July 9, 2021 2:34:54 am
While the Congress leadership is weighing the pros and cons to resolve the crisis in its Punjab unit — it has to find a way to suitably accommodate Navjot Singh Sidhu without antagonising Chief Minister Amarinder Singh— the buzz in the party is that several veteran leaders have reached out to party chief Sonia Gandhi in support of Amarinder. At least two former chief ministers and two ex-Union ministers are said to have thrown their weight behind the Chief Minister, conveying to the leadership that he should not be left high and dry. Those close to Amarinder say the sense that they get is that the party leadership is unlikely to appoint Sidhu as Punjab Congress chief.
Now The Party
With the much-awaited expansion of the Union Council of Ministers over, the buzz in the BJP circles is now about reshuffle in the party set-up. All eyes are on whether some ministers who were dropped will find a place in the party organisation. At least three office-bearers — Bhupender Yadav, Annapurna Devi and Bishweswar Tudu — have become ministers. While Yadav is a general secretary, Devi is a vice-president of the party; Tudu is national secretary. What is more urgent perhaps is the need to fill vacant posts in the all-important BJP Parliamentary Board. With Thawarchand Gehlot appointed Governor, there are now five vacancies in the party’s Parliamentary board. The party did not appoint any member after M Venkaiah Naidu became Vice President. Three more vacancies arose with the deaths of Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar.
In his first interaction with colleagues at the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment after assuming office on Thursday, new minister Dr Virendra Kumar said that he was not unacquainted with many of the issues he will handle now. For years, he and his wife marked birthdays of their children by spending time with either blind or underprivileged children, the veteran Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh told them. His wife would cook a meal, which they would share with these children, he said. The Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities comes under Kumar’s ministry.
In Two Shifts, Please
Hitting the ground running on Day 1 in office, new Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw issued an order that the staff in the minister’s office should work almost round the clock but in two shifts: one set between 7 am and 4 pm and another from 3 pm till midnight. Officials feel this is to make sure work goes on in the minister’s cell round the clock.
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