Ever since the public spat with Arvind Kejriwal,former IPS officer Kiran Bedi is keeping an uncharacteristically low profile. So much so that Bedi has refused to be part of a meeting to be held soon where former India Against Corruption volunteers and some members of the erstwhile core committee are set to regroup in the hope that Anna Hazare will carry forward an apolitical movement,distinct from Kejriwals political party. Bedi not participating in the meeting is significant because she has been one of the most vocal advocates of carrying on with a civil society movement against corruption.
A CPM MP from West Bengal has approached Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar with a complaint that the Railway Ministry,held by his partys political rival Trinamool Congress,is not inviting him to its functions in his constituency. Prof S K Saidul Haque,who represents Bardhaman-Durgapur in the Lok Sabha,believes that the Railways is violating protocol and wants the Speaker to take necessary action. The Speaker,however,knows better than to get involved in the vicious rivalry between the CPM and Trinamool.
Soon after both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die,leaders of the political parties assembled again for the customary tea which the presiding officers host separately,one after the other. The first one happened at Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumars office,where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regretted the loss of legislative time due to disruptions and began the conversation with I apologise…. The BJP leaders,whose protests on the coal block allocation issue had caused the disruptions,kept silent,hiding behind the fact that it was ultimately the governments responsibility to run the House. Later,at Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansaris tea party,the Prime Minister apologised again,but this time he made an important change. Instead of using I apologise…,he said We apologise... The BJP leaders remained silent again,as if trying to distance themselves from the culpability.
The communications wing of the Prime Ministers Office did not exactly cover itself in glory during its recent tiff with The Washington Post over an article on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,but within the government,it is still cited as a model. A proposal doing the rounds these days is to get the Home Ministry and Defence Ministry to set up specialised communication departments on the lines of the PMO. The idea is that these two ministries,being crucial from the strategic and security point of view,should be able to communicate in a more effective manner with people. The other model being proposed is that of the external publicity wing of the Ministry of External Affairs.
The political crisis following the CAG report on coal block allocations has led to continuance of Alok Perti in the Coal Ministry. The former coal secretary was asked to stay on after his retirement for three months as advisor and to assist the ministry in sanitisation of the coal sector,which had begun before the CAG report came in. Now that the matter has escalated into a full-blown political crisis,the ministry has moved to extend Perti’s tenure by another three months.