JUMPING THE GUN
WITH Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar targeting his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi by favouring secular image of the NDAs prime ministerial candidate,the Congress on Wednesday jumped in to fish in the troubled waters. Or so it seemed when AICC in-charge of Bihar Gulchain Singh Charak said his party would welcome the move if Kumar left the NDA. He also did not rule out the possibility of the JD(U) joining the UPA if Kumar agreed to the UPAs policies. The Congress leadership was,however,quick to clarify that Charak had jumped the gun as the party did not wish to meddle in the NDAs internal affair. Already under scanner for his role in ticket distribution in the recent Assembly election in Punjab,Charak certainly did not help his cause with his latest remarks ahead of a likely organisational reshuffle in the party.
PRANAB Mukherjees inalienable aide Omita Paul has ensured that she doesnt have to serve another boss for even a day. The tricky bit was always going to be the election period,the time between Mukherjees resignation and his actual election. So,even as her boss was trying hard to secure his partys nomination,a file was processed with quick speed to make her appointment co-terminus with the Finance Minister. It mentioned that the order should come into effect after June 25. The file moved rapidly enough for the orders to be issued on June 15,the day Mukherjee was announced as UPAs presidential nominee. In other words,Paul will not stay a day longer than Mukherjee in the Finance Ministry. Ahead of the 2009 elections,she had managed to get herself appointed as Information Commissioner and promptly returned to Mukherjees team after UPA formed the government again.
THROUGH all the heated exchanges between Team Anna,Pranab Mukherjee and BJP about the corruption allegations against Mukherjee,one person has maintained an uncharacteristic,studied silence. Yoga guru Ramdev,who just concluded a feverish round of meeting political leaders to garner support for his black money cause,has refrained from making any intervention. So much so that his aides in Hardwar where he is currently stationed are categorical that not even a no comments should be attributed to the yoga guru as no comment is also a comment.
WHILE Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma intends to write to the Finance Minister and the RBI Governor to revisit the credit policy,his Cabinet colleague M Veerappa Moily has also gone public asking for a reduction in interest rates. The Corporate Affairs Minister,who has already gone public asking for a review of retrospective tax amendments,argues that the interest rate cannot be used as an instrument to curb inflation and it rather curbs investment. Considering that Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has also,of late,been giving a flurry of statements about the state of economy,UPA strategists must be scratching their head to differentiate between contenders and pretenders when it comes to finding a replacement for FM Pranab Mukherjee.
THERE are some bureaucrats who never retire. An example is that of J K Sinha,a former RAW official who has been given a second five-year term as member of National Disaster Management Authority,leaving the rest of the bureaucracy stunned. Some time back,former DG CISF K M Singh had been recalled and reappointed as NDMA member after having finished a term in the same post. And to cap it all,former Home Secretary V K Duggal has also also been nominated as member,NDMA. Duggal just finished his term as member of the Naresh Chandra Task Force to review the national security apparatus. He retired as Home Secretary in 2007,then went on to be part of the Centre-State Commission and then member of the Telangana Committee. Incidentally,appointment and tenure rules for NDMA have been framed but not notified till now.