Presidential Greetings

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was blushing all through the discussion on the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha as speaker after speaker mentioned his possible ascendancy

Written by Express News Service | Published: May 8, 2012 3:32:50 am

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was blushing all through the discussion on the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha as speaker after speaker mentioned his possible ascendancy to Rashtrapati Bhawan in the upcoming Presidential elections. It started with BJP’s Yashwant Sinha,who began his speech with a smiling apology,requesting Mukherjee not to hold the criticisms of the Finance Bill personally against him once he moved to the ‘big house’. “Are you determined to remove me from the Finance Ministry?” Mukherjee quipped,after Sinha repeatedly referred to his potential candidature for presidency. Taking Sinha’s cue,several other speakers — BJD’s B Mahtab,SP’s Shailendra Kumar and BJP’s Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav — also alluded to the possibility. Mahtab and Yadav,in fact,went on to say they were looking forward to Mukherjee addressing the next joint session of Parliament.

Dosa Diplomacy

When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets External Affairs Minister S M Krishna for a brunch meeting at Hotel Taj Palace on Tuesday,she will be treated to south Indian fare. Krishna,who has developed a strong rapport with Clinton over numerous meetings in the last three years,will be playing host to her and the menu selection will range from rawa upma to kesari bhaat,a variety of dosas and steamed idlis accompanied by masala tea and South Indian filter coffee. Her husband Bill already has a tandoori platter named after him at Bukhara,maybe a Hillary thali could be in the offing.

Missing the bus

The names of two veteran Congress leaders — former railway minister C K Jaffer Sharief and R K Dhawan — had been doing the rounds for Governor’s assignments ahead of the recent appointments to Raj Bhawan in several states. However,when the notification came,neither of them made it to the list. Sharief,it is learnt,had to be left out because of a continuing CBI probe against him in a corruption case. Dhawan,apparently,turned down the offer.

Back in Action

He is not well enough to attend Parliament but the courts are a completely different arena for a lawyer. A sprightly Abhishek Manu Singhvi — who has sought leave from the Rajya Sabha for the entire current session on account of “illness and family commitments” — was spotted in the Supreme Court on Monday,moving at his usual breakneck speed in the corridors,with breathless juniors in tow,to attend to his cases. The court premises,it seems,does wonders to his health.

Darkness at Noon

A prolonged power outage in the afternoon in Parliament saw unusual scenes in the Lok Sabha on Monday. With the jammers becoming ineffective,one BJP MP’s mobile phone started ringing,attracting the attention of the House. Shailendra Kumar,who was speaking on the Finance Bill at that time,then advised everyone to switch off their phones. He himself took out his phone and switched it off. Some MPs sitting on the back benches,who felt most affected by the darkness,complained about the power cut,but the chairperson gently reminded them that all they needed to do was to keep their ears open while giving some rest to their eyes.

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