Harish Rawats rebellion had its impact not just on the Congress but another key UPA ally as well. NCP leader and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had to leave for Maharashtra on Wednesday to celebrate Gudi Parwa. With a long list of questions related to his ministry listed for Rajya Sabha Question Hour on Friday,Pawar needed Rawat,his deputy,to take charge. But with Rawat not attending Parliament,Pawar had to look for someone else. He did not want to leave the job to the other MoS in his ministry,Charan Das Mahant,who is still inexperienced. So the search ended with Food Minister K V Thomas,who till some months back was deputy to Pawar in the Agriculture Ministry. Pawar and Thomas have had their disagreements in recent times,but on this occasion Thomas happily agreed to bail Pawar out. The entire effort,however,proved unnecessary in the end as Parliament decided to take a day off on Friday for Gudi Parwa.
THE LOSERS CLUB
RAJYA Sabha aspirants in the Congress are complaining about the partys choice of candidates,describing it as reward for losers. The partys nominee for the lone RS seat in Uttarakhand,Mahendra Mehra,lost the last assembly election. Its candidate from Jharkhand,Pradeep Balmuchu,has presided over the decimation of the party in the state in his capacity as state Congress chief. In Andhra Pradesh,one of the partys nominees is Renuka Choudhury,who had lost the last Lok Sabha election in spite of a wave in favour of the party in the state. Similarly,the partys choice from Uttar Pradesh,Rasheed Masood,who had joined the Congress just before the assembly elections,was a big flop in his stronghold in Saharanpur where the Congress could win only one out of seven seats in the district.
FITNESS OF THINGS
FORMER Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson Najma Heptullah is a source of envy for all fitness freaks who happen to spot her doing weight exercises at a high-end health club at Ashoka Hotel. But no amount of exercises have done as much to bolster her appearance as a single development a Rajya Sabha berth from Madhya Pradesh. Tension writ large on her face,Heptullah had made it a point to park herself in the Central Hall ever since the Parliament session had begun,to lobby for an Upper House ticket. It is a different Najma now glowing and smiling,dressed in bright pastel colours,accepting greetings from one and all.
RIVER OF LIFE
THE turnout of MPs for the cause of the Ganga took many people by surprise. Some 40 of them,across party lines,showed up. The occasion was a workshop organised by the Indian Parliamentary Group on Water Conservation and Management with a special reference to the Ganga. Speaker Meira Kumar recited a poem she had written on Ganga. An excerpt: Shabd bemani,aarati mein sur nahin shor hai,patit-pawani ko ghere malinata ghor hai. Samete kalush hamara-tumhara bahut udas behti haiyeh Ganga.
Memogate: JKLF chief to depose before Pak panel
JKLF chairman Yasin Malik will travel to Pakistan on Saturday to depose before the Special Commission,constituted by the Supreme Court of the neighbouring country,probing the Memogate.
Malik will be leaving for Pakistan on Saturday after he was asked by the Commission to submit his application in person, a JKLF spokesman said here on Wednesday.
He had sought to depose before the Commission after key player Mansoor Ijaz claimed the separatist leader had met a senior RAW official in Delhi at the behest of intelligence agencies of the United States.