The Royal Wish

DC
The Royal Wish

Bhutan's Queen Jetsun Pema was part of the discussions when External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid went to meet King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Friday morning. The King has made it quite clear, since his last visit, that he wants to involve the queen in matters of business as well. While the royal couple were hosted for a lunch at the PM's residence, they were joined by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and top Congress ministers A K Antony, P Chidambaram, Sushilkumar Shinde and Khurshid. However, Priyanka — who had attended the royal couple's wedding — was not part of the lunch.

NARAYANASAMY BLUFF

DURING the run-up for the SC/ST quota in promotions, Personnel Minister V Narayanasamy was in the centre of it all with his papers snatched and torn by Samajwadi Party MPs in the Lok Sabha. One of the questions from the debate was that why was there not a single SC/ST Secretary-level officer. Narayanasamy said there was no officer from SC/ST community, overlooking the fact that 1979-batch IAS officer Lalit Panwar, currently Additional CMD, ITDC, was empaneled as Secretary along with his batch a month before the quota bill debate. In fact, he is still awaiting a posting as a Secretary.

THE OMISSION

THE Army made a lot of splashes last year when a team of women officers conquered the Everest and were even flagged in by the President as a mark of their feat. What made the expedition unique was that all seven women members managed to get to the peak. It was no surprise then that the entire team was named for the Vishishth Seva Medal on the eve of Republic Day. A total of 10 medals were conferred to the team, including one to the deputy leader. But what has left many wondering is that why the team leader, a Colonel with years of experience under his belt, was left out of the awards list.

HIGH-VOLTAGE POLLS

THAT the SAD (Badal) is putting all its might to wrest the control of the cash-rich Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee from the Congress-backed group led by the Sarna brothers is no secret. Between them, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son, SAD (B) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, have addressed 100-odd rallies in the last two weeks. In a repeat of what happened during last year's elections in Punjab where a number of senior Congress leaders joined the Akali party, many key supporters of the Sarna brothers have shifted loyalties before Sunday's election. It remains to be seen if the high-voltage campaign will help the Punjab party get a foothold in the national Capital.

Communal tension in Rajasthan town

JAIPUR: Communal tension flared up at Asind, a tehsil headquarter about 50 km from Bhilwara, after houses and shops of Muslims were allegedly burnt down by VHP and RSS-led groups. Abid, a community leader, said around 20 houses and shops were set on fire by VHP and RSS-led groups. "On January 13, the Muslims had sought permission to take out a procession on Eid... This was agreed by the Hindu community in the area and the district administration but today suddenly RSS and VHP workers clashed with Muslims," he said. Curfew was imposed in the town by 5 pm. Locals said four people were injured but district administration denied it.

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