Pre-Truth – snappy, witty and significant snippets from the world of politics and government.
Digvijaya Singh quietly vacates his office at Congress HQ
On 28 May, when most Congress leaders were glued to TV screens to get updates on the bypolls being held across 14 constituencies, there was a development at the party headquarters that few noticed. It was none but Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh who quietly vacated his office. Books, files and some mementos presented to him at various points were boxed up and put in his car as he left the AICC office at 24, Akbar Road in New Delhi.
Singh had been occupying the room since 2004, when he was first appointed general secretary. This was one of the bigger rooms in the main building, next to the office of Motilal Vora, party treasurer. Singh, who was the party in-charge for Andhra Pradesh, has been relieved of this job and made chairman of co-ordination committee in Madhya Pradesh. He will devote more time in his home state now. Singh has vacated the room for the new Andhra in-charge, former Kerala CM Oommen Chandy.
Key BJP-ruled states won’t slash fuel prices
Put in a spot of bother by the Kerala government’s move to cut fuel prices by Rs 1, the BJP leadership wanted its own state governments to take the same road. However, the proposal died a premature death after senior leaders pointed out that two of the important BJP-ruled states — Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan — will go to polls later this year and these states would not be ready to part with any revenue that comes through these taxes in an election year.
Transfer requests keeping Maharashtra ministers busy
Whether it is bureaucrats or ministers, everyone in the Maharashtra secretariat — Mantralaya — these days is hassled with one common issue — the annual season of government transfers. Last week, BJP minister Chandrakant Patil was heard complaining to his staff that these days whenever he has a woman visitor, the subject is always about request for a “favourable transfer” as per her family’s location and preference. Similarly, senior IAS officers spent an entire day last week with the General Administration Department sorting out transfers within their departments. An employee in the office of Kiran Kurundkar, secretary at the animal husbandry department, said there were nearly 20 files related to various issues pending for clearance, but the issue of transfers was keeping the secretary busy.
BJP leaders make a beeline to visit Jaitley at AIIMS
Senior BJP leader and union minister Arun Jaitley may have been kept in quarantine and advised not to meet anyone, but this has not dampened the spirits of enthusiastic party cadre and party leaders who want to call on him.
It is learnt that several senior cabinet ministers have paid a visit to the Prime Minister’s suite at AIIMS where Jaitley is recuperating after his kidney transplant surgery. The ministers and BJP leaders have met Jaitley’s family members and enquired about his health. It is said that most BJP leaders in Delhi owe their political rise to Jaitley and want to ensure they are seen with him in his hour of need.
Murmurs about NIA boss taking over as CBI head
Speculation is rife that National Investigation Agency director general Y.C. Modi, who is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, could soon move to the CBI as the agency’s director. Heated discussions on this count refuse to ebb despite the fact that the incumbent, Alok Verma, completes his two-year tenure next year. Y.C. Modi was involved in the investigations into the Gujarat riots and was part of the SIT that had given a clean chit to Narendra Modi in the case. Those who assert that Verma is on his way out point to the fact that the Modi government has, in the past, managed to get some others, like former home secretary Anil Goswami who also had a fixed tenure, to resign on their own.
Traffic woes for PM Modi in Indonesia
Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced a peculiar problem while he was in Indonesia as part of his three-nation tour that began on 29 May. Jakarta’s maddening traffic, one of the worst in the world, did not spare PM Modi either, with his morning movements being affected. On Wednesday morning, as he set out for his busy schedule — visiting the Kalibata National Heroes’ Cemetery, Istana Merdeka, National Monument, Arjuna’s Chariot and Istiqlal Mosque — PM Modi’s cavalcade also had to face the city’s chaotic traffic, causing some delays.
(Contributors: Kumar Anshuman, Maneesh Chhibber, Manasi Phadke, Pragya Kaushika, Ananya Bhardwaj and Ruhi Tewari)