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A politician ‘tried to persuade’ sexual abuse complainant to go easy on BCCI CEO Johri

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Pre-Truth — snappy, witty and significant snippets from the world of politics and government.

Political twist in BCCI sexual harassment case

Much has been written about the fact that some women have levelled sexual harassment charges against Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) CEO Rahul Johri, a favourite of Vinod Rai, the head of court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA). What is not that well-known is that a politician, who plays an important role in the cricket board, apparently tried to persuade one of the complainants who works at BCCI to not push the matter, particularly as the IPL was on at that point. But it does not seem those efforts succeeded. The politician is learnt to have spoken to the victim and made a tempting offer if she chose not to press her complaint.

Minister of state over cabinet minister

The Central government recently revived the Strategic Policy Group (SPG) under National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. While several questions have been raised about such a group being headed by Doval, what seems to have been missed in the entire debate is the fact that NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar, who will be a member of the SPG and sit in meetings chaired by Doval, holds the rank of a cabinet minister, while NSA enjoys the rank of a minister of state.

Mt Fuji’s no-show during Modi-Abe photo-op

Mount Fuji — Japan’s highest mountain — is famously known as the ‘shy’ mountain, and shy it was this Sunday in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In Japan for the 13th India-Japan annual summit, Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe were scheduled to take pictures in front of Mt Fuji Sunday. However, as fate would have it, Fuji stuck to its reputation of being shy and remained hidden behind clouds. Both Prime Ministers were forced to go ahead with the photo opportunity without the great mountain in the backdrop.

Also read: ED is desperate to increase Twitter followers & this is how it plans to do it

Why DD stopped giving coverage to Smriti Irani

India’s national broadcaster Doordarshan, which once covered every activity of its erstwhile minister Smriti Irani, has virtually stopped giving her any coverage. In the past few months after she was divested of the I&B portfolio, DD news has been giving minimal coverage to Irani, her speeches and appearances and activities. The channel had earlier done full shows on her and development in the constituency of her interest, Amethi.

Political messaging through Diwali cards

This Diwali, PM Narendra Modi will be flanked by stalwarts such as Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Bhim Rao Ambedkar and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in greeting cards being sent out by the Ministry of Social Welfare. The cards have been sent in the name of Social Welfare Minister Vijay Sampla. Interestingly, apart from Modi, all the icons depicted on the cards are non-BJP leaders. A quote from each of these leaders has also been used under their respective picture. This use of non-party icons on Diwali greetings is being viewed as another attempt by the BJP to appropriate leaders of other political parties.

Settling for a lower amount

The Indo-Japan $75 billion currency swap has been widely lauded, and PM Modi is getting plaudits for helping stabilise the Indian rupee. But here’s a little known fact: India had wanted $100 billion from Japan, but Tokyo said it had just offered $30 billion to China the week before. Significantly, Japan Prime Minuster Shinzo Abe has said that Chinese and Japanese economies are inseparable and interlinked. All this when Japan is very much part of the US nuclear umbrella and the US and China are very much part of a trade war.

Maninder Singh, ASG or not? 

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh resigned within hours of the Centre announcing the appointment of his “junior” ASG Tushar Mehta as Solicitor General. Requests by the Prime Minister’s Office to him to not press ahead with his resignation didn’t make him change his mind. However, it now emerges that, even though he has stopped appearing for the government and has returned all his files, his resignation hasn’t been officially accepted yet. Will there be a twist in the tale?

Town Hall versus town hall

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a town hall with technocrats and IT professions as part of his party’s efforts to reach out to the youth and corporate sector ahead of polls. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, had a town hall of his own just a few days later, but of a different type.

Known to enjoy a meal at his favourite restaurants ever-so-often, Gandhi was spotted at the plush Town Hall in Khan Market last Saturday, which coincided with the festival of Karva Chauth. The Gandhi family is known to enjoy the food and ambience of Town Hall, where they are often spotted. For instance, Gandhi celebrated his birthday with his family at the restaurant in June this year. Just last month, after being part of the Bharat Bandh, Gandhi decided to unwind at the end of the day at his favourite haunt yet again. His love for the restaurant and Modi’s keenness to hold town halls with different groups has made many in the political circles joke about the war of the two town halls.

Also read: CBI feud rears its head even in agency’s legal team

Reversing transparency in SC collegium

In a bid to usher in a new era of transparency in the judiciary, former CJI Dipak Misra began the practice of making deliberations of the collegium public. In October last year, when the first collegium recommendation was made public, it included names of those who the collegium had chosen to ignore and the reasons why. It also included the dissenting opinion of an SC judge who was consulted for a particular candidate. However, after 125 such decisions published, transparency seems to have worn thin. Many point out that recent recommendations look less like minutes of a meeting and more like a press release. The latest one, recommending four names to the SC, is just a listing of the names with no reasons why they were chosen.

Politics over Shivaji memorial

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis faced much embarrassment recently when a boat heading to the proposed site of the mid-sea Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial, a politically sensitive project, for a small puja went down, killing one youth. Fadnavis was on tour and not part of the entourage heading for the puja. The ceremony was being held at the insistence of local politician Vinayak Mete, the head of a Maratha outfit called Shiv Sangram, government sources later said.

Mete, a member of Maharashtra’s legislative council and a sympathiser of the Fadnavis-led government, heads the government’s project implementation committee for the politically-significant Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial project.

Mete had been feeling sidelined in the whole project and wanted to emphasise his significance. It was Mete who requested Fadnavis for a small ceremony despite the government having already had a grand bhoomipujan at the site in 2016 in the presence of PM Modi. The boat that capsized was filled beyond capacity and did not have the requisite permissions and took a route that was not suitable for the tide. After the accident, Fadnavis has ordered that there will be no more ceremonies for the proposed memorial.

(Contributors: Maneesh Chhibber, Ruhi Tewari, Pragya Kaushika, Manasi Phadke, Apurva Vishwanath, Amrita Nayak Dutta and Chitleen K. Sethi) 

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