The number 13, considered unlucky, has been Pranab Mukherjee’s constant companion. The Congress veteran lived at the 13, Talkatora Road, for a long time before he took over as the 13th President. He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time on May 13, 2004. He got married on July 13, 1957. His latest book The Coalition Years sold 13,000 copies on the first day, according to the publisher. At the release of his book, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury remembered Mukherjee’s office in Parliament was room number 13 where most discussions and arguments the Left and the Congress had during the UPA I coalition days took place. Yechury remarked that Mukherjee has the memory of an elephant. Sonia Gandhi, sitting in the audience, interjected: “Two elephants.”
V-C Never Too Far
Banaras Hindu University (BHU) vice-chancellor G C Tripathi has gone on leave indefinitely but his association with the institution will continue after his term expires next month, thanks to rule changes by the HRD Ministry in 2015. The BHU V-C by virtue of his position was meant to serve as the chairperson of the Board of Governors of IIT (BHU) for the first three years — from 2012 to 2015. After the first three years, the V-C could be part of the board as a vice-chairman, not as chairman. But in 2015, after then BHU head Lalji Singh’s retirement, the HRD ministry appointed Tripathi as the IIT-BHU board chairman. Since the V-C could not have been appointed as chairman after the first three years, the government found a loophole and appointed Tripathi in his personal capacity. This means, even after he retires in November, Tripathi can continue as chairman of the IIT board till 2020.
Fairoz Khan, the president of the Congress’s student wing NSUI, has not got his team of office-bearers four months after his appointment. Why the delay? A three-member committee of Khan, AICC secretary in charge of NSUI, Girish Chodankar, and AICC joint secretary Ruchi Gupta are interviewing 200-plus applicants for the posts of office-bearers. The three first met all applicants to test their speech and debating skills and are now interviewing them one at a time. Interestingly, the shortlisted applicants were asked to work and given responsibilities during the Delhi University elections and the buzz is that they would now be sent to Gujarat to assist the party in the Assembly elections.