This is a true story of a present MP of Rajya Sabha and ex-Minister of Dr Manmohan Singh’s Council of Ministers as to how his ‘affection’ turned into ‘liability’ for him. This member belongs to Punjab and when he was the minister, he requested the PM Dr Manmohan Singh to release a commemorative stamp in honour of a ‘great freedom fighter’, who was also his father. Dr Singh accepted the request and obliged him. A function was held with much fanfare and pomp and splendour. But this fanfare did not last long. The rivals of this MP sent the evidence to the PM Office in which they proved that the father of this MP was not a freedom fighter but an ordinary person. This news was leaked to a prominent news channel. When the channel contacted the minister, the minister refused to talk to it and threatened it with dire consequences if the news was telecast. But when the channel insisted to telecast the news, this MP rushed to the channel’s office and requested not to telecast the story. But when this matter was brought to the notice of PMO, he got so infuriated that he blacklisted the MP for inducting him as minister. No need to divulge the name, you may well have guessed it!
The austerity drive appears to have no impact on the Congress leaders and workers. It is not very long that Sonia Gandhi directed central ministers and party workers to observe austerity. Mrs Gandhi herself chose to travel by economy class. But as the time has gone by, the ministers of central government and party workers have forgotten the austerity drive. The party members and central ministers are travelling in business class and some ministers recently spent lavishly on their relatives’ marriages. Receptions of two ministers’ kins were so ostentatious and grandiose that even five-star arrangements appeared to be very trivial in comparison. But there is no action from the high command! Has the austerity bubble burst?
The dilemma persists on Central Budget for the year of 2010-11–as to when it will be presented. Normally, the Union Budget is presented by the Finance Minister on February 28, as financial year begins from April 1. And the Parliament has to complete its entire financial business before March end. But this year, February 28 falls on Sunday. February 27 is Saturday and February 26 is also a government holiday due to Prophet Mohammad’s birthday. So, the government is in a dilemma as to what to do. The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs will take the final decision but it is believed that the government is planning to present the budget on Saturday, i.e. February 27. Another collision with date and day!