Pre-Truth — snappy, witty and significant snippets from the world of politics and government.
A dilemma in Goa
With Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar battling pancreatic cancer at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), the BJP has been under pressure from its allies in the state to replace him. The ruling party is exploring its options but has kept the replacement plan on hold. A senior leader close to party chief Amit Shah said the BJP is of the view that replacing Parrikar when he is in hospital doesn’t look nice and would send a wrong message. The opposition Congress has, however, demanded a floor test for the government to prove its majority, saying that governance has come to a standstill.
An enforced embargo
Most union ministers, MPs, and BJP office-bearers couldn’t attend the RSS’s three-day conclave, Future of Bharat: An RSS Perspective. It was not that they didn’t want to mark their attendance at the event where RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat held fort; it is that he didn’t want them to come as it was meant for those who were not familiar with the RSS’s ideology, programmes and vision.
Some ministers showed up nonetheless. They included Harsh Vardhan, Prakash Javadekar, Alphons Kannanthanam and Kiren Rijiju. Other ministers were keen to come but were told that they could, if they so wished, attend the last day of the event when Bhagwat fielded questions. Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, therefore, came on the last day.
Singers for surgical strike PR
As part of its ‘Surgical Strikes Day’ celebrations in September-end, the Narendra Modi-led government has plans to go beyond the conventional exhibitions and speeches. It wants to add a glitzy element to draw larger crowds.
The government is looking to rope in famous singers Kailash Kher and Mohit Chauhan to perform as part of the celebrations. Talks are on with both Kher and Chauhan and while the former has confirmed, the latter has agreed in principle but logistics, time slots and other details are still being worked out.
Also read: Arvind Kejriwal wants Delhiites to carry mobile phones everywhere except his office & home
There were also attempts to bring on board music director and singer Shankar Mahadevan but he is learnt to have conveyed his inability due to health reasons. According to the plans, all celebrations in the capital will take place at the India Gate lawns, where the singers will perform during specific time slots of around one-and-a-half hours on 29 and 30 September.
Government arms at odds with each other
It was an awkward moment for members of the 15th Finance Commission as well as the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) when the commission’s chairman N.K. Singh admitted on record that a press communique issued on behalf of the panel contained inaccurate analysis.
The press statement by the PIB, ahead of the commission’s visit to Maharashtra, raised concerns over the overall economic and social growth of the state, criticising its excess borrowings and declining growth in revenue receipts.
At the end of the three-day visit, however, Singh was all praise for the state’s finances and went to the extent of saying that he wished other states would emulate Maharashtra. Asked about the commission’s change of stance, Singh said the press release did not take into account numbers for fiscal 2018 and it was misleading to randomly pick one year or one state without context.
Also read: Ajit Doval’s trip to Bihar — personal visit or political recruitment drive?
The fitness bandwagon
As many senior BJP and Congress leaders battle with different ailments, young leaders are sweating it out to keep themselves fit. Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, for instance, is very particular about his exercise regimen. An ex-Armyman and Olympic medallist, he hits his gym even after a hectic work schedule. He also makes it a point to share short videos on social media. BJP MP Anurag Thakur is also a regular gym–goer and is seen working out even in late evenings.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia is another fitness enthusiast; he wears a Fitbit and measures his weight every day. BJP president Amit Shah doesn’t miss 30-40 minutes of treadmill even when he is out of Delhi. Incidentally, not many young political leaders have shown much love for yoga, notwithstanding all the hype surrounding it since the BJP came to power.
An MP finally visits
KENT RO Systems is all set to inaugurate a new factory building next seek. The building is to be inaugurated by self-styled godman and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Noida. Moreover, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will have for company actor-turned-politician, Hema Malini. While she is also the KENT brand ambassador, her Lok Sabha constituency is bound to be amazed!
(Contributors: Pragya Kaushika, DK Singh, Ruhi Tewari, Manasi Phadke and Sanya Dhingra)