LOOKING FOR A CAG
With Vinod Rai’s term as CAG nearing its end, the search is on for a successor. The Centre is looking for a credible officer who it hopes will not become the sort of over-independent CAG Rai did. Two names doing the rounds are those of Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and R Chandrashekhar, former telecom secretary. Chandrashekhar has a clean image and the Congress feels Sharma did a deft job during the Gen VK Singh phone-tapping mess. The proposal for a multi-member CAG has been dropped it appears because the government is unlikely to find parliamentary and wider public support for it.
A BRIDGE TOO FAR
In Uttar Pradesh, passing the power parcel between the SP and BSP has had some bizarre consequences. Projects launched with fanfare get stuck every time there is a change of guard in Lucknow. Take the long-pending bridge over the Ganga between Varanasi and Chunar Ghat. Started when Mulayam was chief minister (2003-07), it ground to a halt when Mayawati won power. In the meantime, commuters continue to pay Rs 25 for each crossing on a makeshift pontoon bridge. Now that the SP is back, Akhilesh Yadav has got the project restarted. Hopefully, the bridge will be completed before his term ends.
IPL franchises are becoming little shops for some captains. MS Dhoni’s relationship with Chennai Super Kings and the company that owns it is well known now that he has been named vice-president of India Cements. Similar networks are being built in Kolkata. Fresh from his success in 2012, Gautam Gambhir is moving some of his Delhi favourites and flunkies — including the ghostwriter of his tweets — into key corporate positions in Kolkata Knight Riders. It’s a cosy life, even if you are not in the Indian team.
SHOW ME THE MONEY
The Congress is looking to win the Karnataka Assembly polls, but the central leadership has been left aghast by the bill. The state unit president, G Parameshwara, has apparently put together a 1,000 crore election campaign. Of course, he has also been lobbying for tickets for his favourites, as have other state Congress chieftains. The overstated budget, however, is what has stunned the party brass in Delhi.
The BJP reshuffle has one obvious gap: the lack of a female general secretary. Two names in the running were Nirmala Sitharaman and Smriti Irani but both lost out when the number of men in contention just grew and grew. Finally, it was down to Murlidhar Rao and a female option, but Advani insisted on Rao. He is a protégé of S Gurumurthy, widely seen as Advani’s Cardinal Richelieu.