Ties between the NCP and the Congress may have worsened ever since the Maharashtra Assembly elections, but this has not stopped Congress chief Sonia Gandhi from inviting NCP chief Sharad Pawar to an international conference her party is organising to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru. Pawar has deputed senior leader D P Tripathi to attend the conference on Monday.
An attempt is being made to promote a controversial joint secretary in the Law Ministry to the post of additional secretary just days before he retires. The officer — against whom there are charges of trying to scuttle an official probe against his wife, who later resigned — has been reaching out to several government functionaries to push for his promotion. The final decision is expected to be taken by the Prime Minister after he returns from his foreign trip.
After a rather ad hoc arrangement under its previous minister Nitin Gadkari, the Rural Development Ministry seems to have settled into a more definite rhythm. New minister Birender Singh who, officials say, reads every file meticulously, has devised a working strategy, which includes giving the three Ministers of State under him more prominent roles. Singh has also decided to conduct a meeting with one department every Wednesday, which all concerned officials and ministers are supposed to attend. The veteran leader from Haryana has also instructed officials to route all files through the concerned MoS.
Fit for the job
In the section titled “Current Issues” on the homepage of the Election Commission’s website, a tender notice about the supply and installation of exercise equipment has generated some inadvertent humour. While most other listings in this section deal with the upcoming Assembly elections, the tender, which seeks to procure a treadmill, elliptical trainer, spin bike and rubber-coated hexagon dumbbell, has stood out.
A book deal
Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh’s book on Indian soldiers’ contribution to World War I is full of anecdotes, quotes and rare photographs of soldiers fighting on behalf of Britain. Interestingly, the book has been dedicated to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. On one of the pages, right before the preface, there is a photo of her signing the visitors’ book at a war memorial in Belgium. During the book launch on Saturday, Amarinder was asked why had he chosen to dedicate the book to Sonia instead of a martyred soldier. He replied that this was because “she is a great leader” and someone with “courage and commitment”.