Back to square one

Back to square one

Oil Minister Veerappa Moily took people by surprise when he arrived in Parliament on Wednesday in a private,high-end car.

Oil Minister Veerappa Moily took people by surprise when he arrived in Parliament on Wednesday in a private,high-end car. To lead by example as part of the fuel conservation drive,Moily had started travelling by public transport every Wednesday since October this year. However,he was seen entering Parliament through Gate no. 4 on Wednesday in a Honda Accord (sedan,not known for its fuel efficiency). Some reporters were even heard asking him where his official car was and why he was in a private vehicle.


At the meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party Wednesday,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is learnt to have presented two slim booklets to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. These booklets are said to convey — complete with graphics and facts — how the UPA government has kept all its promises. Such was the curiosity the PM’s booklets drew that they were quickly out of stock as even ministers made a beeline to get a copy. It is now heard that a fresh print may be ordered to meet this huge demand.


If Congressmen were wondering how vice-president Rahul Gandhi was planning to transform the party in an unimaginable way,the first indication came Tuesday when the party constituted a joint coordination committee for “smooth functioning” of the JMM-led alliance government in Jharkhand. Union minister Jairam Ramesh was appointed chairman of 9-member committee placing under him AICC general secretary B K Hari Prasad and Chief Minister Hemant Soren,among others. Usually,AICC general secretaries are appointed heads of such committees. Not many in the party are impressed by the undermining of the post of AICC general secretary,though. Incidentally,one of the special invitees to the committee is Geeta Koda,wife of former chief minister Madhu Koda who is charged in several graft cases.


AAM Aadmi Party’s self-styled “referendum” on government formation in Delhi,it seems,could be an attempt to paper over differences among its elected MLAs on the matter. In Tuesday’s meeting,many spoke of a “changing trend in public opinion” since December 8 when the results were announced. Some MLAs even spoke of a 70-30 split among their constituents in favour of government formation while the top leadership of the party remained unconvinced by the argument. That is when the decision was taken to print 25 lakh copies of the “letter” from Arvind Kejriwal.


While 11 education Bills have been hanging fire in Parliament for well over two years now,only one was lucky to pass muster in Lok Sabha on Wednesday along with the Lokpal Bill. The passage of the Bill to convert the Bengal Engineering and Science University in Sibpur,West Bengal,into an institute of national importance in fact came as quite a surprise even to the Pallam Raju-led HRD Ministry — this Bill figured rather low on its priority list. Only alerted Tuesday night about the decision to bring it to Lok Sabha on Wednesday,the HRD Ministry in fact gave notice for introduction of the Bill in the lower House Wednesday morning.