LAST FIGHT OUT
While most of his former ministerial colleagues have withdrawn into a shell after the shock defeat, former commerce minister Anand Sharma has quietly left for South Africa to attend the “inauguration” of Jacob Zuma as the country’s president on May 24. Sharma, one gets to hear, secured the clearance from Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the midst of the poll campaign. He will be be representing the Congress at Zuma’s swearing in.
Weeks before the election results were out, Narendra Modi was said to have started gathering information about the so-called steel frame at the Centre. Grapevine has it that Modi’s team had started making profiles of joint secretaries and above in New Delhi on account of three parameters — (political) affiliations, efficiency and integrity. Obviously, even before the bureaucrats in Delhi started re-positioning themselves in anticipation of the change of regime, Modi already had a clear idea about who he would like to pick up for various assignments. These inputs will come handy for him once he starts rebuilding his bureaucratic team.
Trust Congressmen to come up with hilarious conspiracy theories for their humiliating loss. At the CWC meeting, general secretary Mohan Prakash referred to a Mossad-RSS collaboration at work since 2009. While his remarks drew sneers, former Union minister C P Joshi caught the attention of the party president and vice-president when he repeatedly referred to “right to entertainment” initiated by the Congress-led government. As it turned out, he was referring to “right to entitlements”. Meanwhile, former finance minister P Chidambaram pitched for a CEO-type post in the Congress. Chidambaram wanted such a system as he had only found communication department secretary Tom Vadakkan and one media coordinator at the AICC headquarters when he arrived to address a press conference recently.
That Narendra Modi had a positive relationship with Japan is well known, since he had visited the country as the chief minister and Japanese companies have invested in projects in the state. The bond was well displayed when Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called up Modi. Interestingly, it has emerged that Abe, known for his muscular foreign policy, follows only three individuals on Twitter. Apart from his wife Akie Abe and a journalist-cum-politician Naoki Inose, Abe, who has 317,000 followers, follows Modi. The PM-designate, obviously, follows him as well.
The BJP Parliamentary Party meeting was not without jitters. Though it was agreed that L K Advani will propose Modi’s name, such was the caution that party president Rajnath Singh had the text printed for Advani. When Advani appeared to make a suo motu statement, Singh indicated his jitters getting Advani to cut his speech and read from the printed text. Later, when another party elder Murli Manohar Joshi was seen making some point from his seat Singh and Modi completely ignored his suggestions. While Modi avoided the saffron colour, the BJP contingent had seven — including Uma Bharti and Yogi Adityanath — saint members clad in their traditional saffron robes along with many who were partially dressed in saffron. The green colour, incidentally, was also spotted on some women members. Before Modi’s arrival, the toast of the gathering was his confidant Amit Shah who mingled with newly-elected members as many competed to get noticed by him.