Trinamool Congresss Rajya Sabha MP Derek OBrien Monday caught Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on the wrong foot over the latters statement in the House about the train accident in Bihar. He asked the minister why his statement did not mention the word accident and rather described it as an incident. Kharge said in his dictionary there was no difference between incident and accident. OBrien told the minister that as per rules,if it is not an accident,the Railways was not liable to pay any compensation. Senior Railway Board officials later passed on a message to the minister that it was indeed an accident because of which compensation amount to the family of the deceased and to the injured had been announced. Prior to this exchange,Obrien had corrected a Congress MP who had asked why the Railways had informed the Civil Aviation Ministry. To that,the quiz-master-turned-MP explained that as per rules,it was the Civil Aviation Ministry that probed accidents involving the Railways.
Narendra Modis appeal to party cadres to woo backward Muslims,described as Pasmanda Muslims by the JD(U) that broke its 17-year-old alliance with the BJP in June this year,got leaders from BJP and JD(U) pulling each others leg. As BJP MPs Ravi Shankar Prasad and Dharmendra Pradhan were discussing it with Javed Akhtar,JD(U) leader Ali Anwar Ansari,who hails from Pasmanda Muslim community,intervened. Taking a dig at them,he said when BJP has finally realised the merit of wooing minorities,they should also consider supporting the recommendations of Ranganath Mishra-headed National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities that advocated separate sub-quota for minorities. That was the end of conversation as BJP leaders made a hasty retreat.
RESPITE FOR GOEL
Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel,who is in the firing line of many of his party colleagues,got some respite last week,albeit temporarily. With Narendra Modi in town last weekend,Goels detractors were expecting a decision on his fate at the partys Parliamentary Board meeting,but it did not take place and Nitin Gadkari,who looks after partys election affairs in the state,was also out of town. These BJP leaders are now expecting some decision on or after August 22 when Gadkari will be back. This has given Goel a few days to rally support for himself to ensure his survival.
Missing in Action
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal has been conspicuous by his absence of late. Not long back,he would be hopping from one TV studio to another raving and ranting against the system. But,even as Parliament was rocked over Robert Vadras alleged land deals an issue AAP had taken up last November Kejriwal was nowhere to be seen or heard. Last heard,AAP invited Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka to contest elections on its ticket. The officer,however,politely declined.