Evasive Action

Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh is known for his media skills,deftly handling questions as well as reporters

Written by Express News Service | Published: March 6, 2013 12:26:04 am

Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh is known for his media skills,deftly handling questions as well as reporters. His pet line,when confronted by the media for a meeting,is: “Walk into my office anytime. I am always available”. While the General has been successfully using this line to dodge many journalists over the past few months,he was in for a surprise when a reporter turned up at his office on Monday,demanding a meeting as was promised a few days ago. This stumped the Army Chief’s personal staff,who had no meeting recorded in his appointment book. It took over an hour of persuasion before the journalist finally left,leaving some to wonder whether the Army Chief needs to adopt a new line to avoid embarrassing situations.

Fish First

BANGLADESH Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina hosted a lunch at her residence in honour of India’s visiting first lady Shuvra Mukherjee and the four MPs accompanying President Pranab Mukherjee and treated them with the choicest Bengali fare. The lunch was the result of CPI(M) member Sitaram Yechury’s remark on Sunday,recalling the Hilsa fish he had with her a few years ago. Hasina promptly extended the invitation,adding that she would also invite the first lady and other VIPs. Bangladesh foreign minister Dipu Moni,who was within earshot,claimed that the best Hilsa came from her constituency and she would ensure a basket of fresh fish was delivered to the Prime Minister’s residence the next morning. President Mukherjee had to miss the lunch due to protocol reasons.

Forgotten Mandate

IN an outcome typical of many government committees,the Narendra Jadhav task force set up by the Planning Commission to review guidelines for the scheduled caste and tribal sub-plans seems to have forgotten a part of its mandate. In 2010,it came out with the first report that outlined the obligations of the central ministries and how they should go about it. The second report that was to have dealt with states and union territories is yet to see the light of day. The Social Justice and Empowerment ministry recently wrote to the Planning Commission inquiring about its status.

Fighting Back

SPORTS Minister Jitender Singh is these days trying to garner support against the International Olympic Committee’s recent decision to drop wrestling as an Olympic sport. The decision has hurt India’s potential medal hopes and Jitender Singh does not want to give up without a fight. He has written to sports ministers of 40 countries seeking their support in building pressure to get the IOC’s decision overturned. Ministers of another 30 countries are on his list. The IOC,incidentally,operates independent of governments,and instead works with national Olympic committees in every country.

India and Wharton

WHILE the Adani Group pulled out as a sponsor of the Wharton India Economic Forum after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was dropped as a keynote speaker,one Indian government sponsor is firmly backing the March 23 event. ‘Incredible India’,the flagship campaign of the Tourism ministry,is one of the sponsors of the event — a bronze sponsor as against Adani Group being a platinum sponsor — and has no plans of pulling out.

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