TRINAMOOL CONGRESS MP Derek O’Brien does not like being referred to as a quizmaster any more. He even told this to the presiding officer in the Upper House last week, reminding the chair that he is not a quizmaster but the leader of his party in the Rajya Sabha. However, on Saturday, on the first day of the two-day orientation programme for first-time MPs, Derek donned that cap again. Testing the fresh MPs’ knowledge of parliamentary committees and procedures, he promised chocolates for those who answered his questions correctly.
BULGARIA APPEARS to be the new flavour for Bollywood and the Indian ambassador to that country, Puja Kapur, is taking special interest in facilitating the crew going there. These days Kapur is apparently busy facilitating the producers and crew members of a new Hindi movie, which is being shot there, with local authorities. The movie, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, is being shot in exotic locales around Danube river and parts of Sofia. Kapur — who was joint secretary in charge of ASEAN affairs in South Block till recently — appears to have taken her role as the ambassador of India’s soft power diplomacy quite seriously.
THE CHIEF of a paramilitary force, who is about to retire soon, is learnt to be lobbying hard for a post-retirement job with the government. He is investing such energy that he has deputed a constable to keep a watch on a senior PMO official who goes to Lodhi Garden every morning for walk. The moment this official leaves home, the paramilitary chief, who is not a regular morning walker, leaves for Lodhi Garden for a ‘chance encounter’ with the official. Bureaucratic circles say he has used this trick earlier as well to impress the powers that be in the PMO to get key postings.
INDIAN RAILWAYS is infamous for “departmentalism”. Now it is said to have crept into the new bullet train project as well. For the post of Director (Rolling Stock), NHSRCL, two Mechanical Engineering service officers have been shortlisted although the bullet train is an Electrical Multiple Unit, 25kv system. In this kind of system, only Electrical Engineering service officers work and specialise in Railways and, therefore, the officers shortlisted are not known to have any expertise or exposure in this. Curiously, all the Electrical Engineering service officers interviewed, who have been working on this system for decades, were found to be unsuitable — a fact that has raised eyebrows.