The way the Congress managed, or rather mismanaged, its own plan to reunite Opposition parties against the Centre’s demonetisation decision has shocked many in the Opposition. The Congress could have added one more to the list of parties which attended Tuesday’s press conference had it invited the RSP, whose Lok Sabha MP N K Premachandran regularly attended the Opposition meetings during the Winter Session of Parliament. Premachandran even participated in the march to Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet President Pranab Mukherjee on the last day of the session which many parties skipped. But the Congress, it appears, simply forgot to invite Premachandran. The JD(S) made a symbolic presence at the meeting, and sources said its supremo, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, was to travel to Delhi but cancelled his journey this morning.
Suresh Prabhu’s search for a private secretary (PS) has come a full circle. Pingaley Vijay Maruti, the 2004-batch IAS officer who was Prabhu’s original choice for PS when he took over the reins of Railways, is once again in contention for the post. Back in 2014, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had refused to relieve Maruti, a Maharashtrian by birth, for central posting. Since then, Prabhu’s luck with PS has been erratic. His latest PS, Ashish Madhaorao More, was recently shifted to DoPT after being on long leave due to health reasons. Before that, Sanjeev Kumar, another IAS, cut short his tenure and went on training to London. The crucial post has been lying either vacant or without a permanent officer, making Prabhu the only Cabinet minister without a full-time IAS private secretary for the longest time. Now the wait is to see whether Maruti’s second attempt to get the job is successful, and whether in Jayalalithaa’s absence the Tamil Nadu government gives him the required clearance.
Dealing With Delays
With just about a month to go for the retirement of AIIMS Director Dr M C Mishra, and a PMO directive seeking reconstitution of the search committee, it is now almost certain that the proposal will have to be accompanied by a delay statement from the health secretary. As per a Cabinet Secretariat circular, if the proposal for filling a vacancy is sent less than two months before the post falls vacant, the delay has to be explained by the secretary of the department concerned.