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Inside Track

The PMO has consequently initiated the process for selecting a Lokpal.

Rahul pressing,ad for a Lokpal

RAHUL Gandhi has let it be known to the Prime Minister’s Office that he wants the new Lokpal to be in place before the UPA government demits office later in the year. The PMO has consequently initiated the process for selecting a Lokpal. By the end of January,the selection committee — consisting of Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj,Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — is to meet. By mid-February,advertisements will be placed calling for names for the post.

Jaitley’s own weather man

ARUN Jaitley hosted a lunch for the media in the new year. Although the weather has generally been unpredictable in Delhi,it was bright and sunny on the day of Jaitley’s party. He explained that he had specially picked the day because he knew the sun would be out. On his morning walks in Lodhi Gardens,one of his companions is a retired officer of the India Meteorological Department,who predicts the weather for a week in advance and passes on the data to fellow morning walkers.

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AAP minister caught in a cleft stick

FIVE days after his stunning victory from Greater Kailash Assembly constituency,where he defeated BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra’s son Ajay,Delhi’s new Transport Minister,Saurabh Bhardwaj,told a journalist that he probably would not be in politics for long. He explained matter-of-factly that he had to look for another job to support his family,particularly as his wife is expecting. A software engineer,he had responded to a message asking him to volunteer for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on an impulse. One thing led to another and he ended up being selected as the party candidate from Greater Kailash. Before starting the campaign,Bhardwaj resigned from his job with a multinational company,where he was getting a salary of Rs 15 lakh annually. He did not think that AAP would actually form a government.

BJP’s Andhra dilemma

CHANDRABABU Naidu is keen to join the NDA and take over as convenor of the alliance,a post vacant ever since Sharad Yadav and his party the JD(U) left the NDA. In the BJP,M Venkaiah Naidu is pushing his fellow Kamma’s case,but the party is still to make up its mind. The BJP central leadership is aware that the electoral prospects of Jagan Mohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh are far brighter than those of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). However,the BJP also realises that Jagan Mohan Reddy,a Christian,might end up joining forces with his old party after the elections,despite his current criticism of Rahul Gandhi. On the other hand,the TDP is intrinsically anti-Congress. The problem for the BJP is that a tie-up with the TDP could harm its prospects in Telangana,especially when it has all along rooted for its creation. The decision is to be taken by the BJP leadership,with Narendra Modi remaining non-committal in the matter.

The Emperor and the aam aadmi

THE buzz about Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has spread even to Japan. Preparing for the recent six-day visit of Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to India,the Japanese advance party expressed a desire for their Emperor to mix with some members of the “aam aadmi”. The Minister of External Affairs (MEA) took this to mean ordinary people and not members of the political party bearing that name. The advance team from Japan noticed several young men and women waiting outside Parliament House entrance,and suggested that Japanese royalty could interact with these representatives of the masses. MEA officials had to explain to the Japanese team that those standing outside Parliament were not “aam aadmi” but the media waiting for sound bytes from the MPs. Meeting the “aam aadmi” on the streets was ruled out because of the security risk. It was finally decided that the interaction between the royal couple and common folk would take place in Lodhi Gardens in a controlled environment. Some persons were carefully chosen to interact with the Japanese Emperor and his wife while cameras clicked.

First published on: 05-01-2014 at 04:12:16 am
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