PAY UP TIME
The Union Urban Development Ministry, which on Delhi government’s request had given a C-II type flat on Tilak Lane to former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal from its kitty, has now asked the latter to charge market rent from him. Kejriwal, who had requested to stay in the flat till his daughter’s board exams were over in March, will have to cough up Rs 80,000 per month till the time he occupies the flat. As per norms, he can occupy the premises for one month after he ceases to be in office. Beyond this, he will have to pay the market rent. Since Kejriwal made such a request, the ministry has allowed him to stay there till his daughter’s exams were over. To accommodate Kejriwal, the government had even de-earmarked the flat meant for the chairman of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
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When the Saudi top brass comes to town, New Delhi always lays out the red carpet. As crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrived in Delhi on Wednesday, Vice-President Hamid Ansari — in a departure from protocol — went to the airport to receive him. It was in tune with the precedent set by Saudi king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s landmark visit in January 2006, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went to the airport to receive him. Al Saud, who is also Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, will meet the Prime Minister, Defence Minister A K Antony and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, besides calling on President Pranab Mukherjee.
IN THE QUEUE
After Ram Vilas Paswan’s overtures to ally with BJP, the party seems to be attracting some sitting MPs from rival parties in UP. While SP MP Brijbhushan Sharan Singh appears set to join, the BJP leadership is learnt to have got feelers from Congress MP Jagdambika Pal. While things were yet to take a final shape, party circles are buzzing with jokes on whether Pal, whose name figured in the list of kar sevaks in Liberahan Committee report, should be accommodated given the fact that he rejected being a kar sevak during the debate on Liberahan report in Lok Sabha.
The Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, which has had a tremendous influence on the UPA government’s policy decisions, is all set to wrap up now with elections just round the corner. The advisory body, which skipped its monthly meet last month, will meet this Friday. Members say this would perhaps be its last meeting and with no items of critical importance left on the agenda, not much is expected from the remaining term of the body.