Mamata Nearly on Vatican Dharna
The Vatican, readying for Mother Teresa’s canonisation on Sunday, almost got a taste of Indian style dharna politics alongside. How? Well, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is leading a Kolkata caravan for the ceremony, with two of her MPs, Derek O’Brien and Sudip Bandhopadhyay, in tow. Now, they are separate invitees of the Missionaries of Charity, not part of the official India delegation led by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. Mamata soon realised to her dismay that the good people of the MEA, who are state invitees, will not only be put up at the best seven-star hotel in Vatican City, they will virtually exhaust the available accommodation there. This left the feisty CM and her gang wondering if they were in for some Mother Teresa-like spartan living. A livid Mamata, who too has to account for her Z category security detail, almost threatened a protest dharna, but mercifully at the end it was all love and forgiveness.
Early Budget: Azad Seeks Copyright
The Modi government is likely to prepone the crucial Budget Session so that it kicks off on February 1. And the idea has got a tacit nod from the main opposition party, the Congress, whose leader in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, says he should be credited with the original idea. He was the first one to implement it as J&K chief minister. It’s a worthwhile calendar to follow, he adds, because it gives more time for projects to get off the ground. In Delhi, however, fast roll out of GST is the main concern.
Modi PR With Wood Workers
Prime Minister Narendra Modi managed to eke out a favourable pro-worker PR initiative in the season of nationwide labour strikes with a little situation at his residence. Carpenters and other workers from Delhi’s Kirti Nagar hub had been turning up everyday at 7 RCR for some woodwork and renovation, especially at the Panchvati complex on the campus. Now, the food they were getting packed from home, as they always do on such site projects, had run into the massive security protocol. The lunch boxes had to go through testing by sniffer dogs! Their honour hurt, the workers protested. At this stage, the PM intervened and ordered that a canteen be set up for them. For good measure, he even interacted with them, and all was well again.
Irom: Kejriwal’s Manipur Outreach
Navjot Singh Sidhu may have run a quick single to give the slip to the AAP’s overtures and float his own party to save Punjab from the world. But AAP may yet find some succour and pull off a coup at the other end of the Indian map. Apparently, they have been doing some outreach with Irom Sharmila, who’s recently announced her intention to enter the mainstream politics in Manipur. Sharmila has good words for Kejriwal and says the AAP people have been kind to her. Expect a lot of talk on ethical, clean politics against the current CM and Congress satrap Okram Ibobi Singh, expanding her lexicon beyond AFSPA, if that happens.
China Skips BRICS Tourism Summit
Even a positive Buddhist framework can end in war if the two parties are India and China, as Nehru had found out long ago. History replayed itself in a tiny way when the Chinese delegation didn’t turn up for the BRICS Tourism summit at Khajuraho—what with the Balochistan theme upping temperatures, who has time for the temple of love?