A Cabinet reshuffle is on the cards. Naturally most of Narendra Modi’s ministers are nervous. The PM, at a recent Cabinet meeting, rebuked a minister for not fixing a key problem concerning his ministry. Modi has made it clear that when he does make changes, no one will be taken into confidence in advance
With 41 and more, summit snags
The MEA had a tough time monitoring the movements and ensuring the security of 41 heads of state and officials from 54 countries at the third India-Africa Forum Summit in Delhi. Inevitably, there were several glitches. At one point, the pilot of Swaziland King Mswati III’s motorcade mistakenly joined another country’s motorcade. The king’s party ended up at Khan Market, with the MEA trying desperately to trace the missing group.
The banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan was delayed by over two hours because speeches at the summit at the Indira Gandhi stadium extended beyond schedule. There was also much confusion over the logistics. The President’s Bodyguard, who were to perform a ceremonial welcome, left the venue after the horses became restive due to a very long wait. Some of the invitees also went home before dinner.
In another mix-up, at the Indira Gandhi stadium, the police closed gates after the departure of the VIPs not realising that MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup and journalists were left stranded in the briefing room at the stadium. It took a while before they were rescued.
Star-crossed to star power
Rahul Gandhi is keen on inducting film actresses from the south into the party since they are crowd-pullers and also provide the glamour quotient. Jayalalithaa is the best example of how well a film star can do in politics. In March, Tamil actor Kushboo was appointed national spokesperson of the Congress. Fellow actress from the same state, Nagma, was appointed national general secretary of the All India Mahila Congress last month.
Now Rahul wants Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah to make Kannada actress Ramya as a minister in his cabinet. Siddharamiah is reluctant, knowing party elders would get upset especially when Ramya is not even an MLA. But Rahul does not feel this is a handicap as she can be nominated to the Legislative Council.
Anxious wait for Cabinet reshuffle
A Cabinet reshuffle is on the cards. Naturally most of Narendra Modi’s ministers are nervous. The Prime Minister, at a recent Cabinet meeting, rebuked a minister for not fixing a key problem concerning his ministry. Another minister was reprimanded for not making timely imports of an essential commodity despite warnings that there was likely to be a shortfall. A third minister was sent a note by the principal secretary to the PM. Modi has made it clear that when he does make changes in his Cabinet, no one will be taken into confidence in advance.
Cong’s empty coffers
During his recent visit to the family of the Dadri lynching victim, Rahul Gandhi did not offer any cash compensation to the bereaved. In contrast, the Samajwadi Party announced a grant of 45 lakh to the family and the Bahujan Samaj Party promised to pay Rs 11 lakh. Rahul could not mention monetary compensation since, according to the buzz among party members, the party coffers are empty. In the last six months, Rahul has visited eight sites, including Bengaluru, where tragedies have occurred, but he has refrained from announcing monetary assistance.
Seat hopes and switching of sides
Ram Jethmalani, who was expelled from the BJP, has come out openly in support of Nitish Kumar in the Bihar election campaign. Jethmalani addressed two press conferences in Patna where he made some hard-hitting statements against Modi. He charged that Modi had cheated the people with his tall claims about apprehending those who had stashed black money abroad.
During his long career, Jethmalani has frequently switched sides. His support to Nitish Kumar comes with a price. The 92-year-old jurist who was given no position by the Modi government is now hopeful of getting a Rajya Sabha seat from the JD(U)’s quota.
Another former BJP supporter who has deserted Modi is Arun Shourie. The journalist-cum-politician this week attacked the Prime Minister directly at the release of TN Ninan’s book, The Turn of the Tortoise, saying the NDA government was nothing more than “the Congress plus a cow”.