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Food committee chairman objected to railway minister Piyush Goyal’s move to bring food from state bhavans to Parliament canteen; the proposal finally got Speaker’s nod.

A row was brewing recently between Union railway minister Piyush Goyal and the food committee of Parliament about the food MPs eat. Normally it comes under the jurisdiction of the parliamentary committee comprising members from various parties, headed by Jitender Reddy (Telangana Rashtra Samithi).

The controversy began when the enthusiastic railway minister (the railways supply the subsidised food for MPs) wanted to introduce delicacies from various bhavans or state guest houses in this session. The first to respond was naturally Gujarat Bhavan and the MPs were pleasantly surprised to get theplasdhoklas and other Gujarati delicacies on the first day of the current session.

However, within hours it had to be stopped because the food committee chairman Reddy put his foot down and claimed that outside food cannot be brought and supplied. When the minister got to know of it, he quickly got into the act and sought the help of the Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who is the final authority in Parliament. Naturally the Speaker would not like to displease the government, and agreed to the railway minister’s suggestion. 

Reddy, who was miffed that he was not consulted, had no other go than to fall in with the wishes of the Speaker. The result is that now the MPs will get to eat Gujarat delicacies this week, Kashmiri food next week and Odisha food in the last week of the current monsoon session.

Old guards happy with Gujarat poll results

Gujarat seems to have taught a lesson to both parties by clipping the wings of the BJP and taking the Congress just close to a win.  Interestingly, the old guards in both the BJP and the Congress are quite happy about the results but for different reasons.

Senior BJP leaders such as Murli Manohar Joshi, a member of the party’s ‘margdarshak committee’ and others who have been sidelined in the present regime, are watching with glee the embarrassment of Modi and Shah in their home state. In private conversations they admit that the tally of just 99 in Gujarat has clipped the wings of the Modi-Shah duo and feel that the Modi magic is waning.

Similarly, the Congress old guard is also happy that the party has improved but Rahul has not won the state.  A top leader like Ahmed Patel, who is on his way out, had even said in television interviews that the party lost because the local leaders had been ignored. While credit is given to new Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the old guard feared that if the Congress had made it, Rahul would have become too powerful and arrogant and might have ignored them completely.

Will Sharad Yadav get re-nominated to Rajya Sabha?

Rebel JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav is a sad man today. He has been disqualified from Rajya Sabha early this month based on the complaint of the JD (U) led by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.  He was elected for a six-year term only last year.  His fight with Nitish has now ended up as a misadventure. He has to vacate his bungalow on Tughlak Road from where the rival JD (U) office functions. His political future is also bleak. All this happening to someone who was hoping to be the presidential candidate of the opposition in July!  His presidential ambitions came to nought when Nitish put a spoke in his wheel.

Not wanting to wither away, Sharad Yadav hopes to get re-nominated to the Upper House when vacancies arise from Bihar early next year.  There will be six vacancies of which the RJD can get two, BJP one and Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) two. The fight will be for the sixth seat. Sharad Yadav hopes that the Congress and the RJD can together nominate him.  The question is whether they will do so or are they only paying lip sympathy. 

Meanwhile, he has also filed an appeal in a high court on his disqualification and got partial relief to retain his bungalow for the time being but will not be able attend Parliament. Sharad Yadav believes that if he is not in mainstream politics, his future is almost finished. Winning his court case might take years. A ray of hope has now come, as his faction, contesting under the symbol of the Bharatiya Tribal Party, has won two of the five seats it contested in Gujarat while the Nitish faction did not win a single seat.

BJP headquarters to shift near ITO 

 The BJP will soon have a new swanky headquarters on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Road near ITO. The multi-crore building is almost ready for inauguration early next year. Only last year, a two-acre plot had been allotted to the BJP party office.  Though the headquarters on Ashoka Road saw the construction of an auditorium and several office rooms during the tenure of Nitin Gadkari as BJP chief, the ruling party feels it needs a larger space and more facilities.

The seven-storey new office will have 70 rooms. It will have an underground parking lot, several conference rooms, auditoriums, studios for spokespersons and leaders to participate in TV debates, a well-equipped library, documentation centre and reading room, spacious media centre, eateries and coffee shops. A helipad was also suggested althoughrailways minister Piyush Goyal, who was the party treasurer, denies such a proposal. The Congress too was allotted land but has made no progress in building an office after a bhoomi poojan in 2014.

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