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Deep Throat

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Deep Throat
Illustration by Saahil
Deep Throat
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New Delhi
Minimum Government?

While the Prime Minister’s Office has resolutely stonewalled RTI activists’ attempts to glean information on what Narendra Modi eats, wears and does, and at what expense, a list floating around in Lutyens’ Delhi suggests that the PMO has never been so bloated as today. The list is said to name as many as 550 people posted at Modi’s PMO as against 250-odd in Manmohan Singh’s time. Among them are khansamas who ser­ved the pradhan sevak when he was Gujarat CM, and some who are not even eligible for government jobs as they have not completed their schooling. One more example of the PM’s centralised working style?


New Delhi
Well-Oiled Snub

Never mess around with your boss’s friends; a lesson petroleum minister Dharmen­dra Pra­dhan may have learnt. Three corporate heavyweights who went to meet him were asked to contribute to the party funds in poll-bound Assam. When told they had contrib­u­ted to the central party fund and Amit Shah knew about it, Pradhan ensured they knew he was mif­fed. Next time the suits came visiting, he  made them wait for an hour. They headed out without meeting him, taking their complaint to Shah, who in turn brought it to the PM’s notice. Reshuffle now is a word Pradhan fears.


Madhya Pradesh
Twice Bitten

After the Rohith Vemula episode, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Cho­uhan has gone soft on two Dalit IAS officers, who were crying pers­ecution. The duo had taken part in a dha­rna against the BJP regime and attended a programme organi­sed by the Congress, in which they launched an acerbic attack on Chouhan. Foll­owing this, there was talk of disciplinary action against the two. But a senior cabinet mini­ster invited one of the officers home for a closed-door meeting and said the CM would meet them and “all their problems would be sorted out”. The mellowing of the government, though, made the lady offi­cer up her ante. If all the char­ges against her weren’t dropped, she said, she’d set herself on fire.


New Delhi
Access Control

Notwithstanding official denials, the post of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library director was indeed offered to a comme­ntator who is also on the board of a corporate house. The backpedalling happened because the appointee sensibly demanded that the post carry the rank of a secretary to the government. Even former UPA appointees to cultural bodies agree that with ‘director’-level officers control­ling scores of bodies, it is impossible to get work done unless the heads of cultural bodies have direct access to the secretary and can have one-on-one discussions on issues.


Heard Lala Lajpat Rai, an icon from the early stages of the freedom struggle, is in the race for a Bharat Ratna as the BJP tries to regain lost ground for the Punjab assembly elections due next year.

Overheard Amitabh Kant topped the interviews among 56 contenders to be CCI chief but the PMO wanted him “in the government”, which is how he landed the assignment as NITI Aayog CEO.


Contributed by Uttam Sengupta, Prarthana Gahilote, K.S. Shaini and Pritam Sengupta

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