Delhi Confidential: The CDS question

army chief

THE DEATH of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash last December had triggered speculation about his possible successor. But four months later, the government is yet to announce a name. Army Chief General M M Naravane, who retires at the end of the month, is considered to be a leading contender for the post. However, a tweet by the Defence Accounts Department late Monday evening led to some curiosity. The handle tweeted a photo of General Naravane receiving his pension payment order. There is speculation in South Block corridors on whether or not he will become the CDS. A section believes people are reading too much into it. In 2019, it was widely expected that General Rawat would become the first CDS. But the announcement came just a day before he was to retire as Army Chief..

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EARLIER THIS year, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had referred a petition submitted by TMC MP Sudip Bandopadhyay under the anti-defection law against Kanthi MP Sisir Adhikari to the Committee of Privileges. Adhikari, who had won the Lok Sabha seat in 2019 on a TMC ticket, had joined the BJP ahead of the 2020 West Bengal Assembly polls. On Tuesday, Bandopadhyay was supposed to present oral evidence before the committee, which was announced through a notice on April 8. However, it is learnt that Bandopadhyay, who is the TMC’s Lok Sabha parliamentary party leader, did not show up for the meeting.

Tribal cause

KEEPING HIS word, actor and BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala Suresh Gopi took a group of tribal medicine experts from the tribal-dominated district of Wayanad and Attappadi in Palakkad district to meet Union Minister of Ayush Sarbanand Sonowal here last week. Gopi said he got to know of their problems during a tour of the tribal areas and promised all possible help. They want to be recognised as traditional medicine practitioners and allowed to collect herbs from inside forests which they are not allowed to currently. Wayanad is also Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency, but Gopi said his actions should not be seen in political light and that he has been taking up issues of the downtrodden. Sonowal promised to discuss the issues when he visits Kerala later this month.

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