Friendly climes

Being a government official, Khobragade was not at liberty to speak about the recent controversy surrounding her.

Published: January 22, 2014 12:18:09 am

Projecting her as the poster girl for Dalit empowerment, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes along with the All India Confederation of SC/ST organisations awarded the Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ratna Award to IFS officer Devyani Khobragade Tuesday. On the occasion, the commission’s vice chairman Rajkumar Verka cautioned that if the US did not drop the case against her, then all Dalits would take to the streets in protest. Being a government official, Khobragade was not at liberty to speak about the recent controversy surrounding her, but she thanked the government for its support to her and the commission for the award.

While the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Media, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, appeared to have lost steam with decreasing frequency of its formal meetings and press conferences, many of its members Tuesday found place in the AICC lists of senior spokespersons and panelists, including, apart from Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Salman Khurshid and Manish Tewari. Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath and V Narayansamy, who are members of the GoM, did not figure in the lists though. Incidentally, AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik who was also appointed senior spokesman Tuesday had, in the past, chosen not to address press briefings as spokesman on the plea that he was an AICC general secretary then.

Ahead of elections, Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch has doled out a few goodies for her constituency Jodhpur. The minister has asked for the creation of a separate Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) administrative circle in Jodhpur that will be brought about by bifurcating the existing ASI Jaipur circle. A regional Science Centre — supported by her ministry — had been set up in Jodhpur last year. While Katoch is married into the royal family of Himachal Pradesh, she hails from the Jodhpur royal family and contested from there in the last Lok Sabha elections.

While he may have gone to town attacking the ruling Congress for trying to frame him in a false case of financial irregularities in firms associated with him in the past, former BJP president Nitin Gadkari seems to have got a favourable look from the Centre, after all. The central government’s committee on accommodation in the Lutyens Bungalow Zone is learnt to have given extension for another year to Gadkari to retain the house he had been allotted earlier.

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