Pre-Truth — snappy, witty and significant snippets from the world of politics and government.
ED’s dilemma: How to increase Twitter followers
Apart from the ongoing tussle, both within and outside the Enforcement Directorate, the agency is also facing a unique problem. It wants to increase followers of its official Twitter handle but doesn’t know how to do that. Struggling with the task, the agency even called in a “Twitter expert” who promised to increase their following “manifold” but quoted a very high price for doing it. Unwilling to shell out that amount, ED refused his services. Such is the desperation, that they have now asked officers of all zones to get their staff members and investigators to create their Twitter profiles just to follow the official ED handle. The handle that currently has over 50,000 followers is not a verified account yet.
How Modi struck a chord with Odisha IT professionals
As the BJP looks to expand its electoral footprint, particularly to offset losses it might face in the Lok Sabha polls in its traditional strongholds, Odisha has emerged as a key target state for the party. Never one to miss a chance to further the BJP’s agenda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on top of his game during his town hall with technocrats and IT professionals Wednesday as well.
Also read: Modi at town hall — PM, motivational speaker, social worker & tech-lover all in one
As IT professionals from different cities interacted with him through video-conferencing, the last to get the turn to do so was Bhubaneswar. In reply to a question from one such professional from the city, the PM began with “Jai Jagannath” — a deity with great significance in Odisha. Many in the audience were amused with Modi’s impromptu ability to connect with the masses, keeping electoral considerations in mind. Importantly, the state also faces assembly elections next year and as the current situation goes, equations between Modi and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik are far from pleasant.
Vasundhara Raje’s Marathi connect
It is Marathi that seems to be ruling Rajasthan ahead of the crucial assembly polls. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and BJP election in-charge of the state, Union minister Prakash Javadekar, have a unique connect. They can talk in front of their MLAs and party leaders without them becoming aware of the crux of the conversation. Being proficient in Marathi, both like to converse in that language, especially, it seems, when they are discussing the antecedents of prospective candidates and party strategy. Raje was born in Mumbai and had also campaigned for the party in parts of Maharashtra in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. It, however, remains to be seen if Raje’s love for Marathi and her equation with Javadekar helps the BJP retain power in the state.
CBI versus CBI: When all sides won
Senior functionaries in the government of India were glued to their TV screens Friday, keenly following developments in the Supreme Court in the petition filed by CBI chief Alok Verma challenging the action of the government to make him powerless. The moment the SC order came, they were on the phone with the government lawyers, trying to figure if the government had won or lost. One senior advocate was heard telling a government functionary, tongue-in-check though: “All sides have won. Also, a former judge has been given a job, even if for a few weeks.”
Banking on banks for Patel anniversary
The Centre has asked government banks to observe the birth anniversary of freedom fighter and India’s first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on 31 October. Senior officials at public sector banks have been asked by their respective chiefs to participate in the nationwide celebrations and even “pledge” to protect and work towards the country’s upliftment and welfare. Banks are also being pushed to hold walks and runs to commemorate the birth anniversary. Some senior officers, though, are grumbling that at a time when these cash-strapped banks are reeling under the pressure of non-performing assets and other issues, such diktats will do more harm to the sentiments of the employees.
BJP finds solace in Uddhav’s speech
BJP leaders in Maharashtra were secretly pleased when Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray strongly pitched Hindutva as his party’s agenda for the 2019 polls at the Sena’s annual Dussehra rally. This, despite Thackeray having slammed the BJP for using Hindutva simply for votes. Thackeray’s statement promoting Hindutva as the Shiv Sena’s primary agenda, gives them a glimmer of hope that a BJP-Sena alliance for 2019 might ultimately take shape, BJP sources say.
Also read: BJP will be all ears when Uddhav Thackeray addresses Shiv Sainiks on Dussehra
The Shiv Sena has resolved to contest the 2019 polls independently, but the BJP has been in favour of an alliance since rivals Congress and NCP have come together. BJP sources said, they looked at Thackeray’s speech as a strategy to keep a door open for an alliance with the BJP by uniting on the common ground of ‘Hindutva’, despite other differences.
Fake news of a different kind
As reporters stood outside the CBI building speculating what must be going on inside, a tip-off came in about raids being conducted on the 11th and 12th floors of the agency’s building. In a bid to break the development, most TV channels started running a ticker and many journalists took to Twitter putting the information out, without giving it much thought, until someone realised that there was no 12th floor in the CBI building. The building has only 11 floors, with the director’s office on the uppermost floor, over which there is a terrace garden.
(Contributors: Pragya Kaushika, Ruhi Tewari, Manasi Phadke, Mahua Venkatesh, Ananya Bhardwaj and Maneesh Chhibber)