Losing a friend
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee may be batting on the front foot in domestic politics,but is clearly on the receiving end on the diplomatic front at least when it comes to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. After having nixed the Teesta agreement at the eleventh hour,Hasina gave old friend Banerjee the cold shoulder when she agreed to accept an honoris causa from Tripura University while ignoring Shantiniketans pending offer for the same honour. The Bangladesh PM,who will be in Tripura next week to receive the honour,is said to have declined a suggestion to visit Kolkata. This round clearly goes to CPMs only Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh is religious about his fitness routine but the recent chill and fog in Delhi has put a stop to his evening walks at Lodhi Gardens. Not one to use the excuse to slip off his exercise regime,Ramesh now walks back from his office in Krishi Bhawan right up to his house near Khan Market. His official vehicle,however,still does the daily trip between home and office. The ministers bag and baggage get a ride home even if the minister doesnt.
khurshids rescue act
LAW and Minorities Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid,it seems,saved the government from a major embarrassment in the Lok Sabha during the just concluded session. With the government not having the numbers to push through a constitutional amendment to raise the retirement age of High Court judges,it desperately wanted to avoid a vote,as was being insisted upon by the Opposition. So even when the debate was continuing,Khurshid stood up and started reading a statement on the Cabinet decision to carve out a sub-quota for minorities in the 27 per cent OBC quota. That caused commotion,leading to adjournment of the House. It now emerges that Khurshid was ready to do something similar in the Rajya Sabha the next day when the government wanted to avoid a vote on the Lokpal Bill. The giveaway was the few officers of the Minority Affairs Ministry,who sat in the officers gallery till midnight that day,just in case their minister had to make a statement.
Word of caution
WITH the government having tied itself in several knots over the Lokpal issue and finally acceding to Team Annas demand to bring Group C and D staff within the ambit of the proposed office,BJPs outspoken MP S S Ahluwalia had a word of advice. He told a senior Congress leader that the government was making a mistake by including Group C and D employees within the Lokpal and then went on to add that the Congress must remember that it had lost the 1977 elections not because of JP movement,as is widely believed,but because of the anger of the lower rung of employees who had been at the receiving end of the Emergency provisions.
KRISHI Bhawan,which houses the Agriculture Ministry,has finally remembered Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose,one of Indias foremost biologists who made pioneering contributions to plant science in the early part of the last century. The ministry has created a new committee room,joining two earlier rooms,and named it after Bose. The walls of the new swanky room,which will serve as a meeting room,has been adorned with portraits of several other Indian scientists as well,including that of Nobel laureate Hargobind Khorana who had become an American citizen and died last year.