A house for Team Anna
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Having targeted the UPA government throughout the 16-month Lokpal movement, Kiran Bedi, it seems, has now had a change of heart. Faced with criticism that Anna Hazare's new office at Sarvodaya Enclave has been rented from a Congress worker, Bedi, who was reportedly among those extremely keen on the property, tweeted: "How does a house belonging to a Congressman make him less Indian? And less patriotic?" Coming after her public fallout with Arvind Kejriwal over targeting the BJP, Bedi seems to be positioning herself as a more sober version of her former Lokpal colleague.
AFGHANISTAN President Hamid Karzai's visit this week has an interesting backdrop. Insiders say this goes back by about seven-eight months to when Amrullah Saleh, his former intelligence chief and now a political rival, made a stopover in India on his way back from China. This led to much speculation about India's preferences in the Afghan political scene, further fuelled by pro-Pak elements in Afghanistan who had considerable influence among the President's close aides. The grapevine has it that at one point Afghanistan's ambassador to Pakistan Umar Dawood Zai also raised concerns. The fear set in New Delhi that Karzai too may develop doubts and so it was decided to invite him here for the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad lecture. Kabul never said no, but delayed its final response and it was not until the trilateral meeting on the margins of NAM at Iran, where PM Manmohan Singh assured Karzai of India's full support, that the whole programme fell into place even though officials were on the job for at least a few months.
THE absence of Ashwani Kumar from the first function organised by the Supreme Court of India after he took over as the Law Minister meant all the attention was on his predecessor Salman Khurshid. At the national district level seminar on mediation organised by the mediation and conciliation project committee of the Supreme Court, the External Affairs Minister was welcomed by Justice Swatanter Kumar as the "most handsome minister" in Cabinet. Incidentally, similar words were used to describe him last year. This time Khurshid was present because Ashwani Kumar had to travel abroad.
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