West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has skirted questions about her Prime Ministerial ambitions so far,at least in public. But it is not that she does not like to be talked about being one. The Trinamool Congress mouthpiece in its latest issue has published a huge report on the retirement speech of Calcutta High Court Chief Justice J N Patel at a function organised by Banerjee. In that speech,Patel,while praising Mukherjee,had said after a Bengali President,it was probably now time to have a Bengali Prime Minister as well. While he did not explicitly mention Banerjee as the potential PM,the party magazine did not fail to draw the obvious conclusion,and headlined its report accordingly. Just a few weeks ago,Banerjee,for the umpteenth time,had sidestepped a question about whether she would like to become the Prime Minister. But party workers are quite enthusiastic that after the next elections,their leader would surely emerge as one of the strongest contenders for the countrys top job.
POLITICIANS are using the auspicious occasions of ongoing festivities to launch their pet projects. On the last day of Navratri on Tuesday,the Samajwadi Party laid the foundation stone of the partys new central office in the Vasant Vihar locality. The honours were done by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in the presence of senior party leaders Ram Gopal Yadav and Shivpal Yadav. Meanwhile,Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has requested Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to inaugurate a new dairy factory at Dudmotisagar near Dharuhera on Vijay Dashmi on Wednesday. Hooda,in fact,has offered that he would come to Pawars residence in Delhi and the two could then drive together to the venue for the inauguration.
Awaiting Top Job
THE contenders for the post of the CBI director are waiting with bated breath for the outcome of a meeting later this month,which is likely to decide who would get the coveted position. The six names in the panel have been doing the rounds in the public domain for quite some time. A meeting held last week tried to prune down the list to three,but is learnt to have been unable to do so because of a lack of consensus. The next meeting for the selection is said to have been scheduled for October 30,when the final recommendation for the next CBI chief is expected to be made.
Missing in action
THEY never lose an opportunity to entertain the media but BJP leaders and spokespersons on Tuesday went missing after revelations about shell companies investments into Purti Power and Sugar Ltd linked to party president Nitin Gadkari. It appeared to be casting a shadow over the possibility of Gadkari getting a second term. Initially,the party,almost instinctively,decided to take the issue head on,fielding its feisty spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman to keep on reminding everyone that Gadkari had offered to be probed. But that was apparently considered to be a wrong move. Party leaders,who had agreed to appear on television debates in the evening,pulled out. Party MP Ram Jethmalani,who has stirred the hornets nest by publicly demanding that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi be named BJPs Prime Ministerial candidate,made matters worse by suggesting that Gadkari should have resigned from his post in the wake of the allegations. None of the otherwise ever-present party leaders on television were found anywhere near the studios to offer their comments.
WHILE no one is quite yet sure when the long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle will take place,the latest speculation about the October 28 being the D-day is being based on calculations around the first available date from now on to carry out such an exercise. October 24,Wednesday,is Vijay Dashmi,the next day a Cabinet meeting has been convened while on October 26,Friday,the Spanish King,who is coming on a state visit on Wednesday,would be given a ceremonial welcome and hold meetings with Indian leadership. Saturday,October 27,happens to be Eid. So the first available date when a reshuffle can happen is Sunday,October 28. So goes the logic,or should one say,wishes of the hopefuls.
HAVING based almost its entire campaign through the media,including Internet,the India Against Corruption group of Arvind Kejriwal is suddenly finding it at the receiving end of an online backlash. A large number of people on the mailing list of the official email ID of IAC email@example.com have been spammed over the last couple of days from a surreptitiously similar email firstname.lastname@example.org with longish raves and rants on corruption issues. The imposter ID is owned by someone by the name of Ajay Dixit. The mails became such a menace,forcing people to send angry responses to the IAC,that the Kejriwal group had to issue a clarification and request the imposter to put a stop to the mails. Dixit,on the other hand,has continued his mails and told everyone on the list that the IAC email ID had actually been hacked by groups based in Pakistan. Seems Kejriwal has another fight on hand.