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Kolkata confidential

On January 1,the day Ardhendu Sen took over as the Home Secretary,the police at Writers’ Building had to launch a manhunt-for none other but the new home secretary himself.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | January 5, 2009 2:28:57 am

Babu gone AWOL?
On January 1,the day Ardhendu Sen took over as the Home Secretary,the police at Writers’ Building had to launch a manhunt — for none other but the new home secretary himself. The authorities almost panicked as Sen remained incommunicado and time ran out for the formal hand-over of charge. Later,it transpired that Sen,who was attending a lunch hosted by the IAS Association on the occasion of the farewell of chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb at the Bengal Chamber of Commerce,was walking back to the Writers’ Building. And prior to that,he was closeted with Dilip Chakrabarthy,principal secretary,department of Information and Culture. In the end,it was a journalist who informed him that the police were looking for him all over Writers’ Buildings.

Matchless Mamata
Even senior Congress leaders agree that when it comes to demonstrations and hungerstrikes,Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee has no match. In a meeting with a delegation of PTTI students — led by Banerjee — who were on a hungerstrike,Union Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee referred to her last year’s 26-day hungerstrike over the Singur issue in the peak of winter. He categorically told the students that young as they were,they were no match for Mamata in her ability to sit for days on strikes.

No bandh to bandhs
The incessant bandhs may make life miserable for the city,but the CPM apparently believed that bandhs are a major instrument to achieve success. At the sidelines of an interactive session in the city,CPM politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury claimed that sometimes bandhs are a reasonable and plausible option to get one’s demands met. He also made it clear that despite the spillover effect strikes have on general public,politically,the effect has been worthwhile.

Foxed for good
On Friday night,when Mamata Banerjee attempted to gherao the Palm Avenue residence of the chief minister,the police stopped her troops around half-a-km from the house. Even as Banerjee and her supporters settled down to wait out the night,another group of Trinamool supporters approached from a side street and found their way barred by a contingent of Rapid Action Force. In a bid to storm through,the crowd rushed forward,only to find the RAF quietly move aside to let them pass. The puzzled supporters soon realised that the street they were going down led to Bhattacharjee’s residence and the police wanted to confine them at the same spot under the same guard. As a senior police officer at the spot said with a smile,“they solved our problem of having to flush them out of the vicinity of the CM’s residence.”

Do unto others
ith P K Agarwal assuming the charge of the Commissioner General,Land and Land Reforms Department,its personnel are holding their breath. All are expecting a tussle between Agarwal and Land Reforms Commissioner Balbir Ram. The post of Commissioner General is by and large an ornamental post with very few responsibilities attached to it — handling Thika Tenancy,the Orphangunj Market,DM establishments,to name a few. Earlier,ambitious CGs tried to sneak into the turf of the reforms commissioner,leading to a lot of heartburn. Agarwal himself,when he was the LRC,had to resist such moves made by A K Patnaik,who was CG at the time. Now it has to be seen whether he tries to do what he abhorred when he was the LRC.

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