The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Arjun Singh seems to have launched an operation against the dissidents. Even before the ink was dry on the Raj Bhawan communique accepting the resignation of the Health Minister Shrinivas Tiwari, the CM stripped Deputy CM S B Solanki of the charge of the minor irrigation ministry. The move has been described as a frontal attack on the V C Shukla faction in the state Congress (I). Both Solanki, who was considered as a contender for the CM’s post, and Tiwari are seen as belonging to the Shukla faction. Tiwari’s portfolios have been allocated to ministers seen as close to Singh.
Dissidence in Bihar
The dissident Cong (I) legislators have earnestly begun to marshal support to oust the CM Jagannath Mishra. They are hosting dinners every now and then to satisfy themselves over legislators joining their camp. The dinner on December 29, where Kedar Pande, Union Minister of Railways, was the chief guest, was attended by over 70 legislators of the 186 Cong (I) members of the Bihar assembly. Prominent amongst those present include K K Tewary, MP, former Chief Minister G Prasad Rai and Vidya Kavi, a former minister and a bitter opponent of Mishra.
The Libyan Charge D’Affairs in New Delhi, Abdul Salam Ali Alia, defected to an undisclosed Arab nation after tendering his resignation. Reports that he sought asylum in the Iraqi embassy remain unconfirmed though the Iraqi ambassador openly talked of welcoming the Libyan diplomat.
Three in auto
The Delhi administration is giving serious thoughts to allowing three passengers in auto rickshaws. The scheme is likely to be announced as a “New Year Gift” to the Delhi Directorate of Transport to explore this possibility. The scheme will benefit middle class travellers because TSR drivers would be persuaded to carry the extra passenger without charging more.