Pecking order

Delhi Confidential

Though the hierarchy within the Congress leadership is an open secret, the newly-inducted — some elevated — ministers have put this on record in their replies to congratulatory greetings. Two cabinet ministers and one Minister of State (independent charge) recently replied to a minister's congratulatory message with an assurance to work under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in that order. The young MoS (independent charge), however, did not hesitate to put on record Rahul Gandhi's leadership next in order in his thank you message.

Largehearted Karzai

Hamid Karzai may be an embattled president in Afghanistan but he knows how to floor the audience. As he received a cheque of Rs 1 lakh from the ICCR and Nehru Memorial where he went to deliver a lecture on Monday, he declared from the stage that an 11-year-old boy who had lost all the elders in the family in an Eid day terrorist attack would benefit from the money. The boy doesn't know what to do, Karzai said, since he has lost all the grown up people in his family, and that the money would be go a long way for his welfare.

Putting Agra on track

AS Railways Minister, Pawan Kumar Bansal's first attention has interestingly gone to the Agra station. He recently visited the place and directed officials to improve on the station's beautification programme. Considering its status as the gateway to the Taj Mahal, he felt the facilities were not really up to the mark. Meanwhile, Bansal has also instructed his officials that, depending on his schedule and purpose of travel, he will take the regular train and travel with the public instead of using his "MR Special", the train assigned for the minister. His recent trips to Agra and Rae Bareli were also conducted on regular passenger trains.

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