Chat over coffee

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel having coffee together

Published: August 14, 2013 1:51 am

Chat over coffee

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel having coffee together on a back bench in the Central Hall drew everybody’s attention on Tuesday. The next thing Patel did was to move on to a front bench — to be with Swaraj’s counterpart in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley. It was not clear if it was a balancing act or an effective move to check any speculation.

TAKING LEAD

SHE steered the rollout of the ambitious food security initiative,sidestepping criticism about its drain on the exchequer and then sent out a message to the party’s chief ministers to ensure its implementation in letter and spirit. And now,Sonia Gandhi may lead the Congress in the debate on what the party believes is a game-changer in the election year. Sources in the party said Sonia might speak in the Lok Sabha if the opposition allows a proper debate to take place. Party leaders said Sonia’s participation,if it happens,would not only help in stealing the opposition thunder,as the focus would be on her,but would also send out a loud message about the Congress’s Aam Aadmi plank.

SURPRISE ENTRY

BIHAR DGP Abhayanand has entered the race for the post of DG,CRPF,the post that has been lying vacant since August 1. While the MHA had sent the names of three officers — Kanwaljit Deol,Sanjeev Dayal and Dilip Trivedi — to the selection panel,the Bihar DGP has made a surprise entry into the list. The announcement of the new CRPF DG has been stuck as Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde was hospitalised in Mumbai for 10 days. Things are expected to move with Shinde’s return to office.

THE OMISSION

FOR the past several years,the CAG has been following a tradition of putting up all its reports online once they are tabled in Parliament. The tradition continued even after former defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma took charge. However,what surprised many was that only one report of the many tabled in Parliament on Tuesday was not uploaded on the CAG’s website — a special audit of the VVIP chopper deal. Interestingly,this is the first CAG report on the defence forces that has been tabled in Parliament since Sharma took charge. It is,of course,well known that he handled not only the VVIP chopper deal but most major recent defence acquisitions during his long innings in the defence ministry.

PUBLICITY BLITZKRIEG

THE second phase of Bharat Nirman,the UPA II government’s publicity campaign,is set to kick off on Wednesday. But two subjects that are being showcased in the promos — the food security Bill and the land acquisition Bill — are yet to be passed by Parliament. The publicity blitzkrieg has also once again triggered speculation about the ruling dispensation’s thinking on the timing of general elections. Other subjects that the campaign will be touching are the DBT,Aadhar and setting up of a real estate regulator.

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