The DMK has been active in fuelling the rumour mill with reports about Jayalalithaa’s health. The uncertainty which has gripped the state has been compounded by Sasikala, Jayalalithaa’s trusted aide, not permitting Apollo Hospital to give out specific details of the Chief Minister’s ailment. In view of the mounting rumours, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Governor Vidyasagar Rao to meet the Chief Minister in hospital. After Rao’s visit and statement, many in Chennai were somewhat reassured.
Post-Uri attack, sudden silence
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is a regular on Twitter, sometimes sending out as many as 20 tweets a day, responding to various requests for help from NRIs. But since September 18, the day of the Uri attack, Swaraj has tweeted sparingly. Some speculate that this is because Swaraj was piqued at not being called for the meeting of key ministers to discuss the government’s policy in the wake of the terror attack. A shift in the policy towards Pakistan was a key issue to be discussed.
Narayanan’s clout continues
He may have retired as director, Intelligence Bureau, way back in 1992, but M K Narayanan still has an enormous hold over the organisation. Although he was closely associated with the Manmohan Singh government, having worked under Singh as NSA and later being appointed as the West Bengal governor, Narayanan was selected to deliver the keynote address at the IB’s centenary celebrations on September 24. What was even more surprising was that the lecture was named after A C M Nambiar, a little-known IB official who retired as joint director in the sixties. Nambiar was singled out for the honour reportedly because he was related to Narayanan.
From Punjab, a strange letterhead
In Punjab, subtlety, it seems, is not appreciated. Which explains this unusual letterhead. The letter proclaims on the top right: S Inderjit Singh Sidhu, ‘Real Brother-in-Law of Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab’. Leaving no one in doubt where Sidhu’s clout stems from.
Police to rescue in Divided Cong House
In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress is so badly divided that on Gandhi Jayanti, three factions of the party pitched as many tents at the grounds where Mahatma Gandhi’s statue is located in Bhopal. One camp supports Jyotiraditya Scindia, the other Kamal Nath and the third Digvijaya Singh. Local police had to be called in to separate the feuding groups which had gathered to pay homage to the apostle of non-violence. Incidentally, with no scope of an active role in the central leadership at present, Scindia is keen to join state politics. He has been touring the state in the hope of establishing himself as the prospective Congress chief ministerial candidate in the same way that Sachin Pilot has emerged as the CM contender in neighbouring Rajasthan. The hurdle is Madhya Pradesh Congress president Arun Yadav, also young like Scindia and who comes from a Congress family and is not ready to step aside in a hurry.
Before Metro, a forgotten initiator
The Delhi Metro has renamed some of its stations but why has no one thought of renaming Khan Market metro station after the late Congress chief executive councillor Jag Pravesh Chandra? The grand old man of Delhi is a legend who first pushed the idea of a rapid transport system for the Capital, long before anyone else ever seriously thought of it. Chandra wrote two booklets on the subject and raised the issue frequently in the Delhi Metropolitan Council, even though the idea was greeted with mirth. (It was BJP chief minister Madan Lal Khurana who years later gave the metro project in-principle approval.) Chandra came to Delhi as a refugee and was allotted a three-room accommodation in Khan Market. He never moved from his humble quarters and lived a life of Gandhian simplicity despite the powerful positions he held. Since Khan Market is named after Frontier Gandhi, it is only fitting that the metro station is named after its most famous resident who conceived the idea in the first place.