Saturday, Oct 25, 2014
Written by The Indian Express | Posted: December 27, 2013 12:53 am

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s plan to hold a press conference early next month has created a buzz in the ruling Congress. At the party’s manifesto release function ahead of general elections in 2009,Singh had taken everybody by surprise by launching a blistering attack on L K Advani for calling him a “weak” PM. Will Singh go for a re-do and try to counter the BJP’s PM candidate in 2014? Grapevine is that he may. Also,Congressmen are expecting Singh to field questions on the possibility of his third term in office — an issue on which the PM has been non-committal — especially as his press conference is likely to be scheduled before the January 17 AICC session that is set to witness a clamour for the declaration of Rahul Gandhi as the party’s PM candidate.

COST CUTTING

Looking to curb down on excessive spending by units on publications that may not necessarily have to do with training or operations,the Army has sent across instructions on the ‘coffee table book culture’. Noting that over the past few years,there has been a proliferation of such books,instructions have been sent that any future projects for coffee table books can now only be embarked upon after the approval of the Director General of Military Intelligence,a three star officer.

HIS MOMENT

Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s drawing room wall,which already has photographs of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,recently got an addition — a picture of the minister with Nelson Mandela. As the world mourned the demise of the anti-apartheid icon early this month,Verma suddenly remembered that he had shared dais with the South African leader in 1997 when he was telecom minister in the United Front government. The then prime minister H D Deve Gowda had planned the release of a postage stamp for a south Indian poet and had asked Verma to expedite it to get Mandela to release it on his state visit to India. Verma has also got copies of the picture for his residence in Delhi,Lucknow and Barabanki now.

NEW NSG CHIEF

Assam police chief J N Choudhury has been appointed head of the elite National Security Guard in place of Arvind Ranjan,who will take over as the full-time chief of Central Industrial Security Force. Choudhury was in the race for the much sought after post of special secretary (internal security) at MHA and sources said even after his appointment as NSG chief,he cannot be ruled out of the race. A 1978- batch IPS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre,Choudhury is due to retire in May 2015. He has also served in the Intelligence Bureau for a number of years before taking over as Assam police chief last year.

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