AR Antulay had lost his chief ministership of Maharashtra for allegedly collecting money in Indira Gandhi’s name. In Mayawati’s Uttar Pradesh, the state education minister has been collecting a portion of the grant meant for Sanskrit schools in Behenji’s name.
The new Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni has been making the right noises in her first 40 days in office. If she continues on the right track she could as well score the perfect 10.
The root-shaped Italian peninsula stretches 800 km southwards into the Mediterranean, while the Alps form a natural boundary to the north. This beautiful country which attracts millions of tourists each year, played host to the G8 Summit recently. Brajesh Kumar met up with Roberto Toscano, Italian Ambassador to India, to discuss G8 and other issues.
The joint Indo-Pak declaration at the Egypt resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh has received some hyper reactions for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh back home. But was it really a sell out?
Prithviraj Chavan is one of those Congressmen who enjoys the confidence of both the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi and carries a heavy load of work in UPA II. He was Minister of State (MoS) in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) through the first term of UPA, and Dr Manmohan Singh was reluctant to let go of him when the UPA came back to power. Sonia Gandhi was keen for him to continue in the Department of Personnel, which oversees the work of the CBI among other things. And yet there was the problem of keeping him on as a minister of state, when his contemporaries were being elevated and he had performed well. As a result, Prithviraj Chavan finds himself in a curious position today. He is MoS PMO and MoS DoPT and MoS Parliamentary Affairs, and all three positions are powerful and critical for the UPA in its new avtar. In addition, he is Minister of State (independent charge) of Science and Technology and for Earth Sciences, and is one of those who has a grasp of economic, political and scientific matters. And he is known for his upright image. A Maratha - his family have been staunch loyalists of the Gandhi-Nehru family over the last 40 years and more – his name was in the reckoning for Chief Minister of Maharashtra at various times when the party was contemplating removing Vilasrao Deshmukh. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) laid claim to his constituency in western Maharashtra in the alliance forged between the two parties. Prithviraj Chavan, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha, was among those who had made a case for the Congress going it alone in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Maharashtra. He spoke with Neerja Chowdhury on the tasks before the government:
The Ambanis and Reliance have always benefited from favourable government rules. The latest is a tax break that the government has quietly included in its Union Budget 2009 which could end up making Mukesh Ambani richer by Rs 20,000 crore. The new provision provides for 100 per cent tax deduction on setting up and operating natural gas or oil pipeline in the first year. Strangely, Mukesh Ambani's company is the only one which fits the bill.