Naveen’s pet ‘Pyari’-mohan
Rajya Sabha MP of Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Shri Pyarimohan Mahapatra, who is known as a close confidant of BJD chief, Naveen Patnaik has now started his real politics in Delhi. A former IAS officer of Orissa cadre was the Secretary to CM when Biju Patnaik was the Chief Minister. At the time of formation of the BJD, Pyarimohan was no-where in the picture. When Naveen ruled the state as the Chief Minister, he was the ‘Super Chief Minister’ and was indirectly involved in the major policy decisions of the government and in the transfer and postings of senior bureaucrats. Even in party matters, staying at the capital city Bhubaneswar, he would decide who should be appointed at which organisational level. Even sometimes BJD’s Secretary General is unaware of certain important decisions taken in the party, while Pyarimohan is the decision-maker. Recently, Naveen selected him to the Upper House. As usual, Naveen never keeps any person in a key post for long; it is guessed that he has been sent to Delhi to keep him away from the state’s power centre.
Although Pyarimohan is only a primary member of the BJD, applying his bureaucratic mind he has already started one round of talks with Orissa Congress chief, Janaki Ballabh Pattnaik and with other senior leaders of the Congress to have an alliance with it. Thus he would be able to get a cabinet berth in the UPA government. He has also suggested Janaki Ballabh Pattnaik'sname to serve as a Governor in any state as he has no future in the state now. It is a different issue whether Naveen is aware of the development or not.
Senior Parliamentarian, former Chief Minister of Orissa and Congress MP from Koraput, Shri Giridhar Gamang is now a spent force in the Congress Party. His main worry is his wife Hema Gamang.
Hema Gamang is a MLA in Orissa and in the recent reshuffle of the AICC, Hema has been awarded with the post of national secretary of the Congress. Dispute between this tribal couple was at its height during the last Lok Sabha elections. It is said that the Congress Party was adding fuel to deepen the rift between the couple. There was even a talk of divorce between Giridhar and Hema. The old rift is once again alive, as Hema is trying her best to prevent Giridhar from getting a ministerial berth at the Centre. It is said that Hema is backed by the Christian lobby and a Christian MP from Orissa helped her to get a post in AICC. Further, she is supporting the Christian MP to get a ministerial berth at the Centre instead of her husband Giridhar. As a former MP, Hema has a flat in Delhi, but Giridhar prefers to stay at the Janpath guesthouse.
Andhra Pradesh'snewly elected Congress government has recently declared 5 per cent reservation for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions by declaring the whole community as backward and it seems that Osmania University has already started taking steps to ensure that Muslims remain in backward category only.
Recently, the Hyderabad-based Osmania University (OU) withdrew the post-graduation course in Urdu from the Post-graduate College, Secunderabad although Urdu is a major discipline in the university. This is not the first time when OU has dropped an Indian language; two years ago it had dropped Tamil from its post-graduation curriculum at the Arts College. For this the university officials have blamed the state government and shortage of staff as the state government has not allowed the university to fill up the posts lying vacant since the last 10 years. Insufficient student strength is also a point of concern as last year as well as this year also, there were no takers for Urdu at Post-graduate College.
According to State Minority Welfare Commissioner’s study of the socio-economic and educational conditions of Muslim minorities, the literacy rate in Muslims is 18 per cent and among women it is as low as 4 per cent.
With Chaudhary Prem Singh becoming the Speaker of Delhi Assembly, the race for the post of Delhi Congress president has begun. It will be a new battle-field for the pro-Sheila Dikshit group and her anti-group camp. The nomination of Singh by the Congress high command for the Speaker'spost is taken as a defeat for the CM camp.
With the appointment of former Rajasthan Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot, as the new incharge of Delhi state, the equation of Congress politics is likely to change. Previously, Ahmed Patel, political advisor to Sonia Gandhi was the Delhi incharge. Singh was dubbed as his man, as he opened a front against Dikshit in the capital. Even after winning the Lok Sabha elections, Union State Minister, Jagdish Tytler, had openly remarked that he considered Sonia Gandhi as his only leader and not anybody else.
Another Jat leader and MP, Sajjan Kumar, who is considered to be close to former Rajasthan CM, has mended fences with Dikshit in this Lok Sabha elections.
With Gehlot, who is considered a more down-to-earth leader, taking the charge of Delhi it would not be that easy for Dikshit because she is considered to be close to the high-flying Foreign Minister, Natwar Singh. It is important to note that it was the Jat lobby under Natwar Singh which strongly opposed Gehlot in Rajasthan and succeeded in nominating B.D. Kalla as leader of the Opposition in Rajasthan.
Now the names of former MP, J.P. Aggarwal, former minister, Narendra Nath and Health Minister, Yoganand Shastri, are prominent among those contending for the party presidentship.
In the coming days, most probably after the Budget session is over, the Central Finance Ministry is going to witness a major reshuffling at Secretary level. Two officers from the ministry are likely to be shifted to the Planning Commission.
After the extension of Commerce Secretary, Deepak Chatterjee, some Secretaries, who are going to retire soon from the Central Government, have started extensive PR exercise and fresh political mobilisation with their godfathers and are pressurising Prime Minister for their extensions. There is a strong whisper in Delhi darbar that one former Prime Minister from down Vindhyas is lobbying hard for one such aspirant.