With growing “acceptability index” for the top constitutional post, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s popularity seems to have moved an extra mile. It was a pleasant surprise for Mukherjee, who is much used to be in the line of fire when it comes to bombs coming from the opposition in the Parliament. Monday was entirely different, when the former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha wished him success for his ‘future assignment’. Though Sinha pulled the Congress criticising the finance bill, he avoided direct attack on the future president. Sinha went on to say that if there was someone who was providing leadership in government, it was him. When Sinha came out of the Parliament, and senior journalists asked him about his change of stance, he replied with a broad smile, “Even NDA would have projected him for the top job.” And a journalist added… “to further weaken the government.”
Phool Aur Kante
The recent rift in the Rajasthan BJP is far from over, as 59 legislators have offered their resignation in support of former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. The problem triggered after former Home Minister (state) Gulab Chand Kataria announced his Lok Jagran Yatra as the state goes for elections next year. Raje camp saw this move as Kataria cementing his position for the Chief Minister’s chair and resorted to tantrums, she is best known for. The party appointed senior party leader Arun Jaitley to fix the issue between the two. Jaitley apparently heard the two camps separately and managed to calm irate Raje. Insiders say that Jaitley told Kataria that the problem lied with his name itself. “Jahan Gulab hoga wahan kaante bhi to honge…” (Roses cannot blossom without thorns)
Penalty without gaffe—Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal may symbolise this phrase when the next Cabinet reshuffle takes place. The reshuffle seems imminent in the wake of the latest defence controversy, with a desperate government seems in a hurry to introduce significant changes in its decision-making team. And this at a time when Rahul Gandhi has already warned that heads will roll once he fixes accountability for the UP debacle. Ministers such as Salman Khurshid, Beni Prasad Verma and Sriprakash Jaiswal are among those who would face the music. But Jaiswal has a reasonable excuse. “When I was not consulted in the election preparations, why should the axe come on me?” he told senior officials in his ministry. The UP leader also gains strength from the fact that most of the UPA reshuffles have been executed on the lines of musical chairs and on very few occasions, people have been unceremoniously shown the door.
Hillary Clinton began her three-day visit to India by meeting women rescued from human traffickers. Prima facie there is nothing wrong in starting ones official visit with such a humane approach. But her detractors would say, “Her (Clinton’s) wound is still fresh.” Trinamool Congress workforce that was present there felt it was Clinton’s own issues that led her to begin her official visit from such a platform. Her husband and the then US President Bill Clinton was in news for reasons relating to Monica Lewinsky. The US Secretary of State also promised the victims to discuss the issues with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during her meeting with the latter. She said that human trafficking was high on her agenda and she would flag the issue on high forums. To which Trinamool Congress politicians retorted: “Of course, these issues (human trafficking) need to be flagged on high forums as they impact them the most.”