Archive | May, 2018

Smriti’s Sad Memories

Posted on 21 May 2018 by admin

The sudden divesting of motor-mouth, high profile Smriti Irani from the very prominent Information and Broadcasting Ministry, and clothing her barely with just the textile ministry has seen mountains of eyebrows raised due to this tectonic shift. Is her downscaling the result of her peremptory disclosure of Modi’s media muscling plans over ‘fake news’, or of her long and bitter battle with Prasar Bharati CEO Surya Prakash? Shastri Bhavan corridors are rife with whispers that her latest gaffe had been over inviting President Kovind to the ceremony for the annual National Films Awards. It is said that Irani had used the formal channels, as she should have, to formally write to the President, but she had the temerity of not personally and informally handing over that invitation to Kovind, which has been the norm over decades, and the prez, upset mightily, had made his ire known to the Prime Minister’s Office. This is perhaps why the President’s office decided to limit his presence to just one hour at the awards ceremony, which poured much oil into an already raging fire in the intellectual and film community, embarrassing the government to mightily.

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Rawat’s Liquor Brothers

Posted on 21 May 2018 by admin

The darling of the Sangh, the hill state Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat makes all efforts to stay away from the headlines, but somehow or the other, a headwind hits him every now and then and he hogs the media gloss. Last year, when the Supreme Court had banned liquor shops from 500 metres of National Highways, Rawat had shifted them all to state highways. Now the situation is that liquor is being sold from even the smallest of grocery shops. The opposition has not just raised a din of Himalayan proportions, they have even alleged that some of the CM’s seven brothers are promoting this liquor mafia. The scale of the allegation is such that the party’s Delhi mandarins will not be able to easily brush off.

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Modi: US’ Pyongyang Mediator?

Posted on 21 May 2018 by admin

General (Retd) VK Singh, state minister for foreign affairs, is facing an opposition barrage over his recent and curious North Korea visit. Initially, the Central government had been highly secretive about the visit, but when a North Korean media agency released the pictures of the visit, the Centre hastily summoned up the excuse that Singh had been to Pyongyang for exchanging India’s Yoga expertise with North Korea’s traditional medicinal systems (why the health minister was not sent remains a key issue, though). But the Opposition has not bought into that frail argument. Instead, it alleges a misuse of India’s long-standing good relation with Pyongyang to smoothen down the feathers ruffled just before the summit between US president Donald Trump and North Korean maverick Kim Jong-un. Was Singh sent to pour oil on the troubled waters over the Modi government’s unseemly commitment to the recently romanced US? This seems BJP’s old habit that dies hard, for one will not forget that in 1998, under BJP’s Atal Behari Vajpayee regime, the then minister of state for Information & Broadcasting, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, had been sent to North Korea, an international pariah, to attend a film festival.

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Aishwarya to head Rahul’s social media battalion?

Posted on 21 May 2018 by admin

With the defeat of the Congress in Karnataka, the process of introspection has started within the party, and so has been the shunting of the previous state chief minister Siddaramaiah to the deep freezer. Akbar Road insiders insist that Sid is being chastised because during the pre-poll distribution of party tickets, he had shut his ears to the suggestions of Delhi party bosses, the most glaring example being Aishwarya Mahadev, party president Rahul Gandhi’s favourite, denied the ticket from the RK Nagar constituency. Rahul’s insistence had been based on the fact that Aishwarya’s father, M Mahadev, had been a highly popular Congress leader and had consistently won from the constituency. After his demise, his daughter, Aishwarya, had joined politics. She is a Pennsylvania University alumnus with a degree in computer science engineering, and had been the most prominent face during all of Rahul’s press meets during his US sojourn. It is also being said that she is the only person capable of replacing former southern cine star Divya Spandana as head of the Congress’ social media war-room boss. There are rather loud whispers doing the rounds about Divya Spandana aka Ramya, whose ‘close’ relationship with liquor baron and fugitive billionaire Vijay Mallya is what is called a well-known secret. There have been scandalising media reports that Divya had spent a cosy 2010 holiday in Hong Kong with the ‘wine-n-woman’ glitzy ‘bank fraud’. Divya on her part has never denied her ‘friendship’.

Siddaramaiah had ignored Rahul’s decision to let Aishwarya to contest from KR Nagar, and instead given the ticket to one Ravi Shankar, who had lost the seat in the previous state polls too, whereas Janata Dal (S)’s candidate SR Mahesh has scored a hat-trick, winning three elections in a series from the same constituency.

Now sources say that Aishwarya is being considered by Rahul for a top slot in his social media generals.

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Naidu: BJP’s Bete Noire

Posted on 21 May 2018 by admin

Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu is making much noise over the fact that it is the ire of his state’s people that ended in the BJP losing close to a dozen or more seats in the Karnataka polls. It is well known that after quitting the now shame-faced National Democratic Alliance run by the Modi-Shah duo last year, Naidu had been repeatedly telling Andhra residents in Karnataka to give the duo and its BJP a solid licking. There are 46 Assembly seats in Karnataka with more than 50,000 Andhra voters. Of these, BJP has won just five, whereas Congress has won 32 and JDS, nine.

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Sharad’s dreams

Posted on 21 May 2018 by admin

Sharad Yadav is said to be working full steam to set up his new political party, with the proposed name of Loktantric Janata Dal. It is being said too that all politicians fed-up with so-called ‘sushasan babu’ Nitish Kumar are likely to power Yadav’s elbows. One hears that the Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala, Virendra Kumar, and Gujarat MLA Chhotu Bhaiya Basawa will also support him. Those in the know also say that Yadav’s proposed new party is not only receiving tacit support from the Aam Aadmi Party but that the AAP boss Arvind Kejriwal is in daily touch with Yadav.

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Karnataka: BJP’s base camp of reality

Posted on 21 May 2018 by admin

Looks like it is a one-off reassertion of democracy in India’s southern climes, with the punch-drunk BJP having to accept being licked, what with Yeddyurappa had to resign as CM of Karnataka, after being foisted to the post, post-haste by a sleight of hand by the party which seemed unassailable after its massive win at the Centre in 2014. The bravado of party boss Amit Shah and his so-called electoral magic is licking the dust now.
Questions that had been raised about the Constitutional validity of the Karnataka governor ushering a minority party to power on the grounds of its being the single largest party. The Opposition had taken the issue to the Supreme Court, under a ‘soft’ chief, which had disallowed. We may well remind you of our former President, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, who had propounded this theory of inviting the ‘single largest party’ to form the government. It may be recalled that Dr Sharma’s standing as a legal expert was beyond reproach. After all, he had done his LLM from Cambridge University and his PhD from Harvard.
However, it seemed patently unconstitutional of the apex court to give Yeddyurappa a full fortnight to prove his party’s strength in the Assembly.
The bench of Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobode and Justice Ashok Bhushan had earlier dismissed a petition against the CJI, known to be close to the BJP. Thus, though it seemed that the constitution of the bench had been advantageous to the ruling juggernaut at the Centre, its Karnataka decision (of giving the BJP just two days to prove its majority) has firmly reaffirmed democratic norms in the country.
The BJP seemed weak-kneed in the legal amphitheatre, with the Congress running its battery of legal top guns such as Salman Khurshid, Abhishek Manu Sanghvi, Kapil Sibal and P Chidambaram, whereas the BJP limped around with just Mukul Rohtagi and Tushar Mehta, who are legal mercenaries merely working for fees.
The BJP ought to learn several lessons from being matted in Karnataka. Especially that when you are at the top of power, even unsurpassable mountains seem like mere small hillocks, but when you are forced to confront them, they bring you down to the base camp of reality!

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PK’s Jagan Trauma Down Under

Posted on 21 May 2018 by admin

The ‘poll magician’ and strategist royale, Prashant Kumar, better known in his abridged version as just PK, may seem to be running into fortunes working for youth leader of Andhra Pradesh, Jagan Mohan, but the loose ends in his tunic are showing. PK had started off his latest business with many circuses, rashly opening grand offices in Vijayawada and Tirupati and hiring an army of workers. Bees and birds from the state say that he rushed into a major survey of all the state Assembly seats and met Jagan with a list of who should be given tickets to ensure the party’s sweep in the state polls. To top it, he landed Jagan’s office a huge financial demand. This has irked the Andhra youth tiger to no end, and scuttlebutt is, he told PK to stick to a ground level survey and work out a strategy, and leave decisions of who will get the tickets to the party. Rumours are that PK had proposed a three-digit commission for his consultancy, but Jagan has decimated it to a single digit. PK is mightily upset, but worse, people say that his battery of workers has been unpaid for all of three months now. PK now realises that unlike his previous hirers, Modi, Akhilesh, Rahul or Nitish, Jagan is unfashionably parsimonious.

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Maya’s masterstroke in Kairana

Posted on 14 May 2018 by admin

Mayawati has well-equipped herself with the latest trends of politics. Now neither her political tactics nor her heart is anymore in stringent straits. The flexibility maybe seemingly new but this time her presence was felt on the turf of Karnataka as well and her alliance with JD(S) in the assembly polls was an indication of her new open-armed approach.
When the Samajwadi Party and Janta Dal were tussling over who will field their contender from Kairana and Noorpur constituencies, whilst Akhilesh Yadav was firm on SP contesting from Kairana and JD from Noorpur and Jayant Chaudhary was not convinced with his stand – on which Yadav’s solution was JD should merge with SP to field their contender – ‘Behenji’ played a masterstroke.
As soon as Maya got to know of the difference of opinion that was shaping up, she rung up Akhilesh and said, “Let Janta Dal have Kairana. The election symbol will be of JD, but the contender will be that of SP. Otherwise if by any chance the contender ends up facing defeat here, both SP and BSP will lose their Phulpur-Gorakhpur victory momentum. So its better to let Janta Dal be on the front of Kairana. If they win, they’ll return favour by joining hands with us in 2019, and if they lose nothing will be on our stake. Plus, this way they’ll not be able to ask for much from us in 2019.”
Akhilesh well received Maya’s message and also understood that ‘Behenji’ is on fire to make a comeback.

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Scindia at Jaitley’s party

Posted on 14 May 2018 by admin

Sources tell that senior saffron leader Arun Jaitley has found a kidney donor and in the days to come his kidney transplant will be possible. A few days back, when he returned from the hospital, then as a welcome back, one of his close friends and areputed Delhi lawyer hosted a dinner party for him. Only a selected few were invited to the party and the dinner was also supposed to take place between 7 pm and 9 pm.
Sources also tell that one of the invitees of the dinner was Madhya Pradesh’s renowned leader Jyotiraditya Scindia. When the dinner was at its best, then a journalist jokingly asked Scindia when is he becoming the CM of MP. “As soon as Rahul Gandhi will become the PM,” the reply came. On this the journalist asked, “Do you really think Rahul will become the PM this time?” Scindia witted, “The answer to this lies with Arun uncle.”

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