Between the lines
A routine statement by the Defence Ministry on a three-fold hike in financial powers of the three service chiefs had an interesting line at the end. It said that after a meeting with the three service chiefs on Monday morning,Defence Minister A K Antony had a separate one-on-one meeting with Army Chief General V K Singh for 15 minutes. The statement triggered intense speculation,considering that the outgoing General has been giving a series of controversial interviews in the past three days. As it turns out,this was the farewell meeting of the duo. While Singh will be in office till Thursday afternoon,both he and Antony are travelling over the next two days and will not be able to meet. The traditional tea-and-biscuits farewell that takes place on the last day of a service chiefs tenure may also not take place this time as the Army Chiefs office has not yet responded to a letter on this sent by the ministry. As per custom,both the incoming and outgoing chiefs meet top officials at South Block on the last day. The incoming chief is formally introduced to everyone in the establishment by the one demitting office.
The cost of petrol
The argument over a partial rollback of petrol price hike has apparently been settled. The government is learnt to have convinced the Congress leadership that doing so would in no way benefit the party since the damage had already been done. A partial rollback was unlikely to put an end to the criticism of the party or the government,it has been argued. Kya zaroorat hai pyaaz khane ki,jab joote kha chuke hain (What is the need for trying to minimise the attack when we have already taken all the criticism), commented a senior minister. As of now,the party does not have a better answer.
The Belize teaser
Many senior police officers in different central organisations got a small lesson in geography recently. The Home Ministry sometime back had received a proposal from the Government of Belize for expert help in revamping its prosecution system. The ministry sent the proposal to all the police forces in the country asking for a suitable volunteer willing to serve in the lesser known country for two years. Many of them had to resort to internet search to find out where Belize was located. It is not clear how many of them have volunteered their names to serve in this central American country.
Gifts but few gains
The Home Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan last week did not exactly go according to script. The keenly anticipated agreement to simplify visa procedure did not materialise,and there were moments of impatience shown on both sides on issues related to security. However,when it comes to being gracious hosts,no one can beat the Pakistanis. The 12-member Indian delegation was showered with gifts and memorabilia. Home Secretary R K Singh,who led the team,was gifted a carpet and a large decorative piece. The Indian delegation also took time out to visit the Nankana Sahib gurdwara,about an hours drive from Lahore.
Foe turned friend
There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics the latest neta to reiterate this age-old maxim is former Rajya Sabha MP M V Mysura Reddy. It is no secret that Reddy was among the brains behind a voluminous document brought out a couple of years ago by TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu chronicling the alleged corruption by late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. The 333-page book titled Raja of Corruption was brought out in the run-up to the Assembly elections of 2009. While YSRs son Jagan Mohan Reddy is now under arrest over some of the charges listed in that book,Mysura Reddy has himself joined hands with the rising Andhra star. Mysura Reddy apparently shifted loyalties to Jagan Mohan as he was upset with Naidu for refusing him a renomination to the Rajya Sabha.