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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Delhi Confidential: On their toes

Suddenly housekeeping staff started sweeping the floors and officers started arranging their desks neatly.

By: Express News Service | Updated: June 23, 2014 12:42:56 am

On Friday, when the Railways raised fares, there was a mad scramble inside Railway Bhawan in the afternoon as news spread that minister Sadananda Gowda will be visiting every floor on an inspection of all directorates. Suddenly housekeeping staff started sweeping the floors and officers started arranging their desks neatly. No one took the news lightly because Gowda in an earlier communication to staff had promised to carry out surprise inspections over cleanliness and punctuality. But it turned out to be a damp squib as Gowda had to abandon his inspection plans because of the drama unfolding over the fare hike.

Thanks to Narendra Modi government’s emphasis on the use of social media, Press Information Bureau (PIB) officials may soon get laptops and other facilities to enable them to communicate faster. Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar is learnt to have taken up their cause with the Ministry of Finance. The PIB is likely to gain more prominence in the NDA regime given Team Modi’s stress on structured communications.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s silence on their fate is giving jitters to many chief ministers. Amid growing speculation about their possible removal, Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan and his Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda met Sonia on Saturday but she was said to have given no indications whatsoever to them about her plans. This has not helped the chief ministers who have been spending more time in Delhi than in their respective states. A section of the party is also questioning the move to punish CMs for the party’s election drubbing as accountability has to start from the party’s president and vice-president. The latter, incidentally, has gone abroad this year as well at the time of his birthday.

She may not have come up with any innovative or grand ideas but Maneka Gandhi has certainly given her own touch to the Women and Child Development Ministry. Visitors who earlier had to loiter in the corridors for want of a proper waiting room now have a designated waiting area where they are served tea or coffee. New crockery has replaced the dilapidated lot from Krishna Tirath’s days at the ministry.

While many former MPs and ministers are yet to vacate their bungalows, former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma who does not hold any ministerial rank, managed to get a Type VIII bungalow on Aurangzeb Road, thanks to his daughter Agatha Sangma. Agatha, who was a junior minister in the previous UPA government, had been allotted 24, Aurangzeb Road. On Sangma’s request, the house was transferred to his name and he did not have to wait in queue to get a suitable accommodation. Barring former Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, his junior minister R P N Singh and two members of the Planning Commission, none of the former ministers or MPs have vacated their accommodations even as the June 25 deadline nears. It is learnt that former defence minister A K Antony has also asked for a three-month extension.

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