The Congress may have publicly distanced itself from Pune MP Suresh Kalmadi by suspending his primary membership of the party,but the party is now trying to rehabilitate him,barely a few weeks after he walked out of Tihar jail on bail. Congress chief whip Girija Vyas put him on roster duty in Parliament with the responsibility of ensuring the presence of party MPs. But as the news broke out,she was quick to distance herself from the decision and attributed it to clerical error. Kalmadis name had sprung up during the run-up to the UP elections also,after it was found that two of his close aides were running the Youth Congress call centre in Lucknow.
While most of the states directed their ire at the Centre at the NCTC meeting on Monday,the representatives of Karnataka seemed to be fighting among themselves. The chief secretary of Karnataka,like that of any other non-Congress ruled state,objected to the NCTC in its current form. But the representative of the states police force sided with the Central governments viewpoint,thereby,exposing the embarrassing differences within the state bureaucracy.
Trinamool Congress is happy that President Pratibha Patil mentioned the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration as a success story of the UPA in her opening speech. After all,the GTA was the brainchild of Mamata Banerjee. But Trinamool MPs are said to be a tad disappointed that the President did not mention the West Bengal governments recent successes in enforcing peace in the Naxal-affected Junglemahal area.
Former J&K deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma was so sure of getting the Congress nomination for the Legislative Council elections that his supporters had even made preparations for a reception for him in Jammu. However,former minister Jugal Kishore Sharma got the partys nod instead. Early on Monday,J&K Congress chief Saifuddin Soz went to Mangat Rams house in Jammu to console him. Factional politics,it seems,got the better of Mangat Ram since Jugal Kishore is considered close to his staunch opponent,Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
In The Spotlight
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister designate Akhilesh Yadav used the first day of the Budget Session of Parliament to announce his arrival in the big league. Before President Pratibha Patil arrived to deliver her address,Akhilesh,a Lok Sabha MP,moved around the Central Hall exchanging greetings. He walked up to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi,leaders of opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley,and senior BJP leader L K Advani,greeting them with folded hands. Later in the Lok Sabha,he sought out Lalu Prasad Yadav. When he came face to face with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee,Akhilesh touched his feet.