With Mukherjee away...

Leaking to the media

Manmohan Singh is unhappy that the media carried a detailed account of the differences in the Cabinet over the Aadhar scheme. The confusion in the government on the issue and duplication of expense because of the failure to harmonise Aadhar and the National Population Register is a source of embarrassment to the prime minister. Singh would like to pull up the minister who leaked the cabinet proceedings to the press. The problem is that the minister is not from the Congress but from a UPA ally.

Home truths err

Home Secretary R K Singh remained in the shadows when P Chidambaram was his boss. Now that Sushilkumar Shinde is minister, Singh has frequently shot off his mouth in public. The Verma Commission pulled him up for giving a pat on the back to the police in the wake of the brutal gang rape in Delhi which outraged public opinion. Singh also raised eyebrows by his indiscreet observation to the media that during the interaction between his boss Shinde and Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik, he had to keep nudging the minister to ensure that he did not go soft. Now the IAF chief N A K Browne has reacted angrily to a letter written by the home secretary to the defence ministry asking it to take action against the IAF crew for abandoning an injured constable in a Naxal-infested region of Chhattisgarh. Browne accused Singh of speaking out of turn publicly without knowing all the facts.

Not such a novice

When he took over as Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chavan was considered a greenhorn who would not be able to handle well-entrenched local politicians and cooperative body heads from NCP and from his own party. But Chavan is not quite as wet behind the ears as is made out by his opponents. For instance, last week, for a by-election to the legislative council, he managed to reach a consensus on the candidature of former Congress MLA Muzaffar Hussain. None of the other political parties, including both factions of the Shiv Sena, the BJP, and the NCP, will be fielding a candidate. In fact, since he became CM two years ago there have been over half-a-dozen contests to either the Rajya Sabha or the Maharashtra Legislative Council and in each case, Chavan has been able to work out a consensus with leaders from other political parties so that candidates are elected unanimously.

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