Booking a deal
The Samajwadi Party leadership may not be warm to his overtures, but Amar Singh’s next move is sure to make them sit up and recall their past association with him. Singh is set to pen his memoirs, and at least three reputed publishing houses have approached him with offers for his autobiography. Singh is inclined to sign a deal and is trying to ascertain their credentials.
With just a day left of the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha, a Union Minister is desperately reaching out to Opposition leaders pleading with them to allow the passage of the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2013. It was listed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday but could not be taken up. The Bill provides for irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce, and says that a court can take ex parte decision if one of the parties refuses to move a joint application of mutual consent. When the Bill was taken up by the Rajya Sabha last August, the BJP had extended full cooperation and even persuaded the Samajwadi Party not to oppose it. The BJP’s softness for the minister, who is otherwise a relentless critic of the Opposition party, emanated from his repeated pleas about the importance of the Bill is settling his daughter’s divorce case.
Q&A session that wasn’t
When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday to break the deadlock over the Andhra Pradesh Re-organisation Bill, 2014, the BJP leaders were eager to hear his views on the contentious issues concerning the Bill. Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel and two Union Ministers, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Jairam Ramesh, were also present at the meeting. During the 80-minute meeting, each time the Opposition leaders sought to know the PM’s views on an issue, Singh would say “Jairam” (to prompt an answer) or “Shinde”.
A day after the J Jayalalithaa government in Tamil Nadu decided to release all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the Congress party got into action to campaign for “justice” for the former PM. AICC general secretary Ajay Maken, who is in-charge of the party’s communication department, posted a black-and-white picture of a young Rahul Gandhi hugging his father as his display picture on Twitter. The picture was posted on the party’s official Facebook page on Wednesday. A hashtag — #Justice4Rajiv — was also created on Twitter.
On Tuesday, when the Telangana Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, D Purandeswari, MoS, Commerce & Industry, quit the government and the party. She went to Hyderabad the next day. Fellow Congress MP from Seemandhra region and HRD Minister Pallam Raju, however, took a different route. While he registered his protest in the House, Raju was back in his Shastri Bhawan office soon after the Bill was passed. The minister remained at work for about three hours, and is reported to be planning a trip to his constituency, Kakinada, over the weekend. The minister’s well-wishers have reason to worry about the response he gets in Kakinada.
Months ahead of elections, India is going all out to engage with the two powerful countries in the Islamic world. Next week, New Delhi will be rolling out the red carpet for Saudi crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Iran foreign minister Javed Zarif in back-to-back visits. This follows Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah’s visit to India this week. The Bahrain King was received by over a dozen Arab ambassadors at the Delhi airport.