When he was the Prime Minister, he was not much media savvy. Nowadays, Manmohan Singh does not mind interacting with the media when they approach him in the corridors of Parliament or on the sidelines of some functions. He may have got a taste of ‘breaking news’ on Sunday though. At the Iftar get-together hosted by Sonia Gandhi, Singh spoke freely to journalists who met him in small groups. He gave his opinion on the Nitin Gadkari bugging row, the controversy triggered by Markandey Katju on appointment of a judge, inflation among other things. Journos obviously loved the interaction and rushed to break news. It was when Singh met next batches of journalists that he chose to remind that he was speaking off the record. It was too late by then as his remarks were all over news agencies and TV channels.
AGENDA, OR NOT?
IS there a 100-day agenda for ministers in the NDA regime? After the first Cabinet meeting last May, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu was quoted as saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked the ministers to set a timetable for the first 100 days listing their priorities. About two months later, sources say the PM did not set any such agenda for ministers. What the PM apparently wanted them to do was to “understand” their respective ministries in 100 days. Incidentally, in his second term as PM, Manmohan Singh had also asked ministers to set 100 and 200 days’ agenda but nothing was heard of it later.
SINGAPORE was the favourite destination for many Congress leaders last week. Former Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna was spotted returning from Singapore on the Air India flight with his wife on Sunday morning. Former Union ministers Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor were there over the weekend, apparently as part of a delegation for an event. With the Congress yet to recover from the blow it suffered in the parliamentary election, Singapore climes seem to be offering some good distraction for party leaders.
FOR the second time in two months, staffers at Nirman Bhavan, which houses the Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation ministries, were in for a surprise punctuality-check by their minister M Venkaiah Naidu. After Naidu made the check at 9.10 am, names of about 80 ‘errant’ officials were noted down and were marked absent for the day. Following this, a bio-metric attendance system will soon be installed to mark attendance in these ministries.