The JNU jatha
The CPM is looking to revive itself nationally through its Sanghrash Sandesh Jathas, which begin from southern India. Three complementary jathas, led by Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat and Sitaram Yechury, will start from other parts of the country and move towards New Delhi. On 19 March, it will all culminate in a grand public meeting at Ramlila Maidan. For some, this will perhaps be the first taste of real-life political activism since their JNU days.
Mule to New York
Dyaneshwar Mule has served in the IFS for 30 years, but the past three years, which saw him as high commissioner in Male, have been his most taxing. A coup, the GMR airport mess and former president Mohammed Nasheed taking refuge in the Indian mission have kept him busy. Mule, also an author with books in Marathi, Hindi and English, has been rewarded with the job of consul general in New York. In this season of transfers, MEA watchers are keeping an eye on Nepal. In the running for the ambassador’s job are Ashok Kanth, high commissioner in Colombo, and Yash Sinha, who handles the PAI (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) Division. Both are seasoned officers and, coincidentally, from Bihar.
India in Numbers
24, 600 CR Projected Loss of the Indian Railways in 2012-13
42, 210 CR Expected Passenger Revenue
93, 554 CR Expected Freight Revenue
Has Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal done a deal with the SP? By announcing TV comic Raju Srivastava as its ultra-lightweight candidate for Kanpur, Jaiswal’s Lok Sabha constituency, the SP seems to have ensured the non-BJP vote won’t be divided. So will Mulayam Singh Yadav do a similar favour to the MPs from Amethi and Rae Bareli? The MP from Amethi, meanwhile, continues to sit in the back rows of the Lok Sabha despite his elevation. Party seniors are appealing to Rahul Gandhi to move to the front benches.
Rumours are rife the UDF government in Kerala could fall after the Budget session. At least that’s what a prominent NRI businessman, allegedly masterminding the operation, is telling people. Apparently, KM Mani, leader of the Kerala Congress (Mani), will switch to the LDF and reduce the government to a minority. Ominously, former CM VS Achuthanandan has said he has nothing against Mani joining the CPM-led LDF.
With elections due in Karnataka, Congress infighting is coming to the fore. Former foreign minister SM Krishna met Sonia and Rahul Gandhi to complain about local rivals. Senior partyman Siddaramaiah is flexing his muscles. CK Jaffer Sharief is grumpy and refusing to meet the national leadership. All three, and several others, believe they are natural claimants to a chief ministry the Congress sees as within its grasp.