If anybody thought that the humiliating poll drubbing could somehow dilute the clout of Team Rahul in running the Congress, they had to be hugely mistaken. While most of those inside and outside the party blamed the vice-president’s core team of mostly politically neutral advisors for ‘hijacking’ the party’s poll management leading to its decimation, neither Sonia nor Rahul Gandhi seems to buy this argument. Rahul’s close aide and party general secretary Madhusudan Mistry who had been entrusted the envious though onerous task of shortlisting candidates for the entire country has been facing flak since the day of poll results. The Congress high command has, however, continued to repose full faith in him and has now asked him to carry out the same exercise of preparing the panel of candidates for all Assembly constituencies in poll-bound states, including Maharashtra and Haryana.
What’s in a name
While the jury is out on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s maiden Budget, Health Ministry babus have some issues with the naming of some institutes proposed by him. In his speech, Jaitley said: “In order to achieve universal access to early quality diagnosis and treatment to TB patients, two national institutes of ageing will be set up…” Health Ministry officials don’t see any links between the name of the institute (of ageing) and its primary objective.
Latin American Flavour
With Prime minister Narendra Modi set to engage with the leaders of South American countries this week during his visit to Brazil for the BRICS summit, South Block is going the whole hog with its diplomacy towards the Latin Americans. As an outreach effort, the government is starting a Spanish website for the Ministry of External Affairs. This website went live on Saturday, ahead of Modi’s trip starting Sunday. Now, it remains to be seen whether such efforts give the much-needed fillip to India’s engagement with the South American continent, which is being wooed by China for some years.
Though initially reluctant to join the government, Home Minister Rajnath Singh seems to be loving his job now. Just before the Parliament session began last week, Singh called for all the pending files with the ministry, including the ones pending since the UPA’s time. He cleared them all in a jiffy. It is learnt that Singh cleared around 200 files on one such day.
During an inspection of Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital Saturday, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan was upset by the lack of air-conditioning in the waiting areas of the hospital and the exposed wires. when a senior doctor tried to assure him that they were aware of the problem and following up with the CPWD, the minister shouted “being aware is not enough”.