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The agenda at the Governors' Conference at Rashtrapati Bhavan last week focused on weighty matters such as internal and external security, education, improving services for delivering development and how to bring green revolution to the eastern region. However, a number of governors also had a personal agenda in mind. They discussed the need for pension for retired governors and positions for themselves in order of precedence by which retired governors sit in front rows at functions. President Pranab Mukherjee took a sympathetic view. He recommended that retired governors receive a monthly allowance of Rs 25,000 for secretarial assistance. However, the demand to sit in the front row at all functions was turned down as this would involve too many agencies.
Thorn in Modi's side
VHP president Ashok Singhal may have announced his support for Narendra Modi as BJP prime ministerial candidate, but Praveen Togadia is not ready to bury the hatchet. Once fast friends, Togadia and Modi are now at daggers drawn and Modi has even questioned Togadia's mental stability. Interestingly, Togadia is not included when talks between the RSS and senior VHP representatives are held, even though Togadia has the grand sounding title of international working president of the VHP. Togadia only attends those RSS meetings to which all and sundry from the VHP are called. Last week, at a meeting, BJP representatives urged the RSS to ensure that Togadia did not shoot off his mouth.
Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh was the one who reportedly advised Sonia and Rahul Gandhi to hang Afzal Guru. Singh's calculation was that the hanging would take the wind out of the BJP's sails and negate Modi's assertion that the Congress government was soft on terror. Singh had made his view known not just in interactions with the media but also on Twitter. However, seeing the negative reaction to the haste with which the hanging was carried out, Singh has washed his hands of this and publicly deplored the fact that Guru's relatives were kept in the dark. Singh's assumption is that after Guru's hanging, the government will go ahead with the hanging of the killers of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh and thus embarrass the BJP. The BJP would not like to counter the Akali Dal which is against the execution of Beant Singh's killer, Balwant Singh Rajoana. As per rules, a death warrant is serviced by the government of the state in which the crime was committed. Neither Parkash Singh Badal's government nor the government of Jayalalithaa is likely to co-operate in clearing the formalities for an execution.