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Missing Puja

Adhir Chowdhury is in a spot. Due to the non-bailable arrest warrant issued against the MoS Railways in Bengal,he cannot go to his state


Adhir Chowdhury is in a spot. Due to the non-bailable arrest warrant issued against the MoS Railways in Bengal,he cannot go to his state in the Durga Puja season without bail. His bail application in the district court has not come up yet and with courts closed for Puja holidays,the likelihood of the application being heard in the next few days seems remote. This means Chowdhury will miss out on inaugurating Puja pandals — a popular public relations opportunity for politicians in Bengal. But,more importantly,his activities in the run-up to the civic polls in Berhampore in November could also be affected. For the time being,he is stuck in the national capital.


It is going to be a case of third time lucky for Food Minister K V Thomas. A devout Christian,Thomas had missed two opportunities in the recent past to seek the blessings of the new Pope. Thomas was the UPA government’s first choice to represent India at the installation mass of Pope Francis I on March 19,but the dates of his visit to Vatican clashed with a Cabinet meeting convened to clear the amended Food Security Bill for introduction in Parliament. He got another chance to meet the Pope as he was to travel to Rome in mid-June to attend a conference of United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. But that visit was also cancelled as he was busy reaching out to parties and allies on the Bill. He is off to Rome now to attend the ministerial level conference of Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations and sources said he is set to meet the Pope this time.


Camouflage uniforms are the new Friday dress code for CRPF officers. According to a recent order,all officials have been told to either wear the khaki uniform or camouflage ones on Fridays on a mandatory basis. Previously the khaki dress code applied only on Mondays,but with the new order officials at the headquarters now have an option to wear the olive green uniform worn by commandos and officers in jungle warfare. Incidentally,the Army was the one which began this practice some eight years ago under instructions of the then Army Chief Gen J J Singh who felt this was a way the headquarters could show solidarity with the troops posted on the front.


While President Pranab Mukherjee seems to still be adjusting to his changed role from an active politician to the Head of State,he was the “old Pranabda” to the delegation of MPs and Union minister G K Vasan who have accompanied him for his current tour of Belgium and Turkey. During a visit to the Lion’s Mound at Waterloo — the battlefield where Napoleon had met his nemesis in 1815 — when young Congress MP Deepender Hooda suggested that something similar could be built at Panipat in Haryana,Mukherjee told him how he had visited Waterloo as a minister in the Indira Gandhi government and had suggested the same to her after his return,she had replied,“But,when did any Delhi ruler win any battle there?”