Central Hall Tales: New Raksha Mantri assumes charge amid rich vedic chants

opinion | Thursday, September 7th, 2017
R Rajagopalan

India's first full-time woman Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, assumed office on Thursday. 

Tamil Iyer vedic pandits, chanted slokas as she took charge. A small Ganesha idol was also given to her after the pandits performed pujas. Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, was present during the ceremony and being a Brahmin, removed his shoes during the puja.  

According to sources from MOD, several senior officials and defence personnel were present at the office as the new Raksha Mantri took charge.

Her appointment as the new Raksha Mantri had raised eyebrows. Especially, considering how back in 2013, the plans to bring her to Rajya Sabha was vehemently opposed by Sushma Swaraj and other BJP leaders. It was Arun Jaitley who had then recommended her name. But in four years, a lot has changed and overnight Nirmala Sitharaman saw herself rise in the echelons of power.

Now in 2017,  Sushma Swaraj will have to share space with Nirmala Sitharaman as Members of the CCS - Cabinet Committee on Security which is the highest policy making the body of the Union Cabinet on national security matters. 

The other members of the CCS are Rajnath Singh Home Minister and Arun Jaitley Finance Minister. Nirmala Sitharaman elevation is an indication of Prime Minister mind set. 
Performance and upright dignity pays rich dividends, say BJP leaders. 

Frequent-flyer Naidu and governor's dilemma

Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu travels a lot. He zig zags India. This has been his habit not only as BJP  President but also Union Minister. Naidu will not stay over night anywhere. He hops from one airport to other at least three times a day. But as Vice President of India Naidu is entitled to have a special aircraft. Naidu has a good habit of touching any cities in Andhra Pradesh whenever he visits any south Indian city. Now, this has put most of the Governors of South India in a tight spot. For example, Naidu visited Mumbai and Tamil Nadu.

Protocol demands that Governor should receive Vice President at the tarmac. This put Governor Vidyasagar Rao in quite some dilemma.  How to be present in Mumbai as well in Chennai as he is holding Tamil Nadu as Additional charge as Governor. So in order to resolve this issue, Vidyasagar Rao travelled with Naidu, but got down first and received him at Mumbai as Governor of Maharashtra. 

Another  Governor who is to receive him on a weekly basis is ESL Narasimhan, Governor of Andhra Pradesh.Reason Venkaiah Naidu visits Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Godavari regularly to attend social engagements. Governor has to be at these cities to receive the Vice President. Protocol at times becomes a major hindrance to private life of Governors

Respect thy elders

Giriraj Singh took charge as Union Minister of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises from Pandit Kalraj Mishra.

The Nawada MP from Bihar, Giriraj Singh refused to sit in the chair which was occupied by Kalraj Mishra. "No I will not sit."

Pandit Mishraji is senior to me in BJP and also in age. But Kalraj Mishra the outgoing Minister pacified him and said "for a couple of seconds, please occupy it in front of me." The reason it is an official function. Here there is no seniority or juniority. 


R Rajagopalan is a senior correspondent in New Delhi. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect those of Asianet Newsable

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