While the Congress party has a battery of eminent lawyers in its rank,its Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley who enjoys the most goodwill among ruling party leaders. The senior BJP leaders readiness to help out politicians in distress has won him many admirers across the political spectrum,especially in the ruling party. He spent hours in the court to get reprieve for a Congress MP whose political career was at stake over his alleged involvement in a gangrape case. Another Congress MP from Maharashtra sings paeans about Jaitley after the latter appeared in the court for him in a case involving religious freedom of a section of his electorate. And there are stories galore. Interestingly,all these MPs invariably get calls from Jaitleys office seeking to know at what address the bills (fees) should be sent. And they are in for shock when they get the bill from Jaitley,which invariably reads (in the space meant for the amount) no fees charged. The BJP leaders gesture comes as a pleasant surprise to these Congressmen who are used to hefty demands from a party colleague who is an eminent lawyer.
In a move that raised curiosity of many MPs,chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts Murli Manohar Joshi recently appointed first-term MP Abhijit Mukherjee,President Pranab Mukherjees son,convenor of the PACs sub-committee on defence. Abhijit who made his maiden entry into Lok Sabha only last October had been a member of the PAC for just a few weeks before Joshi decided to enhance his profile. The PAC chairmans decision,however,got some raised eyebrows in the PAC with some members telling him at a recent meeting that while they had no objection to Abhijits appointment as a sub-committee convenor,they were expecting some senior leader to be given the responsibility. But,Joshi obviously had to have some reasons for promoting Abhijit.
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While BJP president Rajnath Singh is busy collecting accolades for defying even party patriarch L K Advani to anoint Narendra Modi as the partys campaign chief,his own position in his constituency Ghaziabad seems on the shaky ground now. Singh had a relatively easy run last time when the BJP was in alliance with Ajit Singh-led RLD and the SP,under the influence of its thakur leader Amar Singh,had not fielded a candidate. The RLD is firmly with the Congress now and Amar Singh is out of the SP. While Rajnath Singh is in the US,the SP held a parivartan rally in Ghaziabad on Sunday. SP national secretary Rajesh Dixit even ridiculed Singh for travelling to the US to get a visa for Modi. SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav also sought to target Singhs upper caste votebank reminding how it was the SP that opposed reservation in promotion in government jobs and not the BJP which is presided over by Singh. On his next tour to Ghaziabad,the BJP president,for sure,will have to do a lot of explaining.
After the Uttarakhand government was taken by surprise by flood fury resulting in huge loss of lives,the Centre does not want to take any chances. A seven-member inter-ministerial team led by the Home Ministry is being dispatched to Kerala on a three-day visit for monsoon calamity assessment. The team led by JS (foreigners) V Vumlunmang,includes representatives from Planning Commission,Rural Development,Agriculture Ministry,Finance Ministry,Drinking Water and Sanitation,Road and Surface Transport. The mission was cleared after MoS (Home) Mullappally Ramachandran,who hails from Kerala,got a nod from Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
After the recent blasts in Bodhgaya,senior officials made a replica of the cylinder IEDs (improvised explosive device) used there to display it in front of Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. The National Security Guard (NSG),which does the post-blast analysis,decided to make a replica of the IED so that the minister could be better informed about its mechanism. Officials said it was possible to make a replica only because they had managed to recover three unexploded IEDs.