Pictures of Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul outside RML Hospital with the angry family of former Union minister E Ahamed caused panic among the government ranks on the eve of Budget.
The Opposition was sure that Ahamed was already dead and that authorities were only delaying the announcement to ensure the Budget was presented on February 1 itself. The government, on its part, was searching for the right precedent to convince the Opposition that the Budget can go on.
Senior ministers woke up the Speaker and members of the Lok Sabha Secretariat and requested them to find a way out. Another call went to Congress leader Manish Tewari. His father died in 1984 while he was a Rajya Sabha MP but the House went ahead with Budget business after an obit reference. It soon occurred that this was not a good idea, for the Opposition had walked out that day.
Finally, the bright members of the research team came up with two incidents: In 1954, MP Jujhar Pal died on Rail Budget day but the House had decided to go ahead. And in 1974, when Indira Gandhi was PM, the Budget went on despite the death of MB Rana.
The day was saved. Arun Jaitley read out his Budget after the House made an obit reference to E Ahamed.
Quipped a member of the Lok Sabha Secretariat team which came up with that piece of research: "Never before had we stepped into the House library, but that night we had to.
Despite all that talk of unity in Punjab Congress team, we hear there is no love lost between the captain and his new star batsman.
Insiders give us an account of how bad things are between Captain Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu with just a few days left for Congress to announce its CM face. All attempts by the Amarinder camp to get in touch with Sidhu and finalise a schedule for rallies haven't got any response. Ahead of Rahul Gandhi's "spate of rallies", Sidhu could not be contacted. The mood in the Sidhu camp is this — "why should we listen to him when we are no lesser”.
The acrimony that festered between the two during the time Sidhu was in no man's land also shows no sign of abating. "He is Sidhu and he never forgets the word used by Amarinder for him," said an aide of the cricketer-turned politician. For the record, the captain had called him a "sneaky fellow".
To make matter worse, there are posters up in Sidhu's Amritsar saying he will be the chief ministerial candidate. At this rate, the Congress dreads to think how Sidhu will react the day Rahul announces Amarinder as the CM face.
There is one Indian minister who missed out on becoming an Emirati sheikh for a few months.
This was revealed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the delegation-level meeting between the Indian and UAE sides. Modi, who shares a personal rapport with UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, started talking to him on governance and about the implementation of government schemes.
Suddenly, Modi turned towards Nitin Gadkari and said the Crown Prince wanted to take the Indian surface transport minister back to Abu Dhabi for a year. The reason: he wanted Gadkari's services in his own country to speed up delayed projects. Apparently, Gadkari's reputation for removing bureaucratic roadblocks had travelled beyond the seas.
At the end of the delegation-level talks, the two sides signed a clutch of MoUs. But no, Gadkari stays back in Delhi.
The Karnataka government is in the eye of a mediastorm over pictures of women being molested on the streets of Bengaluru on New Year's Eve. State Home Minister G Parameshwara fuelled further outrage with his initial quote "such things happen". There were questions raised over the functioning of the police. They were fears that the city is no longer safe for women at night as it used to be.
The whisper in the corridors of Sachivalaya is that in the midst of all these, the state government was busy with its own internal probe. They suspected that a section of the police force was trying to "defame the city". And their suspicion narrowed down to a couple of "disgruntled" top cops.
The is the theory they are working on. On December 31, when Bengaluru got a new police commissioner, an IPS officer who had an eye on the post was "terribly upset". He then passed on "select" CCTV footage to a local TV channel and then asked the reporter to "share" it with friends in the media. He was also "helped" by another senior police officer.
The buzz is that the CM's men have with them enough evidence against the cops, including intercepted telephone calls. The final narrative for them: It was a case of sour grapes behind the "conspiracy" to defame the city.
At the recently concluded national executive meet of the BJP, one incident raised the hackles of many who were present.
When Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan was making a presentation on the development initiatives he has undertaken in his state, he was interrupted thrice by party chief Amit Shah.
Remember, Chauhan was one of the leaders who in 2014 was dubbed as a potential rival to Narendra Modi.
Sushma Swaraj had even mentioned Chauhan's model of growth in Madhya Pradesh as more inclusive than Modi's Gujarat.
So when Shah told him to hurry up and conclude, not once but thrice, Chauhan's unease was felt by many who were around.