Union Minister Maneka Gandhi was seen rushing out of Parliament on Thursday with a beaming smile. Reason: she got a call from her MP son Varun Gandhi saying his eight month-old daughter Anasuyaa had started crawling. “I’m rushing home. I am dying to see her,” an excited Maneka said.
Call From Israel
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated noted Islamic scholar and peace activist Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, on being conferred the Sayyidina Imam Al Hassan Ibn Ali Peace Award at a function in Abu Dhabi. “Maulana Wahiduddin Khan’s knowledge and efforts towards peace make him one of the most respected scholars, admired all over,” he said. Later, he spoke to Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu who had called to extend condolences on the loss of lives due to the earthquake. “My gratitude to PM Netanyahu for his kind words on India’s relief and rescue efforts in Nepal, including help extended to Israeli nationals,” Modi said. Later, the PM also attended Lok Sabha and sat through the passage of the Finance Bill.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi sitting through the passage of the Finance Bill, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told the Treasury benches that so many of their MPs were present just because the PM was present. “Yeh log haziri dene ke liye baithe hain (These people are here to mark their attendance),” Kharge said. He then told Arun Jaitley that while he (Jaitley) may be able to have his way, not many other ministers can and that “not even a leaf moves” till there’s a signal from the PMO. The comment drew a wry smile from the PM.
Kamal Sakhis, the group comprising BJP women MPs and wives of their male counterparts, were quite impressed with HRD Minister Smriti Irani who hosted a dinner for them recently. It was not just the arrangements. Many of them said the get-together was the most elaborate and beautifully organised amongst the four such gatherings till now. Guests were particularly happy with the way Irani indulged with the children’s demands to get photographed with her. Although the function was not meant for children, some of the members had brought them along, and quite a few of them asked to be photographed with the minister. Irani obliged and there were quite a few ‘say cheese’ moments.
Rahul Gandhi’s absence from the social media has always been a topic of discussion, both inside and outside the Congress, especially since Narendra Modi, his main political opponent, is very active on Twitter. Things could change soon, however. Rahul is said to be considering opening a Twitter account as part of the re-branding exercise which is currently on. Rahul, who was seen as a reluctant politician, has transformed himself into a more active and aggressive leader since he returned from his 56-day leave. Many of the senior Congress leaders, the likes of Ahmed Patel, Digvijaya Singh, Shakeel Ahmad and its young faces like Manish Tewari and Ajay Maken are active on Twitter. Tharoor, for instance, has 2.96 million followers while Modi has 12 million.
Last month’s cyber attack on the website of the Controller of Defence Accounts had left Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar very unhappy. Crucial data pertaining to personal account details and identity number are feared to have been compromised during the attack, which is believed to have come from across the border. Parrikar has been inquiring about the security of the digital resources of the armed forces ever since. At a conference of Defence Accounts on Thursday, he reminded the officials about the attack once again and asked them to remain alert against hackers.