by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
Modi looking for new Agri Minister !
Farmer is the flavour in the Modi dispensation these days. Be it Commerce Ministry or the Finance or Science & Technology, Modi wants to hear only about the farmers. After the Gujrat poll outcome, the Prime Minister wants to send a clear signal that his government is committed to farmers and government is committed to their well being. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is holding series of meetings with the farm groups and experts. The commerce ministry has imposed hefty import duty on agri products to help the Indian farmers. The Finance ministry is working over time to make announcements in the Union Budget for the benefit of the farming community. The focus will be on states where such packages will help the party more. Since this will be the last full Budget of the Modi government before the next General Elections, it will be an “agri budget”. If sources are to be believed, Modi is keen to have a new Agriculture Minister. Though there is nothing against Radha Mohan Singh who is holding the fort at Krishi Bhawan for the past four years uninterrupted. But Modi is looking for a new face who symbolises farmer. One suggestion is that let the PM keep the Agriculture portfolio with him until the next General Elections and Radha Mohan Singh be shifted to another ministry.
Kanimozhi to contest Lok Sabha
Kanimozhi who was acquitted by the CBI court in the 2G case, is beaming with joy and new found fan mail across Tamil Nadu and elsewhere. Buoyed by the fan mail, Kanimozhi now wants to contest Lok Sabha polls during the 2019 parliamentary elections. If sources are to be believed, her step-brother and DMK leader M K Stalin has given the green signal. It has been decided as part of the family deal that Stalin will stay put in domestic affairs while she will handle the national affairs in Delhi. M K Alagiri, the elder brother violated this principle and dabbled in internal affairs of Tamil Nadu and had to eat the humble pie.
How BJP made Nitish Kumar to change tune
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had declared he will put up candidates in Gujrat Assembly polls. Though Janata Dal (U) had hardly any vote bank in Gujrat after Chhotubhai Vasava parted company with Nitish Kumar. But Nitish wanted to stay neutral by fielding candidates. Intermediaries were sent to Nitish Kumar not to field candidates as every vote was important for the BJP. But Nitish Kumar was unmoved. Within hours, Jharkhand CM Raghuvar Das slammed Nitish for his prohibition policy and alleged liquor bottles are delivered at homes and pimps and brokers are making a killing in Bihar. As if this was not enough Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh attacked Nitish Kumar for his performance on the agriculture front. Radha Mohan Singh said Bihar is at the bottom of ranking of states in agriculture. Nitish Kumar did the summer-salt and JD (U)'s candidates were left high & dry.
The PM's Eagle Eye on Babus
Prime Minister Narendra Modi may be a tough administrator and officers are always terrorized. But a recent Demi-Official note gave a clue that bureaucrats are a tough nuts and take stern warnings in their stride. The Department of Personnel under the PM said “numerous instances” have to come to its notice that several officers have “over-stayed” in states without its permission. The PMO was shocked to discover that a large number of officers have been sitting pretty in states despite their tenure had ended. The PMO “viewed these violations seriously” and warned punitive action against these officers. The DOPT has made it clear that in the event of overstays of these officers, the period of over-stay shall not be counted when pension is fixed. It means that if the officer served an extra year in the state without permission, the period will not be counted service period. An angry DOPT also issued the sermon that any increment during the period of overstay will not be calculated till that date on which the officer rejoins in his parent cadre. The DOPT has directed the Accountant General of the States to stop payment of salary to the officer beyond approved period of stay. The PMO/DOPT has also warned that any over-stay beyond approved period of deputation without prior approval of the Central Government shall lead to an adverse impact on the prospects of the officer at the time of the impalement.
Mamata's dream project
TMC Supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is working hard to expand her party's support base, quietly. The Fly learns Mamata herself is in contention for the Prime Minister's post as the leader of the third front parties like Biju Janata Dal, DMK, Samajwadi Party, TRS, Aam Aadmi Party and other smaller parties. She thinks the no single party can get a majority in 2019 and it will be an open game. The Congress will be far behind from the magic figure of 272 and the BJP under Modi won't get allies if the party fails to get the numbers. She is working hard to improve her tally of 34 seats in the Lok sabha and concentrating on another 40 seats outside West Bengal. If she is able to get 50 Lok Sabha seats in 2019 she hopes to be a key player if not a strong contender for the top post in Delhi. She dispatched Dinesh Trivedi, TMC Lok Sabha MP, to Akola to lend support to Yashwant Sinha and farmers's agitation. Derek O'brian is busy talking to smaller parties. She is talking to Babulal Marandi in Jharkhand. Nothing wrong in day dreaming as Mamata tried the same in 2014 with Mulayam Singh Yadav and failed miserably.