Keeping their options openhttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/keeping-their-options-open/

Keeping their options open

It appeared a somewhat tame ending.

Keeping their options open

The jury is still out as to whether Sharad Pawar drew blood by getting the Congress to set up a co-ordination committee for the UPA. It appeared a somewhat tame ending. The Maratha leader’s real grievance,it is said,is that he is unable to protect many close associates. Incidentally,Praful Patel,the NCP’s troubleshooter in the party’s standoff with the Congress,held three separate press conferences on one day last week to discuss ongoing developments. One media get-together was exclusively for Marathi journalists,the second for TV journalists and the third for the English print media. But Patel’s optimism that the issues could be sorted out was not shared by NCP spokesperson DP Tripathi who entered Patel’s office at the fag end of the third press conference. Tripathi confided to journalists that the problem was that the Congress is “a sinking ship’’ and “we need to keep our options open for 2014’’.

In Dara Singh’s footsteps

For 15 years,the late actor-wrestler Dara Singh was president of the All India Jat Mahasabha. The Mahasabha,founded in 1907 and with Raja Mahendra Pratap,Chhotu Ram and Bhagwan Singh as past presidents,has been at the forefront of the community’s demands for reservation. After Dara Singh’s death,Ajay Singh,Bhagwan Singh’s son,has been appointed acting president. The soft-spoken Singh’s political career never quite took off as he changed political allegiances frequently and has been in the Lok Dal,SP and Congress. Senior Jat politicians such as Ajit Singh,Om Prakash Chautala and Bhupinder Singh Hooda are reportedly none too happy with Ajay Singh’s appointment as they would have liked a man of their choice in the top post.

Wrong target

The Tamil Nadu Youth Congress was unhappy with BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad for endorsing Time magazine’s description of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as an underachiever and also for accusing Home Minister P Chidambaram of mocking the middle class by referring to its use of bottled water and ice cream cones. The Youth Congress took out a demonstration against Prasad in Tamil Nadu,but the marchers mistakenly burnt a picture of cricketer Ravi Shastri. Prasad’s followers on Twitter had a field day making fun of the Youth Congress members.

Memoirs in the offing

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Pranab Mukherjee has a phenomenal memory. He has also had a front row seat in the political theatre of this country for over five decades. Small wonder then that one of his ambitions is to write his memoirs. While he was in the government,Mukherjee was too busy to think of fulfilling his dream. But moving to Rashtrapati Bhavan may give Mukherjee the time and space to write his autobiography. Those close to Mukherjee say he is already nostalgic about leaving his 13,Talkatora Road,bungalow,with its familiar mango tree and lawn. Apart from his books,Mukherjee is also planning to take his family idols to Rashtrapati Bhavan as he is a devout Hindu who performs puja daily.

Missing the action

DMK leader M Karunanidhi is furious with MPs T R Baalu and Trichy Siva for not attending a Joint Parliamentary

Committee meeting on 2G last week. At the meeting,the CPI(M) and AIADMK raised embarrassing questions about Kalaignar TV,including the fact that a dozen fictitious companies provided funds to the DMK-run channel.

Kanimozhi,who was arrested in the 2G scam because of her close association to Kalaignar channel,complained to her father that if the party’s MPs had been present at the meeting,they could have diverted the attack. Instead of the DMK,it was the Congress’s Manish Tewari who tried valiantly to protect the channel.

The two DMK MPs pleaded that they had to attend a lunch hosted by Sonia Gandhi on the presidential poll. But the lunch lasted for less than an hour,while the JPC meeting went on for nearly five hours.