South Block is intrigued about visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzais private engagement next week. He is going to a private state university,Lovely Professional University,in Jalandhar,to attend the convocation,where he is also being given an honorary doctorate. As if this was not enough,even President Pranab Mukherjee is going for the same event. LPU,known for its snazzy advertisements,is quite a rags-to-riches story,and in parts a controversial rise of an entrepreneur from selling laddoos to hosting Presidents. Last heard,South Block is preparing to send an official to keep track of the Afghan Presidents remarks in Jalandhar.
Old friendships come in handy in politics. Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal tried to leverage his friendship with union minister Rajiv Shukla the other day to get a security upgrade. The two go a long way back,when both were in the Congress. In the 1990s,they became a part of the Akhil Bhartiya Loktantrik Party that sent Shukla to the Rajya Sabha for the first time. Shukla has since returned to the Congress while Agarwal has moved on to the SP,after spending some time in BSP. Agarwal convinced his friend to accompany him to Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde with a request for a security upgrade. But his request has not gone down well within his own party. SP leaders in fact were surprised to know that Agarwal had demanded Z or above category security for himself. Only SP boss Mulayam Singh Yadav enjoys that level of security in the party as of now.
NOTWITHSTANDING its claims of massive support base for itself on the social media and on the streets of Delhi,the Aam Aadmi Party of Arvind Kejriwal is faced with a less than enthusiastic response to its candidate selection process for the Delhi assembly elections. The party is said to have received about 350 applications for the 70 assembly seats,including some from abroad. Forty hopefuls have been put through a three-round interview process,but by its own admission,the party has not been able to attract the brightest talents.
Amid all the political turmoil in Delhi,Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi did not lose sight of events in foreign affairs,one area which he is said to have a lot of interest in. His conversation with Pakistans new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is learnt to have been initiated from his side as he was keen to extend a hand of friendship with the new ruling establishment in Pakistan and support the strengthening democratic roots in that country. Incidentally,the Congress party has traditionally had close ties with the Pakistan Peoples Party of the Bhuttos.