Minister vs Minister

DC

Minister vs Minister

Union HRD Minister Pallam Raju recently had to defer plans for laying the foundation stone of an IIIT in Kerala owing to the preferences of his rather powerful MoS Shashi Tharoor. The cause is the proposed location of the IIIT. CM Oommen Chandy has announced that Kottayam — his constituency is in the district — will host the IIIT and his government has proposed the same site to the HRD Ministry but Tharoor is pitching for Thiruvananthapuram, his constituency, and has indicated the same to the Higher Education department. Concerned this may also head the Gaya vs Motihari way, the department informed Raju just in time to call off the foundation stone laying at Kottayam scheduled for January 5.

BOOK-MARKED

WHILE two Pakistan diplomats were not allowed to go to Jaipur for the Litfest, former Pakistan high commissioner Shahid Malik is doing the rounds at the Litfest. In fact, the two diplomats were supposed to go there to listen to Pakistani authors as well as Malik, who will take part in the discussions. Malik, now a lobbyist for one of Pakistan's big business houses, was a regular to the Jaipur Litfest, and was even seen seated on the floor at the sessions at Diggi Palace when he was high commissioner in 2011. However, his successor Salman Bashir has not shown any interest for the Litfest, although he is quite enthusiastic about Pakistani music — since he hosted Indians recently for an evening of music at the Pakistan High Commission lawns.

REPUBLIC TALK

THE Republic Day parade was shorter than usual with the organisers shaving off at least 15 minutes from the morning event. However, what came as a surprise to most, a commentator at the parade also shortened the title of the Air Chief, effectively reducing him down a rank. The commentator spoke out his title as Air Marshal, instead of Air Chief Marshal that is reserved for a Chief of Air Staff — a very touchy subject for the Air Force. Interestingly, the commentator was Sandhya Sharma, none other than the wife of Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma who is for all practical purposes the chief host of the event.

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