Pre-Truth – snappy, witty and significant snippets from the world of politics and government.
Abhishek Singhvi, Sachin Pilot take vacations abroad
Congress president Rahul Gandhi may have decided against going abroad to celebrate his birthday this year, but many opposition leaders have left for cooler climes on personal and official visits. Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav has gone for summer vacation abroad with his family. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi is in London, where he met Prince Charles at Clarence House Thursday. Singhvi was bowled over by his “decency, humility & politeness” as he tweeted, “Royalty matters if it creates right values.”
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma is in South Africa where he met President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria Wednesday and conveyed Rahul Gandhi’s greetings to him. Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot is also out of the country, taking a break before a gruelling electoral battle for power in the state in November.
Justice Chelameswar quietly leaves Delhi on his retirement day
Justice J. Chelameswar quietly left Delhi in the early hours of 22 June, his official retirement date. Last week, the judge packed off his belongings after more than a seven-year stay in the Capital. He is first headed to Hyderabad for some personal engagements and will later settle in his native village in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district. For retiring judges, the last week is usually filled with meetings with bureaucrats and law officers but for Chelameswar, who had publicly announced that he would not take up any post-retirement gigs, his visitors were mostly young lawyers and law students.
CJI to retire in Oct, Babri case may be put on fast track
In the run-up to 2019, all eyes are on the Supreme Court that is hearing the contentious Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute. Grapevine has it that the Supreme Court could fast-track the hearing after the summer break, as Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra will retire in October this year. Earlier, when there were talks about a day-to-day hearing during the vacation, Muslim litigants in the case had expressed strong reservations against it. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal had pleaded that the appeals should be deferred until the next Lok Sabha elections. Government lawyers have been nudging the court to decide the issue at the earliest.
The Officers in PMO who survived 2014 regime change
Rajeev Topno, a 1996-batch IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre, is one of the few officers in the Prime Minister’s Office who survived the change of regime in 2014. Topno was part of the PMO — first as deputy secretary and then as director — all through the UPA II regime. After Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, he was designated as his private secretary. Topno’s stints in Gujarat obviously earned him the goodwill of BJP president Amit Shah, too, as the bureaucrat is often seen at the latter’s residence.
Another officer in the PMO who survived the change of regime was Indian Foreign Service officer Jawed Ashraf, who continued to provide key policy inputs to Manmohan Singh’s successor for two years before he was appointed India’s envoy to Singapore.
B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, a Chhattisgarh cadre IAS officer, is the latest from Singh’s team to be picked up for an important assignment. Subrahmanyam, private secretary to Singh from 2004 to 2008, has been transferred to Jammu & Kashmir and appointed chief secretary after the imposition of the Governor’s Rule in the state.
NaMo app poll to be conducted in regional languages
Encouraged by the response to the online poll, ‘People’s Pulse’, on NaMo app, PM Modi’s team has now decided to launch the poll in multiple regional languages. The poll, launched on 26 May, was available only in English and Hindi but will now be there in languages such as Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Assamese, Bengali, among others.
The idea to reach out to people from different states and involve them in this process is in line with the BJP’s strategy to expand its political and electoral footprint in the eastern, northeastern and southern parts of the country. Through five broad questions, the poll takes people’s feedback on the BJP’s work as well as on its MPs and MLAs. The party’s top brass will be briefed on the results of the poll to help them devise future strategy and act on the feedback.
Jaitley skips morning walks in Lodhi Gardens due to illness
Union minister Arun Jaitley was a regular at the capital’s Lodhi Gardens where he used to go for his morning walks. The routine got discontinued due to his renal transplant surgery about five weeks back. Jaitley has resumed his morning walks now, but in the confines of his official residence. Unlike Lodhi Gardens where he is accompanied by a group of friends, he walks alone in his lawn as doctors have restricted his interactions to avoid infection.
(Contributors: D.K. Singh, Ruhi Tewari, Apurva Vishwanath, and Pragya Kaushika)