The new Congress in-charge of Chhattisgarh, P L Punia, shares a unique bond with former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, who was ousted from the party over involvement in a case of electoral malpractice. Both are 1970-batch IAS officers, and had some buddy moments during their training in Mussoorie. Both left the service and joined the Congress. Jogi once headed the ST cell of the Congress while Punia became chairperson of the National SC Commission. While former Chhattisgarh in-charge B K Hariprasad, under whose tenure Jogi was expelled, had no love lost for the former CM, Punia begins with a clean slate.
Clearing The Air
With tension between the US and North Korea rising after Pyongyang conducted a successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a group of political leaders had a meeting with North Korean embassy officials in New Delhi to gauge the situation. One gets to hear that Left leaders like CPM’s Suneet Chopra, CPI’s Pallab Sengupta, Forward Bloc’s G Devarajan and Congress’s Praveen Dawar had a meeting with the North Korean embassy’s political counsellor. The Left always had warm ties with anti-US North Korea and its leaders are part of the India-Korea Friendship Association. The embassy officials told the leaders that the missile test was part of their defence and deterrence strategy because of the threat they face from the US and its ally South Korea. And that the country is not indulging in any jingoistic action.
Memories And Music
It was a poignant function at Rashtrapati Bhavan at which Vice-President Hamid Ansari presented the first copy of the book Pranaber Preyashi President’s Lady to President Pranab Mukherjee. Published by Bengali newspaper group Aajkal, the book is about Suvra Mukherjee, the late First Lady of India. The President recalled that his wife was a “private person with a strong interest in music (particularly Tagore’s) and paintings”. She tried to take Tagore to a non-Bengali audience, he said.