The Congress is working on a major outreach programme, which will be undertaken by Rahul Gandhi in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh next month. Congress campaign managers said Rahul is likely to hold either a padayatra or a series of road shows. The programme will be finalised in the next two or three days, and will run simultaneously with the twin yatras by Sheila Dikshit and Raj Babbar that are currently underway in the state. Congress leaders also expect Priyanka Gandhi to appear on the campaign trail soon, as part of the tactics suggested by party’s poll strategist Prashant Kishor.
There is an interesting side to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with opposition party leaders from J&K — it was attended by two brothers from opposite ends of the political spectrum. Among the opposition leaders was Devender Singh Rana, National Conference MLA. From the government’s side, there was only one ministerial representation apart from Modi — MoS (PMO) Jitendra Singh, who also happens to be Rana’s elder brother.
Against the backdrop of turmoil in the Valley, the Centre plans to reach out to journalists from J&K next month through a regional media conference, which will be organised in Chandigarh. The PIB has been given the task of hosting the conference, which will also see journalists from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh in attendance. The view in the government is that an interaction with J&K journalists will help the Centre put across its point of view on many issues, including the ongoing protests.
Except Air India chief Ashwani Lohani (an Indian Railways officer from Mechanical service), who was promoted to secretary grade recently, not a single name from the Railways has been picked for additional secretary and secretary empanelment, although 12 names were sent after going through 400. While the reasons are not entirely clear, top officers in Rail Bhawan have concluded that perhaps no rail officer was deemed fit under the Centre’s new 360-degree evaluation process.
Even as the government has busied itself with an ordinance on enemy properties, the highest office dealing with properties of people who left for Pakistan during Partition has remained headless for months. The office of the custodian of enemy properties is located in Ballard Estate, Mumbai, with no custodian appointed and a superintendent of enemy properties holding fort. For the time being, the office is finding it difficult to clear files or even reply to correspondence.