Ambedkar vs Agarwal
Unable to clinch a Rajya Sabha seat for the BSP’s Bhimrao Ambedkar, the seething SP-BSP rank and file is suggesting it could have been a deliberate strategy! And that now Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav will go on a campaign across Uttar Pradesh propagating the line that BJP got an ‘Ambedkar’ defeated only to let an ‘Agarwal’ win. Still, questions were raised on Twitter about the need for such a convoluted game plan, when Akhilesh could have easily secured Ambedkar’s victory by making him the first candidate, leaving Jaya Bachchan to be the joint one. The BJP would never have put up a fight against their Gujarat brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan’s wife. The SP has either fluffed its lines or been stingy when it came to repaying BSP for Gorakhpur and Phulpur, but the alliance seems good still.
Hasmukh Adhia next Cabinet Secretary?
The buzz is that Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia is all set to become the next Cabinet Secretary—and the file has already been cleared. The incumbent, P K Sinha, is set to retire on August 1. Said to be the PM’s ‘eyes and ears’, Adhia and Narendra Modi go a long way back. Seen to be the architect behind the early and firm roll-out of the GST, Adhia is believed to be the one who personally briefs the PM on all VVIP cases pending with the ED and the CBI, whether of Lalu Prasad Yadav or his daughter Misa Bharati or the Chidambarams, particularly Karti.
Salman Khurshid miffed
Though the AICC plenary was treated as a testing ground to see how the old guard and the younger lot gelled, not everyone is happy with the way the pieces have been rearranged. Certainly not Salman Khurshid. He spent most of the session time giving interviews — his publisher too thought it was a good idea to keep him in the news since his book on triple talaq has just been launched. But Khurshid had other reasons: he was fuming for having been left out of the AICC foreign policy resolution committee despite being a former external affairs minister. Instead, it was Anand Sharma who authored, spoke and pushed the resolution, much to Khurshid’s chagrin. The mosquito bites increased his irritation. But on the last point, he was not the only one. Even Sonia Gandhi had to call for mosquito repellents to sit through the two-day session at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.
Banker to be questioned
The MD and CEO of a prominent private bank, once seen to have brought about a turnaround in retail banking, is under the scanner. The banker and her husband could very soon be asked to join the bank loan scam investigation by the ED and the CBI. Apparently, she got huge loans sanctioned for firms who later invested in her husband’s companies.
As Rajya Sabha presiding officer, Venkaiah Naidu may be upset about daily disruptions that force him to adjourn the Upper House within minutes of assembly. But the VP had a gift for all his MPs, even those who retired: Caravan radio sets with unlimited music. Maybe his way of calming down tempers and making the MPs sing to his tune.
The author is Political Editor, TNIE.