National security or civility?
THERE is a vacancy coming up at the top in the Research and Analysis Wing( R& AW), and as usual, there’s intense lobbying going on. Incredibly, pamphlets whose origins are shrouded in mystery are regularly dropped in the mail boxes of the high and mighty in South Block, plugging for one candidate while debunking the others. One such is an unabashed plea to give an extension to incumbent Ashok Chaturvedi. His term ends on January 31 and three officers — P. V. Kumar, R. Banerjee and S. K. Tripathi — are in the race to succeed him. As in the past, the powerful Mallu brigade looks set to win this round too, in which case, the job will be Kumar’s. He is due to retire on February 28, 2009, but as with all high- level appointments, Kumar, if selected, will have a minimum two- year tenure. If they have their way yet again, there will be enough Mallus among the movers and fakers in Lutyen’s Delhi to form an exclusive Kerala Babus’ Club. TKA Nair, PM’s principal secretary, K. M. Chandrashekhar ( CabSec), Shiv Shankar Menon ( external affairs), National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan, G. K. Pillai ( commerce and industry) Madhavan Nambiar ( civil aviation).
The list goes on. Last month, Raman Srivastava, a Kerala cadre IPS officer, was appointed special secretary, internal security. With A. K. Antony in charge of defence, the country, we are led to believe, is safe only in the hands of Mallus.
BJP, Cong lie low over UP
So it was left to the Samajwadi Party, the only outfit which has no use for Mayawati’s BSP( and vice versa), to kick up the dust. The waves of protests that erupted across the state were orchestrated from 27 Lodi Estate, the residence of party strategist Amar Singh, and percolated down to the level of the ordinary red- capped SP workers on bicycles in far- flung towns and villages. The directives were to aim railway stations, police posts and other high- impact targets.
The tactic obviously worked. Not good news for Mayawati.