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BJP leaders want JNU shut down, but Team Modi has its share of university’s alumni

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The Modi government and its JNU members

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has become a constant irritant for the Narendra Modi-led NDA government with its frequent protest marches, the latest over the hostel fee hike at the university.

Ruling BJP leaders such as Subramanian Swamy and Prabhat Jha have trained their guns at the ‘red bastion’, demanding closure of the university for two years to purge it of “anti-social” elements. Such demands may have left many in the government, including ministers and bureaucrats, squirming but they have chosen to remain silent.

Both Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are from JNU. Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer of Niti Aayog, the federal think tank, also studied in JNU. About half-a-dozen secretaries in the central government have Masters and PhD degrees from the university. These include DoPT Secretary C. Chandramouli, Minorities Affairs Secretary Pramod Kumar Das, Higher Education Secretary R. Subhramanyam and the Secretary, Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Guruprasad Mohapatra. J.N. Singh, Chief Secretary of PM Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat, as also Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy are also JNU alumni.

Kejriwal promises ‘pilgrimage’ to Haldighati, Wagah for the elderly

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been writing letters to senior citizens of Delhi, informing them about the Mukhya Mantri Teertha Yatra Yojana or the Chief Minister’s Pilgrimage Scheme. The scheme offers free travel packages including accommodation in “good hotels” and food to well-known pilgrimage centres.

Besides these, however, the itinerary, as mentioned in the CM’s letters, also includes visits to the India-Pakistan border at Wagah and Haldighati, the mountain pass near Udaipur in Rajasthan where Maharana Pratap had fought the Mughal army in 1576. Never mind the fact that the previous regime in Rajasthan had changed the history text book to declare the Rana of Mewar as the victor. It’s hardly a surprise, though.

Kejriwal has been known to draw lessons from the Modi-Shah-led BJP and blend religion and nationalism in his politics as he seeks a renewed mandate early next year. In his letter to senior citizens, Kejriwal says: “You may be thinking why we are doing all this (free pilgrimage).” He goes on to explain: “Buzurgon ki seva ka bahut punya hotaa hai (serving the elderly is very virtuous). There is immense power in the blessings of the elderly….”

Rudy teaches rules to parliamentary affairs minister this time

The Monsoon Session of Parliament saw BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy take to task several of his party colleagues, including Information Technology (IT) Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on BSNL’s failing health.

Rudy wanted to know why optical fibres had been laid in most parts of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and other states but not in Bihar. During the ongoing Winter Session Wednesday, he took on Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi over some members demanding to send the Industrial Code Bill to a standing committee. Joshi stood up to pacify the agitating members saying the government will look into their demand but was reprimanded by Rudy for his inexperience. Rudy pointed out that when a bill has not been introduced, members can’t demand that it be sent to the standing committee.

The Speaker agreed and the issue was resolved but Rudy was miffed that a senior minister didn’t know parliamentary practice.

Ravi Kishan wants an NSD branch in Gorakhpur

Ravi Kishan, the actor-turned-politician and the new Member of Parliament of UP’s Gorakhpur, recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a special request. He wants the PM to open a branch of National School of Drama in Gorakhpur. The PM reportedly said he would look into his demand. Presenting his case, Ravi Kishan spoke about his “double privilege”. He said an NSD branch in Gorakhpur will generate huge employment for the Bhojpuri film industry, and he being a Bhojpuri superstar this will be his carrier big achievement.

(Contributors: Moushumi Das Gupta, Shanker Arnimesh)

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