Cosmetic exercise

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has invited senior Congress leaders for a pre-budget consultation but not many in the party are enthusiastic about it

Written by Express News Service | Published: February 23, 2012 4:40:12 am

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has invited senior Congress leaders for a pre-budget consultation on Thursday but not many in the party are enthusiastic about it. Some of them are likely to skip the meeting as well. The reason: they say,since the budget is already ready,this consultation process — an annual affair — is little more than a cosmetic exercise.

General Confusion

Some people seem destined to wait forever to realise their full potential. Like,Congress general secretary Vilas Muttemwar. Last year,just when it seemed that this seven-time Lok Sabha MP from Nagpur would be elevated to Cabinet rank from MoS (Independent) charge,what he had to settle for was only a consolation prize — job of a general secretary at the AICC. As the party had ended up acquiring more general secretaries than it had assignments to dispense,Muttemwar was given the nondescript charge of monitoring “flagship programmes”. Six months since then,Muttemwar,by his own confession,is still trying to figure out what it means. So are we.

His Loyal Highness

He may be angling for the top job in Uttar Pradesh but Law Minister Salman Khurshid’s humility when he is around Rahul Gandhi is nothing if not touching. When Rahul spent 24 hours at the Gorakhpur Circuit House recently,Khurshid is learnt to have spent long hours waiting in the lounge,in the company of security officers and drivers. Officers on election duty were “embarrassed” by the sight of a lone Khurshid tapping away at his mobile phone without looking up,but “did not disturb him for fear of embarrassing him”.

Few Takers

It seems there are no takers for the post of First Secretary in the Indian Embassy in Yangon,Myanmar. The government had sought applications from eligible candidates in November last year but failed to get an enthusiastic response. Now it has written to Secretaries in all ministries and the Chief Secretaries of all states to ‘forward’ the names and applications of eligible candidates working under them who would be willing to take up the assignment. Some time back,the government had to resort to a similar method to fill a Joint Secretary level position in the North-East Council in Shillong.

Exercise in futility

Despite several allegations of mining scam against his government,Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat had managed to survive in office mainly because the Congress high command did not want to change the state leadership just ahead of the elections. Now,he is trying desperately to woo the high command to get another term in office in case he manages to get the numbers in the election. His close aides recently hired a Mumbai-based PR firm to fly journalists in New Delhi to Goa to showcase the development work undertaken by the state government. No one was in doubt that a good press in Delhi would have almost no bearing on the electorate in Goa. The exercise was aimed only at making an impression on the top party leadership. Last heard,the party high command is not very impressed.

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