IT HAS been barely two weeks since Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan finished a six-month-long Narmada Yatra. Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has now begun a similar yatra of her own on the Ganga. Bharti is actually touring the entire stretch of the Ganga to inspect the execution of ongoing schemes to clean the river, and her programme, therefore, is qualitatively different from Chouhan’s, which was aimed at creating awareness about the need to protect and conserve the Narmada. Her travel is also significantly shorter.
She is supposed to cover the 2,500-km stretch in 15 days, travelling by air, road, boat and on foot. Bharti had been planning to undertake a Chouhan-kind of yatra on the Ganga for long, but those plans could not materialise. The Madhya Pradesh CM, meanwhile, got national limelight with his Narmada Yatra.
THE HRD Ministry is trying to ensure that AICTE Chairman Anil Sahasrabuddhe is allowed to complete his three-year term that ends next year. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) is of the opinion that Sahasrabuddhe should retire this year, a year before his term completes, as he is turning 60.
However, Sahasrabuddhe is a professor of IIT-Guwahati where the retirement age is 65. By virtue of this, the ministry has been trying to convince DoPT that the incumbent chairman can finish his term, which is ending next year. Apparently, DoPT has agreed.
A FEW key Home Ministry departments, including foreigners division and border management division, may soon have to shift out of their current offices at the NDCC building on Jai Singh Road that was originally built to house the offices of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. North Block has decided to shift the departments to the National Stadium, near India Gate, where office space has been created. Among others, the renovated offices at National Stadium host the National Mission for Clean Ganga. Apparently, the reason for shifting the Home Ministry departments was the exorbitant rent at the NDCC building, which also houses the office of the NIA.
DESPITE ITS impressive victory in the municipal elections in Delhi, the BJP realises that it has little support from slum-dwellers and Dalits in the Capital who are believed to have voted for the Aam Aadmi Party. The party, therefore, is planning to reach out to these sections. It was as part of this effort that BJP president Amit Shah landed in Ravidas Ashram in R K Puram on Sunday to listen to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat radio programme in the company of slum dwellers.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and other party leaders accompanying him mingled with the locals. The party believes that the demonetisation and removal of red beacons from VIP vehicles had created support for Modi amongst the poor and it needs to engage with these sections to consolidate this support.
Veg vs Non-veg
BJP PRESIDENT Amit Shah’s lunch for mediapersons on Sunday also saw the presence of a number of senior ministers. As he nibbled at the vegetarian fare on the menu, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu was heard talking wistfully about how Sundays at his home are Biryani days.