West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Benerjee during Lok Sabha election campaign in Visakhapatnam, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo: PTI
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
(pictured) was in New Delhi for the last three days. Apart from meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, and Home Minister Amit Shah, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, and also West Bengal cadre bureaucrats on Thursday, she also hosted journalists for lunch at New Delhi’s Banga Bhavan. Banerjee, however, did not partake of the Bengali spread. She said she took only a bowl of curd for lunch, and stuck to a non-carbohydrate diet for dinner, not eating either rice or bread for the past 20 years. Apart from running her party and the state, Banerjee keeps herself busy sketching and painting and also writing poetry. She plans to release seven songs — she has written the lyrics and scored the music herself — during the Durga Puja festivities. She said she had taught herself to sketch whatever she saw from her car when she was on the road rather than fiddle with her phone.
Guess which surname has the largest share in the list of 13 principal secretaries who have served the prime ministers of India in the last half a century. If you ignore the difference in how they spell their surnames, Mishra has so far won this race by a wide margin. As many as four Mishras have till now headed the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). That is almost a third of all principal secretaries at the PMO so far. Of course, one of them, Nripendra, would spell his surname Misra. But the three others spelt their surnames Mishra and they were: S K Mishra, who served Chandra Shekhar, Brajesh Mishra, who served Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and P K Mishra, who is now serving Narendra Modi. One of the Mishras is ahead of the rest in another area — holding the office for the shortest time. S K Mishra held it for six months and 13 days!
The next MP Congress chief?
Who will be the next Madhya Pradesh Congress president? There are many contenders and each one is confident about his prospects. But bitter infighting has made the choice difficult for party’s President Sonia Gandhi. After former state unit chief Arun Yadav tweeted his unhappiness recently — “I fought for 15 years with the help of faithful party workers. If I had any clue about what was going to happen in the next eight months, I might not have put my life in danger fighting with a poisonous and corrupt ideology. I am really hurt” — Gandhi called him to Delhi and had a 20-minute one-to-one meeting, fuelling speculation that he was the top contender for the post. Yadav held the post for four years and was succeeded by Kamal Nath just six months before the Assembly polls last year.