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Mamata’s Somersault

Updated: March 17, 2012 3:43 pm

Politicians will always remain politicians. They always justify the move that is taken to move onto somebody else’s turf but would not let others do the same to them. Former Railways Minister and now West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had to go through a litmus test yet again. As Union Minister for Railways Mamata pushed for amendment in Railway Protection Force (RPF) Act to provide the force with powers to arrest and investigate on its own. One of the major recommendations was to give RPF powers to arrest and investigate against the accused in railway crimes. As on date, RPF can only detain an accused and has to hand over the case to the police station concerned within the state. The state police then follow the case and take action required. Many states including Gujarat opposed the move saying that it was aimed at encroaching states’ lawful rights. To which Mamata Di would respond that the move was to make train journey safer and hence states should also come on board and support the Bill. But Mamata Di as Chief Minister has now started thinking differently. Now she feels the bill would curtail her powers as the head of the state. Suddenly, from making railways safer, it has now become a turf battle for the Trinamool Congress leader. The Bill, with his party man at the helm of affairs in Railways, is very conveniently shelved.

Funds Crunch!

Tech guru and advisor to the Prime Minister, Sam Pitroda found himself in want of funds to travel to India. Pitroda along with his prestigious panel was to release a report on ‘modernisation of Indian Railways’ but apparently was not provided with the required funds for his travel. Planning Commission, which releases funds for the tech guru for his travel as he advises Prime Minister on various issues, has already indicated that it cannot allow money being wasted on frequent travels. Indian Railways, which is already in a tight financial crunch, also could not provide funds for his travel. Now Mr Pitroda who wanted to take the credit for the report (which people say is not more than a copy, cut and paste job), roped in technology to make his presence felt. Finally he delivered his speech through video conference profusely thanking the Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi. Mind you, the thanks were for allowing the panel to be associated with Indian Railways as advisors.

Sahay’s Sahara

Not so successful stint in Food Processing Ministry, Subodh Kant Sahay is working very hard to prove his mettle as Tourism Minister. His problems have aggravated as he is not getting the desired support from the system. During a ministry’s important media interaction function, the secretary did not have the time to talk to the press and was more interested in meeting with old associates. To a media query, the Secretary RH Khwaja did not mince words in telling a media person: “Ask the Minister whatever you want to ask. I don’t have time and energy.”

With foreign tourists’ number likely to double over the next five years, Sahay wants to bring the sheen back to his not-so-successful career as Food Processing Minister. But he is apparently not able to win over the confidence of bureaucracy and so is on the lookout for private agencies to bail him out. In the process, Sahay approached Piyush Pandey, the Executive Chairman and National Creative Director, Ogilvy and Mather India, to help him popularise ‘Incredible India’ campaign. The ad guru, who designed the campaign when it rolled out, was ready to help the Minister albeit at a higher cost. Ogilvy partnered Tourism Ministry when it launched the ambitious campaign but had to leave as it did not get desired support from the able machinery. When Sahay felt that the officials in the ministry were not amenable to the idea of connecting with people, he thought of involving people who understood the pulse of the common man.

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