Delhi confidential: Enthused By Envoys

Among them were the high commissioners of Britain, South Africa and Bangladesh and the ambassadors of Russia, Canada, Iran and Iraq.

Published: June 15, 2018 4:52:44 am
Congress President Rahul Gandhi. (File)

While top leaders of many opposition parties skipped Rahul Gandhi’s iftaar on Wednesday, the Congress is enthused by the big turnout of diplomatic corps at the event. One gets to hear that as many as 47 ambassadors and high commissioners attended the event, the largest ever for a Congress iftaar. Among them were the high commissioners of Britain, South Africa and Bangladesh and the ambassadors of Russia, Canada, Iran and Iraq. The chargé d’affaires of several countries from Europe to Africa and neighbouring countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan too made an appearance. Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma, who had personally invited many of the ambassadors and high commissioners, took Rahul to the tables where the diplomats were seated.

Audience Imbalance

At a Niti Aayog and Observer Research Foundation public consultation on Niti Aayog’s recently released National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence report, less than five of the roughly 50 people in the Taj Mahal Hotel conference room in Delhi were women. One of the members of the team who wrote the paper, a woman, stood in front of the audience and emphasised the inclusivity of AI, championing the hashtag #AIforAll. A female researcher in the audience asked the speaker to specifically address gender issues, to which the speaker apologised that the report could not cover gender issues.

Another Shift

IAS officer Prasanth Nair, who was private secretary to Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam, has been transferred out. Known as ‘Collector Bro’ for some of his novel administrative initiatives as district collector of Kozhikode — which won him a huge following on social media — Nair had shifted to Delhi in November 2017. Kannathanam rooted for Nair notwithstanding opposition from the Kerala BJP unit. Though the exact reasons for the sudden transfer are not known, the grapevine has it that it was not smooth sailing for the duo.

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