Smooth Operator

Smooth Operator

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal may be a Cabinet Minister and a veteran leader,well into his fourth term in the Lok Sabha

PARLIAMENTARY Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal may be a Cabinet Minister and a veteran leader,well into his fourth term in the Lok Sabha,but his deputy,Rajiv Shukla,seems to be a more skilled operator. While Bansal was frequently coming out of the counting hall to update Pranab Mukherjee about the latest position in the presidential election,Shukla was also busy. The only difference was that Shukla knew who mattered more. He was making frequent phone calls to 10,Janpath.

All the President’s Men

PRANAB Mukherjee’s election as the President has set off a race among officials and other aspirants for the various posts in Rashtrapati Bhawan. For instance,Devender Malik,the additional DG-rank IIS officer who was looking after media in the Finance Ministry,is likely to be appointed press secretary to the President. The incumbent,Archana Dutta,was interested in retaining her post but it appears that she was unsuccessful. Barun Mitra,a joint secretary-level officer in the President’s secretariat is said to have also tried to retain his post but has been repatriated to his parent cadre (Manipur-Tripura). Mitra,incidentally,is among those with the longest deputation tenure in Rashtrapati Bhawan,serving since 1998.

Still in favour

ICSSR chairman Prof S K Thorat may have drawn considerable criticism from the academic community for his recent report on NCERT textbooks that recommended deletion of several cartoons,but that has not undermined his reputation with the government establishment. The HRD Ministry is learnt to have appointed Thorat as the chairperson of the standing committee of the National Monitoring Committee for Education of SCs,STs and People with Disabilities.

High on power

HE might have had a shaky start with Union Minister Harish Rawat and others refusing to accept his leadership,but Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna seems to believe all that is now behind him. In New Delhi on Sunday,he spoke tough,saying he would not spare anyone going against the party line. Terming “indiscipline” as the biggest problem in the party,he said the only solution is to ensure “heads roll down”. The former judge-turned-politician may be delivering too harsh a judgement too soon,given that he still remains a “New Delhi nominee” with no grassroots support and his powerful detractors are only biding their time.

Kejriwal’s new avatar

BREAKING his last link with the days when he was a regular RTI activist,Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on Monday about his new handle @ArvindKejriwal7 instead of @AKParivartan. Parivartan is the name of the NGO Kejriwal had set up before the Magsaysay Award and Public Cause Research Foundation — another NGO that now functions as the IAC secretariat — happened. The earlier handle,Kejriwal wrote,“was creating confusion”.