Reddy a fall guy?
The petroleum minister, Jaipal Reddy could possibly be on his way out. The Congress high command is looking at the option of replacing Jaipal Reddy with Maharshtra chief minister, Prithivraj Chavan. Now that the NCP chief, Sharad Pawar, the Maratha strongman is trying to arm twist the Congress man, a section of Congress leaders are in no mood to antagonise the ally. Pawar is anyway upset with the Congress leadership for demoting him from the number two position in the Union Cabinet. There are whispers in Congress corridors that a move is afoot to replace Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Kiran Kumar Reddy with Jaipal Reddy.
Congress paints NCP to a corner
The forced ceasefire between the Congress-led UPA and it’s ally, NCP might not last for time to come. Depending on how things shape up in the near future, the power game between the allies will intensify. It may be recalled that a few months back, the NCP had threatened to walkout, accusing the Congress of not adhering to coalition dharma. Looking back one can see that the irrigation projects worth over Rs 6,000 crore were finalised by violating laid down norms and advance was paid to the key players. Despite such a huge amount, the plight of the farmers remain pitiable in Mahrashtra. Allegations were levelled that over Rs 70,000 crore between 1999 and 2009 were spent on irrigation projects with Ajit Pawar as State irrigation minister. Even if the allegations levelled against Ajit Pawar are to be believed, question remain that everything happened with a Congress chief minister at the helm of affairs.
Big announcements, no follow up
That this government is all about making false promises becomes somewhat evident with both the Union HRD and IT ministries, unable to launch the much-publicised and much-anticipated Aakash-II Tablet. Repeated deadlines have been missed. Both the ministries are reportedly still discussing the launch of the Aakash-II Tablet launch despite preparing a Cabinet note almost six months ago for procurement of 50 lakh devices.
The tablet, being developed in co-ordination with IIT Bombay, is far from being finalised and could take another few months before becoming areality for end users. The launch date of the Aakash-II Tablet is yet to be known. The delays and controversies have hit the project and the student community is still awaiting this low computing system. Priced at Rs 2,276 the device will be subsidised by upto 50 per cent for students. But then when will it happen or will it ever?
Cupid on the rampage. Hina hit Bilawal
Across the border, it’s season of love and scandal. Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar is likely to be punished over her alleged love affair with Bilawal Bhutto, son of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and late Benazir Bhutto. Reports indicate that Hina would be sacked from her current foreign ministry post following reports that she has a secret affair with the young Chairman of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was upset as he doesn’t want his 24-year-old son to marry a woman who is 11-year-older than him and also a mother of two daughters. The president reportedly had tried to put an end to their relationship after allegedly using his political power and government machinery against Khar’s husband, millionaire businessman Firoze Gulzar. He had apparently failed to end the affair. A tabloid has published excerpts of Hina’s hand written letter to Bilawal. Hinayana was quoted writing to Bilawal: “The foundation of our relations is eternal and soon we shall be just ourselves.”
Congress kowtows to social media
And in India crushed under charges of corruption and failure to contain inflation and price rise the UPA- II is now turning to social media for help. In an effort to better publicise the initiatives of the government, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has decided to take the help of social media in a big way. The Ministry has launched a dedicated YouTube channels to put the UPA government’s initiatives on the Internet. The dedicated channel will also air news capsules from national broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio. The channel will also feature press conferences addressed by the Group of Ministers (GoM) on media. The Ministry is also expected to create a Facebook and Twitter account soon to have more direct communication with the people of the country. These accounts are likely to help the ministry create more awareness among public about government’s policies and taking up a wide range of public concerns.