of Bengal”. Ahluwalia was also seen shouting that he is Bengal’s “son-in-law”, since his wife is a Bengali, and he himself was born in Asansol. “Bengal is my jamabhoomi and karmabhoomi,” he was heard saying. He asked TMC MP Subrata Bakshi to rein in Kalyan as other MPs smiled. Later, the leaders reportedly told others it was all friendly banter.
Tweak in criteria
The Railway Ministry has got the eligibility criteria for the yet-to-be-filled post of director (rolling stock) in National High Speed Rail Corporation changed. It has got the Empowered Committee’s approval to include “mechanical engineer” as an eligibility criterion, when earlier the committee had sought only “electrical engineering and electronics engineering” . The logic was that the rolling stock of bullet trains are electric train sets. The buzz is that there is a railway mechanical engineering officer who is the dispensation’s preferred choice for the job. It is learnt that a mechanical officer may soon join as executive director (rolling stock) in the organisation.