Delhi Confidential: The No. 2

Ravi Shankar Prasad continues to occupy a Type VII bungalow although he is entitled to Type VIII in his capacity as a Cabinet minister.

Published: July 28, 2014 12:08:54 am

There may be speculation about the No 2 in Narendra Modi government, but senior ministers say the debate is futile because the issue has been long settled. It is Home Minister Rajnath Singh. He was the one who had been sworn in as a minister right after the Prime Minister. Again, Singh is the one who sits beside Modi in both Parliament as well as Cabinet meetings. Besides, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, reconstituted recently, comprises the PM and the Home Minister.


Among the UPA ministers who have refused to vacate their official accommodation even after going out of power is Rajiv Shukla who, as Minister of State in the previous regime, had managed to get a Type VIII bungalow against his entitlement of a Type VII bungalow that is usually allotted to MoSes and senior parliamentarians. Those in the NDA regime who have not been able to get an official accommodation yet point out that Shukla’s brother-in-law Ravi Shankar Prasad continues to occupy a Type VII bungalow although he is entitled to Type VIII in his capacity as a Cabinet minister. The difference between the brothers-in-law is that while one is leaving no stone unturned to retain his house, the other is not keen to upgrade his house in keeping with his upgraded stature.


While Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit looks determined not to resign despite clear signals from the NDA regime, the latter does not seem to be in a hurry either. The government has decided to revisit the issue after the current session of Parliament is over. While the government is yet to take a final call in this matter, sources said the issue is not about whether she should be allowed to complete her term, but how to go about her removal if she does not relent.


Joint Secretary in the HRD Ministry Amit Khare’s central deputation may be ending by next month but he is likely to stay on in the Capital. Reason being that the ministry has already pushed through a file seeking a year’s extension for the 1985-batch IAS officer. Khare, who played a key role in exposing the fodder scam in Bihar, is also in contention for the post of the Member Secretary with National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), under Department of Pharmaceuticals.


SPEAKING in the Lok Sabha last week, Telugu Desam Party’s MP from Guntur, Jayadev Galla, had an interesting take about his state’s fortunes following the recent bifurcation. Underlining Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu’s vision that the state “will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that have been left behind”, Galla said if Andhra Pradesh is given the necessary and promised support, they “will rebuild Andhra Pradesh in the same way the Pandavas built Indraprastha after being driven out of Hastinapur” and that “henceforth, Andhra Pradesh will be known as the Miracle State”.


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