With the reconstitution of the parliamentary standing committees in the final stage, one gets to hear that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has offered himself for the Standing Committee on External Affairs. And Congress president Sonia Gandhi has opted out of the panels yet again. Sonia — the UPA chairperson and chief of the Congress parliamentary party — was not a member of any of the standing committees in the previous Lok Sabha as well. Rahul had been a member of the standing committees on Finance and Human Resource Development in the past.
CLIQUE IS GONE
It is curtains for the All India Indira Congress (Tiwari) pack in the Congress with the exit of senior leader Birender Singh from the party. N D Tiwari, whose surname marked the identity of the party founded by Sonia Gandhi loyalists during the reign of P V Narasimha Rao, is out of active politics due to old age. Arjun Singh is dead. Natwar Singh, a casualty of the Volcker controversy, is out of the Congress and Makhan Lal Fotedar has no active role. Sheila Dikshit stands banished to Kerala Raj Bhavan after her defeat in Delhi. It is ironical that Birender Singh, who once revolted to demonstrate his loyalty to Sonia, has rebelled against her this time around.
With Vinay Sahasrabuddhe being named as a vice-president in the BJP, speculation is rife about his continuity as advisor to Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari. Sahasrabuddhe’s name had been cleared by Gadkari as advisor to him in the ministry a while back, but his appointment was still pending with the DoPT. With his newly assigned role in the party, it seems unlikely that Gadkari’s close aide and long-time strategist would continue in the ministry with him.
After having been the brand ambassador for the Government of India’s sanitation drive, Bollywood actor Vidya Balan is all set to lend her weight to a drive to bolster child immunisation. Balan and director-actor Farhan Akhtar will release a song for the occasion “Phool Khil Jayenge” on Tuesday. Penned by Javed Akhtar, the song has been sung by Alka Yagnik and Sonu Nigam.
BAR NO BAR
He may be in Tihar, trying to sell his company’s assets to pay investors. But that did not stop Sahara Group owner Subrata Roy from sending out glossy Independence Day greetings cards to people. “We celebrate this unifying spirit of Bharatiyata as Bharatparva,” says the card signed by Roy.