Baba’s US date
The US may not yet be in a mood to change its visa policy for Narendra Modi but one of his key backers, Baba Ramdev, is all set to address the interfaith meet at Chicago later this week to commemorate the 120th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s speech. The meeting has been organised by the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, a conglomerate of Hindu organisations.
While Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) president Kuldeep Bishnoi was present on the dais at Narendra Modi’s rally on Sunday, he was not asked to address the gathering despite the fact that his party is part of NDA. Apart from ex-Armymen, a host of leaders spoke, but the decision to leave Bishnoi out has set tongues wagging in the opposition party. The BJP’s alliance with Bishnoi is patronised by Sushma Swaraj who had even announced at a rally in Haryana last year that Bishnoi would have the first right to be the Chief Minister when the BJP-HJC alliance comes to power.
The ongoing tussle over the post of Railway Board chairman has now reached the PMO and the Cabinet Secretary. An association of senior Group A officers in the Railways has written to them seeking their intervention in favour of R S Virdi, Northeast Frontier Railway General Manager who had been chargesheeted earlier by the CVC thereby eliminating him from the race. The Federation of Railway Officers’ Association has demanded that the CVC may be asked to reconsider its chargesheet because a 10-year-old vigilance case against Virdi was opened to deliberately stall his chances as he was tipped to be the chairman. The federation has warned in the letter that it would issue an advisory to all its officers to “be careful” before following orders from superiors.
The Foreign Secretary was in Kathmandu over the weekend. While her visit was pre-scheduled, it coincided with a particularly intense period of negotiations over elections in Nepal. A Maoist radical splinter faction, which had threatened to boycott and obstruct polls, said Friday it would participate but demanded that the November 19 date be deferred to next April. All eyes were on whether India would insist on sticking to the date or advise flexibility. The Foreign Secretary’s statement that India wanted polls on the scheduled date hence made it to the front pages of Nepali papers, and is being read as an indication that Delhi