Monday, December 29, 2008

Snippets / Mail Today, December 29, 2008

ABOUT three weeks ago, Veerappa Moily submitted a voluminous report to the prime minister. Moily, as we all know, is a former Karnataka chief minister, among the senior- most Congress leaders, and chairman of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission. The tome that he handed over to Manmohan Singh was the tenth his commission prepared. His recommendations cover a whole gamut of issues, from tackling corruption to taming the bureaucracy to revamping security. Moily is on record that 80 percent of his recommendations could be implemented administratively and only the rest would require changing the laws of the land. I wonder if the prime minister or any of the worthies have even bothered to go through the reports. It must be pretty frustrating for the ARC chief, who holds the rank of a cabinet minister, to see his love’s labour gathering dust in the store rooms of South Block.

National security or civility?
AFTER the languorous Shivraj Patil, the ever- alert P. Chidambaram is a welcome change at North Block, the home ministry HQ. His decision to set up four new regional hubs of the National Security Guard in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderbad and Chennai has been welcomed. Yet Karnataka chief minister B. S. Yedyurappa has reasons to feel aggrieved as Bangalore has been left out. Apart from the IT industry, Bangalore is home to prestigious institutions like the Indian Institute of Science which has already faced one terror attack, the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, etc. Just two weeks ago, Yedyurappa had presented a wishlist to Manmohan Singh who was in Bangalore for the centenary celebrations of the IIS and the PM saw sense in his argument. BJP leaders see a design in Bangalore being overlooked as all four cities that are to become new NSG hubs are either ruled by the Congress or its allies or erstwhile allies who have divorced and who may be ready for a remarriage after the next elections. God forbid, should a 26/ 11 happen in Bangalore, Yedyurappa and his party will be left holding the can. Chidambaram has convened a meeting of chief ministers in Delhi on January 6 and security may not the only issue that Yedurappa will confront him with. The home minister’s language, for another. His letter dated December 17 to the CMs is typical Chidambaram — to the point, tough talking, no nonsense. Just as they do in Harvard, I assume. But problems arise when Harvard toppers meet Haradanhalli and Hardwar dropouts. I know many CMs feel offended by the tone of Chidambaram’s letter. Waiting to see what tops the agenda on January 6: national security or ministerial 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
WHEN large parts of Uttar Pradesh were aflame after the brutal killing of a PWD engineer allegedly by a BSP MLA last week, the Congress and BJP were missing in action. Rahul Gandhi showed the sensitivity to place a phone call to the slain engineer’s son and commiserate with the family. But for that, central leaders of the two largest national parties, both fringe players in Uttar Pradesh now, were conspicuous by their absence from the statewide protests. This has fuelled rumours that the two outfits deliberately lay low as they didn’t want to offend Behenji whom both may need if, as is expected, the Lok Sabha elections don’t throw up a clear winner.
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.

1 comment:

media said...

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