The BJP may not have given many reasons to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to smile all these years, but a senior Opposition leader did manage to draw a hearty laugh from an otherwise silent PM at a dinner hosted by Vice-President Hamid Ansari last week. The BJP leader was learnt to have drawn the Prime Minister’s attention to the emergence of a new ‘rainbow coalition’ ranging from anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare to businessman K D Singh. The PM burst into laughter — a rare one, especially in an interaction with an Opposition leader.
While the Congress has clarified it in no uncertain terms that Priyanka Vadra will not play any role in the coming general election outside Amethi and Rae Bareli, partymen continue to indulge in the guessing game. The latest to rekindle their hope is her plan to send her daughter Miraya to a boarding school; she had sent son Rehan to the Doon School last year. While she had earlier decided not to join politics in order to focus on the children’s upbringing, she is likely to be relatively free once both are in the boarding school. Congressmen love to make conjectures as to how Priyanka would like to use her spare time. For now though, she is giving a helping hand to her brother Rahul who hasn’t really inspired much confidence as Narendra Modi’s challenger.
The 16th Lok Sabha will miss one of the powerful Left voices with CPI veteran Gurudas Dasgupta having announced his decision not to contest again. While he has said he wanted to quit electoral politics because of his age, there is another version which is doing the rounds. The 78-year-old wanted to shift to Basirhat as his present seat Ghatal is no more considered a safe seat. But the state leadership did not play ball as it felt the veteran shifting the seat will send a wrong message after which Dasgupta decided to call it a day.
PLANNING A DETOUR
As the UPA government is planning to make most of the announcements before the model code of conduct sets in, one of its major inauguration events appears to have already been hit by the code in Uttar Pradesh.
While the government rushed to get a legislation for a Central Agricultural University named after Rani Laxmibai located at Jhansi passed in the last session of Parliament, their hurry to get it inaugurated on February 25 has got stuck in the model code on account of elections to graduates constituency legislative council elections in the state.
Given that the push for this university came from Rahul Gandhi, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar is trying to get around the code in the state. Ministry officials are learnt to have sought permission from the Election Commission to allow the launch from Delhi.
ON THE HOUSE
As the term of 15th Lok Sabha comes to an end, the outgoing MPs will have to surrender the iPads given to them by the Lok Sabha secretariat or pay a portion of the price. Last heard, the secretariat was trying to come up with a new scheme to ensure that MPs retain the iPads without paying any substantial amount.
The CRPF recently refused taking over the security of three Punjab leaders as they failed to provide accommodation. The three politicians were accorded VIP security status but according to the mandate, the protected person has to make arrangements for security personnel’s accommodation. It is learnt that RIL chairman who was given VIP security on a “paid basis” has given excellent accommodation facilities to CRPF commandos at his residence in Mumbai.