Nora Chopra is a senior journalist with a finger on the pulse of the Indian political scene

Chidambaram, Khurshid are still so haughty

Even after a record hiding in the Lok Sabha elections, some Congress ministers in the UPA government cannot shed the haughtiness that often comes with high positions. Just last week, an AICC media coordinator telephoned two former Union ministers, P. Chidambaram and Salman Khurshid on behalf of the AICC communication department head Ajay Maken. When called, some say that Chidambaram brusquely wanted to know, "Who gave you my number?" The media coordinator replied that he just wanted his email ID so that he could send him a communiqué from Ajay Maken requesting him to attend a meeting ahead of the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly election results. The meeting would be on handling the media on result day. In reply, Chidambaram apparently retorted, "I do not have time for all this. I am in Chennai. Tell him that I cannot come." As for Khurshid, he told the media coordinator to tell Maken to call him directly rather than make his subordinates contact him.

News: Chandy meets Sonia
Oommen Chandy

Eyebrows were raised when sometime ago, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of the Congress came to Delhi and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi but not his party president Sonia Gandhi. That made big news in Kerala. The party leadership was shocked. The rumour mills started working overtime about the Gandhis losing their hold over the party. So the Gandhis must have heaved a sigh of relief when Chandy called on Sonia Gandhi during his latest trip to the capital. He is said to have explained to her why he left in a hurry after meeting Modi.

Lobbying starts in Jharkhand

As the BJP hunts for a chief ministerial candidate ahead of the Jharkhand Assembly elections, some local leaders are already lobbying for their favourites. At a recent meeting that Amit Shah held in Jharkhand, those present kept referring to a particular state BJP leader and former Union minister as the future Chief Minister. Shah finally made it clear that the matter would be decided only by the newly elected legislators. He even warned state leaders not to project anyone as the future Chief Minister.

Rahul wants to contest party president post

Rahul Gandhi may "contest" for the post of Congress president next year. Current president Sonia Gandhi is likely to give up her post and take on the role of a mentor of sorts. Rahul is said to have told Congress central election authority chief, Mullappally Ramachandran that this time the "election" to the post of party president should not be on the basis of consensus, but should be held in a "genuinely" democratic manner. The hunt has begun for someone who can actually put up a contest against Rahul Gandhi. Going by the sentiments gaining momentum within the party after each election defeat, some are hoping that Rahul will lose the election. But considering the Congress culture of support for the Gandhis, that may be too much to hope.

Governors told to reduce visits to home states

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is staying alert for any shortcomings by his appointees and taking immediate action when it occurs. Even constitutional appointees are not being spared. BJP-appointed Governors in two states have been politely told to reduce their frequent visits to their home states. The BJP had raised this issue against Governors appointed by the UPA government, and the PM does not want any finger to be pointed at his appointees.

Coal traders unhappy

Many in the coal business were crestfallen that the government was so quick to issue an ordinance on the coal mine allotments cancelled by the Supreme Court. Even when some of them had been considering a review petition, the government promulgated the ordinance. A senior company official said privately that the government's move deprived them of any chance to lobby the ministries and have favourable clauses inserted. Quote OnThe decision to auction licences only to end users has eased out the coal traders. Many of them are politically active, but the ordinance has killed their last hope of recovering from the SC verdict.

Passport agency creates a mess

An outsourcing agency, which was employed by the Indian embassy and consulates in the United States, created a mess with people's passports. The chorus of complaints from Indians living in the US was so loud that the new agency, Cox and Kings, had to meet members and office bearers of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin in New York and in Washington, DC. The complaints included delays in visa processing, lack of polite communication and loss of passports. Cox and Kings cited the backlog created by its predecessor as the main cause of the problems. The backlog is said to be as high as 18,000 passports.

Congress may field ex Delhi MPs for Assembly polls

The Congress is toying with the idea of fielding its seven Delhi MPs who lost to the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections in the Assembly elections. All the seven Members of Parliament have been told to fight the Assembly elections in the capital, whenever they are held. The thinking in the party is that these MPs may have lost their Lok Sabha seats, but will be able to pull off a victory in the much smaller Assembly segments.

Ajay Maken, ex MP from New Delhi constituency
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