13,Talkatora Road,the lucky bungalow that President Pranab Mukherjee lived in for years,is now up for the taking. The Type-6 bungalow is being sought by secretary-level officers since it was put up as a vacant house a few days ago,after the President gave it up dispelling the impression that he might retain it. But,besides the number 13 attached to it,officers are worried on another front. The house has some extra servant quarters and office rooms,which had been built to suit the requirements of Mukherjee,which can prove to be a problem for officers who do not know what to do with them.
LESS than a month ago,the night before Arvind Kejriwal announced the formation of a political party,Aseem Trivedi,the cartoonist at the centre of storm,had opposed the political turn of the India Against Corruption group. He had alleged that he was manhandled by IAC volunteers for doing so. Kejriwal and his associates hardly heard him. On Monday,when Trivedis arrest by Mumbai Police made headlines,Kejriwal instantly took notice of him and issued a statement in his support. He also announced that he would go to meet Trivedi in custody.
IT is no secret that the buildings on the Raisina Hill,the seat of power,are as badly maintained inside as their grand look from the outside. Cosmetic changes to make the rooms and corridors more presentable are almost always underway,but the effort is lacklustre at best. The Defence Ministry in South Block recently carried out a makeover of its reception lobby. Automatic sliding doors were installed and wooden panels were placed. However,barely a few months later,the door stopped functioning and the wooden floor gave way. So,when the visiting Chinese Defence Minister made his way to the guard of honour in the lawns,the sight that greeted him was uprooted floor panelling,a broken door and a gloomy reception lobby!
AT a time when two crucial NDA allies have expressed their no-confidence in Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,BJP patriarch L K Advani has tried to do a careful tightrope walk while praising the partys chief ministers. In his latest blog,Advani mentions about a new project launched by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan,and just to ensure that he does not send out a wrong message,goes on to describe a new and innovative programme of the Gujarat government as well. However,the inhibitions are dropped completely while referring to the recent incident involving The Washington Post article that criticised the Prime Minister. Advani comes down heavily on the PMO officer who thought he would crush a journalist from The Washington Post… and send a stern signal to Indian reporters in the process. He then takes a dig at the official saying he ensured that the article grabbed everyones attention instead of being ignored. The officials pomposity was an invitation to laughter…This must be a high point of disservice to Dr Manmohan Singh by a man hired to serve, Advani signs off.
Bill of Confusion
THE confusion over the fate of a proposed Land Bill continues to persist in the government. A Cabinet meeting last month had decided to refer the Bill to a Group of Ministers (GoM) to allow competing stakeholders to arrive at a mutually agreeable version. That decision was seen as a setback for Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh who was hoping to pilot the Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. However,with more than 10 days after the Cabinets decision,there has been no notification about the constitution of the GoM,giving rise to fresh speculation.