On the job
His first challenge being passage of the contentious GST Bill, new Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar has devoted himself full time to the job. His phone has not stopped ringing ever since he got the new role. Leaders from all parties, including Sharad Yadav, Praful Patel, Anbumani Ramadoss and Mulayam Singh Yadav, have congratulated him. Kumar intends to reciprocate by setting up one-on-one meetings with many of them to discuss the GST. He also plans to visit NCP chief Sharad Pawar, whose call he was unable to attend. These days, Kumar can be seen carefully reading whatever is published on the GST. But unlike his predecessor M Venkaiah Naidu, he exercises restraint in making public comments on the issue.
The New Man
RSS’s point person with the BJP, Krishna Gopal, has found a new personal assistant. Last month, he had to dismiss his PA, Digvijay Tyagi, following complaints from some senior pracharaks. Tyagi does not belong to the RSS and many senior functionaries had claimed that he had made Gopal “inaccessible” to them. After working with a temporary assistant for a few weeks, Gopal picked Jagram, a vibhag pracharak in Madhya Pradesh, as his new PA.
In a Spot
Congress’s move to declare Sheila Dikshit as its chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh has put the BJP in a fix. The BJP, which is banking heavily on its upper caste support base, has so far been hesitant to name its CM candidate. But now that the Congress has made the announcement, it is likely that BJP’s upper caste CM hopefuls will put pressure on the leadership to select one of them to consolidate its support base.
RSS’s foundation day, Vijayadashami, will see swayamsewaks wear the new uniform — which comprises brown trousers instead of khaki shorts — for the first time. After years of debate and discussion, the RSS had decided to introduce a new uniform in March this year. On the last day of the meeting of prant pracharaks in Kanpur on Friday, it was decided that sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, while making his annual speech in Nagpur on Vijayadashami, would wear the new uniform as well.
Newly appointed Minister of State for Law P P Chaudhary will have to wait for some time before getting comfortable in his new office. Having not had an MoS to assist the cabinet minister for almost a decade, the Law Ministry does not have any infrastructure to house the junior minister’s personal staff. To accommodate his colleague, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is learnt to have ordered that the ministry’s meeting room be turned into Chaudhary’s office. As for his personal staff, a search is on for some space on the fourth floor of Shastri Bhawan.