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NEPAL PRESIDENT Bidhya Devi Bhandari is coming to India next month. The Nepalese side has made a special request to the Indian government. Bhandari has expressed interest in attending the Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. So, India will host her there.
On The Sidelines
EVEN AS India and Pakistan raised contentious issues at the meeting of the Foreign Secretaries in New Delhi on Tuesday, there is yet another effort by a group of retired diplomats “who know the most about both countries” to renew their engagement. Touted as a fresh Track-2 initiative, Ananta Aspen Centre here will play host to “all the living high commissioners” — India to Pakistan and vice versa — later this week to find a way to break the logjam. Among those expected are Natwar Singh, K Shankar Bajpai, Shiv Shankar Menon, Satyabrata Pal and Satinder Lambah from the Indian side and Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Aziz Ahmed Khan and Humayun Khan from Pakistan.
MPs’ Day Out
AS HE walked into a book release function on Tuesday, Vice-President Hamid Ansari noticed the MPs sitting in the audience. “Half the Rajya Sabha seems to be present here,” he remarked. As he walked past BJP’s M J Akbar, Ansari asked him why he had taken a chair that seemed the furthest from the dais. “I only follow orders,” said Akbar.
In Black & White
THE PARLIAMENTARY committee on petitions met on Tuesday to discuss whether jewellery makers and sellers should be included under the tax net by making PAN number mandatory for transactions over Rs 1 lakh. The discussion soon shifted to black money. Senior finance ministry officials explained how the move was aimed at tracking and checking black money. TMC MP Dinesh Trivedi is reported to have remarked that to curb black money, the “source of all black money” — political parties — should be brought under the tax net. If you don’t clean up the Gangotri, Ganga will never be clean, he is understood to have said.
Yoga & Politics
AT THIS year’s International Yoga Day on June 21, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to lead a yoga performance in Chandigarh. The PM is said to have been keen to take the main event out of Delhi this time, and the choice apparently was between Chandigarh and Dehradun. The latter is learnt to have been the first choice, but the recent political developments in the state tilted the balance in favour of Chandigarh.