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One of the reasons why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was particularly upset with Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on the handling of Afzal Guru's execution is that even while he clearly knew that Afzal's family was still unaware of the hanging, Shinde was talking to TV cameras giving out details of the incident. Both Shinde and Home Secretary R K Singh were talking to the electronic media, while they knew that the official letter that was to inform the family in Sopore had barely reached Srinagar. The Prime Minister was of the view that while an announcement could not have been held back, images of what appeared to an effort by senior functionaries to bask in the glory of the execution could certainly have been avoided. The Prime Minister had conveyed his displeasure in this regard to Shinde on the sidelines of Governor's conference last week, stressing on the need to take a humanitarian approach while still being tough on terror.
Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, along with several other VVIPs, was in Goa last week to attend the wedding of Gujarat-based industrialist Gautam Adani's son Karan. Also present was Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, whose proximity with the Adani family is well known. Pawar met Modi for a brief while at the wedding, but what is being talked about in hushed whispers is that the two had another long meeting at an undisclosed venue later, where they are believed to have discussed politics in the context of options for the future. While the NCP is clearly with the UPA at the moment, it cannot be said with certainty that it will go with the Congress in the event of a hung Parliament in 2014. Pawar's networking skills and relationships across party lines could be an important factor in such an event.