Lok Sabha MP Karti Chidambaram on Tuesday sprang a surprise on the party, suggesting that Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra should contest the by-election for Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu. The seat fell vacant with the death of party MP H Vasanthakumar. Karti says the Congress needs a bold move that will fire up imagination of the average party worker, and Priyanka’s candidature would be such a move. But not everyone in the Congress agrees. Mohan Kumaramangalam, one of the working presidents of Tamil Nadu Congress, said Priyanka, when she does contest, should do so from a seat in Uttar Pradesh, or any other Hindi heartland state. He argued that that would fire up Congress workers — at a place the party needs them the most.
CPI leader and Member of Parliament Binoy Viswam has demanded an extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana for six months – until till May 2021. The scheme, which was launched as a response to the coronavirus pandemic in March for three months – Aptil, May and June – was extended up to November. However, no decision has been taken so far to extend it beyond November. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Viswam has written, “Over 80 crore Indians avail the benefit of this scheme and its sudden closure will cause great distress among them.” He also made a case for universalisation of the public distribution system. Food Ministry sources indicated that the scheme is unlikely to be extended.
Order In, Order Out
A circular issued by the medical department of the Railways Ministry on Monday immediately created a controversy within the bureaucracy, especially at a time when Indian Railways and the Railway Board are reeling under Covid-19 infection. The circular said that railway hospitals should refer its employees only to other government hospitals, if needed – and only if government hospitals do not have facilities for treatment can the employees be referred to private hospitals. Within internal groups of officers, the order quickly started being described as “bizarre” and “ridiculous”. Officers suspect the medical department had not consulted the powers that be before issuing it. So by Tuesday, another order was issued – this one said Monday’s order stands withdrawn.
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