Banishment advantage

Banishment advantage

The Supreme Court has permitted former Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah to enter the state after 23 months. After he was externed from Gujarat, Shah shifted base to Delhi and used the opportunity to develop contacts with several senior BJP leaders, including BJP President Nitin Gadkari. He sometime acted as a trouble shooter for Gadkari and was at the forefront in planning the party's strategy for the UP assembly election—a different matter that it did not prove very fruitful for the party. During Parliament sessions, Shah was seen regularly at the office of Arun Jaitley, leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. Shah is back in Gujarat to micromanage Modi's assembly campaign, but Gadkari is thinking of appointing Shah as a party general secretary.

Formidable encounter

Omita Paul, secretary to President Pranab Mukherjee, was Mistress of Ceremonies at the swearing-in of Justice Altamas Kabir as Chief Justice of India. After Justice Kabir had taken his oath of office, Paul urged the guests to move to the banquet hall for tea and snacks and not mill around the new Chief Justice. But one intrepid lady was determined to first congratulate Kabir and stood her ground. "Who are you?'' she asked Paul dismissively. Paul, amazed at her gall, explained her designation and asked for the credentials of the other woman. "I am Indira Jaising, additional solicitor general,'' was the reply.

Missing party members

Brajesh Mishra, Atal Bihari Vajpayee's principal secretary and NSA, was a power to reckon with when Vajpayee was PM. But at Mishra's cremation, Arun Jaitley, Vijay Goel and Ravi Shankar Prasad were among the few recognisable faces from the BJP. On the other hand, there was an impressive turnout from the Congress and the government, including, Sonia Gandhi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, NSA Shiv Shankar Menon and Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh. In his last years, Mishra had endeared himself to the Congress by supporting the Indo-US nuclear deal. A section of the BJP was convinced that while in office, Mishra, son of Indira Gandhi's one-time strategist D P Mishra, was protective of the Congress's first family.

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