Persona non gratahttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/persona-non-grata/

Persona non grata

Just when Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared to be coming to terms with life beyond the controversial CD row

JUST when Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared to be coming to terms with life beyond the controversial CD row — having attended the UPA anniversary dinner at the Prime Minister’s residence and even showing up on a TV debate on Wednesday — the Congress decided to divest him of all party responsibility. The party has dropped him from his position as Chairman of the Legal & Human Rights Department of the AICC and issued a revised list of panelists authorised to speak to the media on the party’s behalf with the single omission of his name.

EROTIC BLOOPER

HARDLY in news for any right reasons,the National Commission of Women has landed itself in a rather embarrassing situation. On Thursday,the Commission issued a press release that said that its chairperson Mamta Sharma had met UP Governor B L Joshi to discuss “female eroticism” and the security of women. Ten minutes later came a correction that said that female foeticide had wrongly been spelt as eroticism.

GENERAL FAMILY

CONTRARY to perception,the handing over of charge to an incoming Army Chief is a simple affair. The two officers meet,exchange batons,shake hands and the incoming Chief sits on the official chair. As per convention,they are also accompanied by their spouses. In Gen V K Singh’s case,however,a delegation of family members were present,even outnumbering the group of officers present. Besides his wife,two daughters,son-in-law (a serving Lt Col) and a grandchild,the officer’s brother-in-law was also present. Ari Daman Singh,his brother-in-law who organised a rally in support of Gen Singh last month that was criticised by some for having a ‘casteist’ flavour,also posed for a group photograph in the outgoing Chief’s office.

AUSTERITY KICKS IN

WITH austerity measures kicking in,Defence Minister A K Antony is predictably one of the first to cut down on costs. The minister is travelling by a commercial flight for the Shangri La dialogue in Singapore,foregoing the Embrear executive jet that is earmarked for him. The size of the delegation has also been cut down to single figure. The minister,interestingly,will be speaking on the protection of maritime freedom at the summit,a topic that is controversial,given the recent developments in the South China sea.

CULINARY DIPLOMACY

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was treated with a special vegetarian South Indian thali early this month,but External Affairs Minister S M Krishna treated the visiting Iran Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi with non-vegetarian fare — much to the delight of the Iranian delegation. It had Lehsunia tandoori jhinga,boti kababs,yakhni biryani,murgh makhni,chingaari aloo,and chiku kulfi as desert. May be that made Salehi utter the word “reliable” five times to describe its relationship with India during a press conference. Consider his quotes: “Iran is a reliable partner of India”,“it (Iran) is a reliable source of energy”,“India should look for resources that are reliable”,“Iran is a reliable source” and “Iran will remain a reliable partner for India” — all in the same sentence.