In a rather belated press conference on Uttarakhand on Thursday,Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad tied himself in several knots while answering a question about whether he proposed to visit the state. People like us who have very high security are a burden on the administration in such times, he replied,only to be reminded about the visit of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi,who happens to be a SPG protectee. Caught on the wrong foot,Azad came up with a lame argument. I meant that people in administration who have high security are a burden. Those in the party can go.
WHILE other political leaders have been competing with each other to take credit for their smallest contribution in relief and rescue operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand,NCP chief Sharad Pawar has been working silently. He has got one of his partys ministers in Maharashtra to be stationed in the state for the last ten days to monitor the help being sent by the Maharashtra government. Pawar is said to be in daily contact with him. The Agriculture Ministers concern has a personal angle as well. One of his personal aides and his family are also untraceable from Gaurikund since June 15.
IN a significant change in the CRPF,Zulfiquar Hasan,a West Bengal cadre IPS officer posted in Chhattisgarh,has been moved to the force headquarters as IG (Operations). Hasan replaces Pankaj Singh,a Rajasthan cadre officer who had been holding the post all this while. Singh will now head the elite CoBRA battalion.The grapevine has it that internal squabbling led to Singhs ouster from the headquarters.
SENIOR BJP leader L K Advani never misses a chance to remind people of the horrors of the Emergency days. He also happens to be a film buff,having been a film critic at one point of time. On Thursday,he combined the two subjects into a common lament. On the sidelines of a book launch,Advani moaned the fact that while a huge number of films were being made in India,not a single one had depicted the Emergency. He said there ought to be movies about such a landmark event and that he had in fact even urged some film-makers to do so.
MEETING OF MINDS
FOR the last two days,Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy had been camping in Delhi waiting for Congress president Sonia Gandhi to return from Jammu and Kashmir to meet her. Sonia returned Wednesday night,and Reddy had hoped to meet her Thursday. He did not get an appointment though and left for Hyderabad in the evening. The only solace for him was a dinner meeting he had with Digvijaya Singh,the partys new general secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh. He also met Ghulam Nabi Azad,Digvijayas predecessor. Reddy wanted to meet Sonia to discuss Telangana and to gauge the leaderships mind on announcing a special economic package for the region instead of creation of a separate state. Singh is set to visit Andhra Pradesh on July 1.