Uma meets Bangla minister on water sharing
Bangladesh Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud raised his country’s long-standing demand for “joint management” of the rivers flowing into Bangladesh from India, at a conference on water resources development organised by the CII in New Delhi. The demand had been raised earlier as well, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his predecessor Manmohan Singh had visited Dhaka in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Both had apparently given their “assurances”, but Mahmud said that “nothing has been done so far”. Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, who attended the conference for some time, did not utter a word at the time. But later she called on Mahmud at the hotel along with officials from the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Water Resources. The buzz is that she had gone there to give the government’s assurance on the matter.
Many aspirants in Congress for RS seat
The Congress waits to add one MP to its tally of 67 in the Rajya Sabha, election for which is due next year from Bihar. In the race is Shakeel Ahmad, AICC general secretary in charge of Punjab. Ahmad is also the Congress’ “Bihar face” in Delhi. Another “serious contender” is C.P. Joshi, AICC’s in-charge of Bihar. Although several complaints against him were lodged by Congress’ Bihar leaders even before the election process started and are pending with the high command, Joshi is busy taking credit for the Congress bagging 27 seats in the state. Nikhil Kumar, who was chairman of the Bihar election committee, is also a contender. Although P. Chidambaram is an outsider, the party needs him in the Rajya Sabha. Recently, even Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi praised him. But pressure has mounted on the Congress leadership that an Ansari be given the Rajya Sabha seat. During Indira Gandhi’s time, the Ansaris were known supporters of the Congress as she always had one Ansari in her Cabinet, particularly from Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. With Nitish Kumar giving prominence to backward Muslims, it has now become a compulsion for the Congress to give a Rajya Sabha seat to an Ansari. The name of Shakeel-uz-Zaman Ansari, member, National Commission for Backward Classes, who was AICC secretary, is doing the rounds. However, Kapil Sibal may be the final winner as he is Lalu Yadav’s legal adviser.
Rahul happy about Bihar ‘exploits’
Rahul Gandhi is supposed to have told some journalists that without the Congress, it would not have been possible for the Grand Alliance to get the kind of victory it did in Bihar and that it was the compulsion of the Alliance leaders to take the Congress with it. Meanwhile, Bihar PCC chief Ashok Chowdhury, a Dalit, who is taking the credit for the Congress’ “performance”, was made a minister in Nitish Kumar’s Cabinet.
Tyagi’s hard work may not mean much
Even as Nitish Kumar led the Grand Alliance’s campaign in Patna, it was JDU president Sharad Yadav and party secretary general K.C. Tyagi who worked silently behind the scenes. While Sharad Yadav worked with alliance partners, particularly Lalu Prasad Yadav, it was Tyagi who “managed” the media in Delhi, was seen on TV channels and coordinated with Prashant Kishor, the election strategist partly “credited” with Kumar’s victory in Bihar. Though Tyagi has always claimed that the Chief Minister is much junior to him, Tyagi’s watchers claim that all his hard work may mean nothing as his term ends in July next year.
Rahul will ‘accommodate’ veterans
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has told some journalists that a reshuffle in the party will happen before the organisational elections. When asked about the fate of party veterans, he said everyone would be taken along. Apparently, Rahul has reconciled himself to the idea of having a mix of seniors and youngsters. He even said he had immense respect for senior Congress leaders like A.K. Antony and P. Chidambaram. But when someone reminded Rahul that Jairam Ramesh had said that those above 60 years of age would have to take VRS, Rahul quipped: “How old is Jairam? I think he, too, is 60 plus.” And then he started laughing.
MoD spokesman shunted, refuses to leave
Sitanshu Kar, the longest serving spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence, may have been made the Director General of All-India Radio’s News Service Division, but he is yet to make way for his successor Mohan Chandak. Kar’s survival in the MoD for 10 long years has been possible due to his “connections with high-ups” and this time, too, G. Mohan Kumar, secretary, MoD, is trying to save him though Kar’s transfer orders have been put up on the website. Journalists have been telling Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar that his (Parrikar’s) image was taking a beating as Kar was not supplying them with “enough material to project a positive image of him”.