| (From left) Nitish Kumar, P Chidambaram and Monazir Hasan |
Patna, April 10: Here’s something that has left Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s office aghast and will probably leave the usually unflappable Union home minister, P. Chidambaram, a little red in the face.
A letter signed by Chidambaram and sent to the Bihar home minister on April 4 has been addressed to one “Dr Monazir Hasan, Home Minister, Government of Bihar”. It begins “Dear Hasanji” and proceeds to invite “Hasanji” for a meeting regarding atrocities on people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes scheduled in New Delhi for April 17.
It so happens, Bihar has never had a home minister by that name. Besides, Nitish has been Bihar's home minister ever since he assumed power in 2005.
Incidentally, Hasan is a member of the Lok Sabha from Begusarai and belongs to the JD(U). He was the minister of building construction in the Nitish government between 2005 and 2009. But he is not known to have been re-inducted as the home minister since.
The incumbent Union home secretary, R.K. Singh, is from Bihar and has a long record of service in the state, a fair bit of it under the chief ministership of Nitish.
The question remains is how did the goof slip through such veteran hands and get initialled by an even greater veteran? No guesses.
In the meantime, the chief minister's office is affronted enough to see it as “evidence of the anti-federal nature” of the UPA government. “This is proof not only of the inefficiency of the Union home ministry, but also of its utter disregard for state governments. They don't even bother checking who the home minister of a state is,” a source in the chief minister's office said.