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Deep Throat

A regular column on the essential buzz

Deep Throat
Illustration by Saahil
Deep Throat
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New Delhi
No Leftovers?

When the BJP-led NDA assumed power last year, PM Narendra Modi was categorical that no personal secretary who had worked under UPA ministers should be appointed by his ministers. As a result, when Union home minister Rajnath Singh proposed the name of IPS officer Alok Singh’s name, it was rejected as he was with ex-external affairs minister Salman Khur­shid. The choices of MoS Kiren Rijiju and Gen V.K. Singh (retd) too were turned down. It even led to a senior minister openly telling all within earshot that power was getting so centralised in the Modi sarkar he couldn’t even appoint his own secretary. Now, the grapevine has it that Union finance minister Arun Jaitley has recently appoin­ted an officer who was with Sac­hin Pilot during the UPA government. The corridors of power are abuzz over whether an exception has been made or the original pol­icy has met its expiry date.


Bihar
Tickets To Ride

The Congress party is still reeling over the windfall that’s come their way—it’s been given 40 seats—in the seat-sharing pact for the looming state elections. The grand old party could not even get five seats in 2009, so the largesse in allotment (the JD(U) and RJD have given themselves 100 seats each) has sent the grand old party into a tizzy. It’s also put an outraged NCP out of the putative non-BJP alliance. Word on the street is Congr­ess leaders had gone crying to Rahul Gandhi complaining of being negl­ected. Now that their demand has been met, they don’t know what to do with so many seats as finding “winnable” candidates is not easy. State Congress chief Ashok Chaudhary is seeking a tic­ket for his wife but the rest are likely to filled by bench-warmers.


West Bengal
Friendly Fire

The cold vibes between state Congress strongman Adhir Chowdhury and veteran Manas Bhuniyan have entered the freeze zone. So much so, the latter wasn’t even consul­ted before a 12-hour Bengal bandh was called to demand a probe into the killing of a cam­pus student murder. In a direct signal to Bhuniyan, who felt the strike would expose the party’s poor presence in the state, Chaudhury lent his weight to it. The squabbling between their respective camps is said to be further damaging the party’s chances of a possible fair showing in the assembly polls next year.


Maharashtra
Clash Of The Hackers

Ever since Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj got ensnared in Lalitgate, the key question has been: who was behind the leak of all those incriminating e-mails which found its way to the media? One version has it that former BCCI boss man N. Srinivasan had hired the services of a professional hacking company—possibly Israeli—to get into Lalit Modi’s computers. What they discovered was found useful by some in the BJP to cut colleagues to size. Now, an influential Congress politician, who himself is a high functionary in the BCCI, has been heard saying the hacking was all “mutual”. Apparently, Modi too had got a cyber-hacking company to enter the inboxes of his bete noire. Unfortunately, Sushma got sin­ged in the clash of the hackers.


Heard: A top babu, caught in a disproportionate assets case, has transferred assets to his wife and divorced her, in a bid to save himself.

Overheard: “Red Fort one day, Dubai the next, Bihar the day after. If not the Nobel for peace, PM Modi will qualify for Nobel for speech.”


Contributed by Meetu Jain, Bula Devi, Ushinor Majumdar, Dola Mitra and Pritam Sengupta

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