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During her ongoing four-day trip to the capital, Mamata Banerjee is not meeting any political bigwigs. At least not officially. But there is one notable who she did meet on Saturday. Mamata called on President Pranab Mukherjee. While she usually takes chocolates for Mukherjee, this time she took boxes full of roshogollas flavoured with the special Bengal jaggery, a winter delicacy in her state. In keeping with an usual practice between Mukherjee and her, she is learnt to have insisted that the President take a bite in front of her, which he did.
Dr G Mohan Gopal, Director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, New Delhi, has emerged a key member of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's team. Rahul is learnt to have started relying on the low-profile Director for inputs for his speeches as also on other issues. An alumnus of Harvard University, Mohan Gopal had been associated with the NSUI during his college days in Kerala and later grew close to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Recently, Congress president Sonia Gandhi included him in the AICC's Manifesto and Government Programmes Sub-Group as a special invitee. While Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh remains one of the intellectual guides of the young Congress general secretary giving him ideas and inputs for his speeches and political strategies, Mohan Gopal's contributions are said to be more on government's policies and programmes.
THERE has hardly been a quiet moment in Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik's three-day visit to India which ended on Sunday. Even during the bilateral delegation level talks on Friday, it was Malik who was doing most of the talking. Through the glass windows of the room in Ashoka Hotel where the delegations of the two countries held the talks, Malik could be seen animatedly and forcefully making his points. On a few occasions, some of his words could be heard through the glass windows. On the other hand, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde spoke for barely 15 to 20 minutes during the over one-hour meeting.
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