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Turning media shy

Smriti Irani may have been a more media friendly face of the BJP as president of the party’s women’s wing, but she has clearly decided on quite another course of action as the HRD Minister.

By: Express News Service |
Updated: June 19, 2014 12:06:02 am

Smriti Irani may have been a more media friendly face of the BJP as president of the party’s women’s wing, but she has clearly decided on quite another course of action as the HRD Minister. While her office is said to have advised all ministry bureaucrats to avoid any interaction with the media, now even her own office has decided to go mum. While traditional private secretaries to the ministers are rather accessible, Smriti Irani’s PS Vinita Srivastava — who incidentally also served as OSD to UPA steel minister Beni Prasad Verma and in fact initially warmed up to journalists — has now suddenly instructed staffers that all media persons should be directed to the PIB. The Smriti Irani-led HRD Ministry in fact seems unable to make up its mind on the media. So while PIB invited journalists to cover the release of certain educational statistics on Wednesday morning, just minutes before the start of the event, PIB sent out alerts clarifying that the event was no longer open to the media.

TECH THAT

Taking a cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on using social media to reach the common public, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh is the latest to join Twitter and Facebook. Though not considered to be tech-savvy, Singh is learnt to be relying on his private secretary to navigate the social media for which PIB officers attached to his ministry are providing support for the time being. The first tweets of Singh, who created a flutter in Krishi Bhawan on the day of taking charge of the ministry by demanding official work in Hindi, however, has been in English.

A CONG CELEBRATION

So what if the party has lost badly. And so what if Rahul Gandhi is out of the country. Some Nehru-Gandhi family loyalists feel the party cannot be in a state of indefinite mourning. So efforts are being made by some Congressmen to celebrate Rahul Gandhi’s 44th birthday on Thursday. It is just a coincidence that the Congress is down to 44 in Lok Sabha. Jagdish Sharma — who had landed outside the Congress headquarters on Akbar Road on the day of counting, demanding that Priyanka Vadra be brought in to save the party — is planning a celebration outside 10, Janpath. He along with his supporters will cut a 44 kg cake while crackers will be burst and sweets distributed. Cutouts wishing Rahul have already been put up. There are indications that Sharma has got the go-ahead from the family for the celebrations.

LOSING THE RACE

CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has lost the race for the top post of of Interpol and is back in the country. Sinha was among the six persons selected to appear for an interview before the executive committee of the Interpol. Sinha lost to Juergen Stock of Germany who was picked by the the executive committee to be the next Secretary General of the world’s largest international police organisation. Stock has been vice-president of the German Federal Criminal Police since 2004 and will succeed Ronald Noble in 2015 who has been heading Interpol since 2000.

CAPITAL CALL

While appointments of private secretaries to some Union ministers have been put on hold given their past association in the same capacity with ministers in the previous UPA government, some officers, keen to stay put in Delhi, are learnt to have adopted a new tactic. These officers are said to be lobbying for their spouses for appointment with BJP ministers. One former PS to a Cabinet minister in UPA government was seen lobbying hard with an MoS (Independent Charge) in the NDA government for his spouse’s appointment as PS.

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