On Friday, Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh was stopped by CISF personnel at North Block where he had gone to address a press conference with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. It seems the CISF personnel who stopped Singh did not recognise him.
Since there was no PSO accompanying Singh, the CISF personnel could not identify him as a union minister. The strict enforcement of security rules comes in the wake of suspension of five CISF personnel a day ago at the other end of North Block, which houses the Ministry of Home Affairs. CISF personnel have been asked to frisk and check the identity card of anybody entering the premises.
Plane, not bicycle
With India losing its chance to take control of the hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-814 when it left Amritsar airport after a brief halt on December 24, 1999, then Punjab Police chief Sarabjit Singh was reportedly asked by Intelligence Bureau Director Shyamal Datta why he did not puncture the tyres of the aircraft and immobilise it. “They were talking to me as if it was a bicycle there,” Singh is said to have mused years later, as recounted by former R&AW chief A S Dulat in his book released on Friday.
Some see this as an indication of the growing clout of Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal in the Narendra Modi government. Goyal was the surprise guest at the press conference to announce cabinet decisions on Thursday. The event was addressed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh was also present since it was his ministry’s agenda that had been cleared by the cabinet. Goyal had no role to play, but sat through the entire briefing. A few weeks ago, when the government was preparing publicity documents to mark its first anniversary, it was Goyal who was assigned the responsibility of deciding the final content of the booklet.
Back in action
Back in India after a short vacation abroad, Rahul Gandhi has got down to business. He met party general secretaries, took stock of the political developments — the main one being the Lalit Modi controversy — and appeared to be in a mood to broadbase the attack against the Narendra Modi government. Sources said the party may take out jan chetna yatras in many states. The Lalit Modi issue would, of course, be a part of the attack. Sources said Rahul is of the view that the political attack on the Modi government would not translate into electoral success without a strong organisation. Hence, the stress is on how to strengthen the organisation, including appointment of office bearers since the organisational elections have been postponed.