Two BJP leaders from Bihar who also happen to be former Union civil aviation ministers were deputed by the Bihar unit of the BJP to receive Narendra Modi at the airport in Patna when he reached there to address the Hunkar rally. In their capacity as former civil aviation ministers both Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajiv Pratap Rudy had an entry pass, which gave them access right till the tarmac. But their privilege left some heartburn in some leaders who were equally eager to be the first to receive the party’s prime ministerial candidate in Patna.
Days before the CBI named eminent industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla in an FIR in connection with a coal block allocation to Hindalco, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had written to the Union Home Ministry recommending that Birla be conferred Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the country. The minister has since chosen to not pursue the matter, notwithstanding the fact that Birla has got support from many influential quarters with even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh defending the coal block allocation to his firm. Khurshid’s request has, however, certainly put the Home Ministry in a quandary.
WHOSE HAND WAS IT?
Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed was left rather amused to see two notices sent to him by the Election Commission. Ahmed — the party’s in-charge of Delhi — was asked to reply within 24 hours explaining something that he said he had no inkling about. One notice was regarding a felicitation function held at a mosque involving one local leader. The second was regarding “hand” symbol on two ice-cream trolleys near a Puja pandal at the gate of the Ramlila ground and a Congress flag on a Bolero. What came as a surprise to Ahmed was the fact that he was not even distantly involved or linked in these alleged violations of code of conduct, and yet the EC had sent him the notice making him the first respondent. Ahmed, in his reply, denied the allegations.
Pallam Raju may have sent in his resignation from the Council of Ministers on the issue of Telangana,