Pre-Truth — snappy, witty and significant snippets from the world of politics and government.
Why Rahul Gandhi’s Hindi tweet created a buzz
On Thursday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to wish six states — Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Kerala — as well as the union territory of Lakshwadeep — on their Foundation Day. Sending them his wishes, he said the Congress always prays for their progress, happiness and prosperity. Nothing out of the ordinary about this, except the tweet was in Hindi.
This baffled many, considering the tweet was also aimed at completely non-Hindi speaking states such as Karnataka and Kerala. What was even more jarring was that these are key states for the Congress — among the few now where it has a powerful presence. Many felt that since the party is in power in Karnataka and is the main opposition in Kerala, Gandhi should have been extra cautious. This set the political camp abuzz with many saying while it is the BJP that is accused of trying to impose Hindi, the Congress president also seems to have paid little heed to the sentiments of people in the southern states.
What’s in a name? Union minister Tomar finds out the hard way
Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar had a harrowing time dealing with calls inquiring about his decision to contest assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh. His name appeared in the list of 177 candidates that was announced by the party Friday. Surprised at the development, many people congratulated him and his staff, with some suggesting that in the event of the BJP retaining power in the state, Tomar could be the next chief minister. To end all confusion, the minister decided to take to Twitter to clear the air: “The BJP list has Mandhata candidate Narendra Singh Tomar name. But it is not me. He is other karyakarta. Please don’t get misled.”
Shah gives Yeddyurappa a dressing-down
Amit Shah is quite upset with the development in Karnataka’s Ramanagara where the BJP candidate withdrew his candidature two days before the elections. Shah called up Yeddyurappa and reportedly told him that he was made party president to take care of the state not just his son Raghavendra and his constituency, Shivamogga. For the past three days, Yeddyurappa was largely campaigning in Shivamogga and did not concentrate on the other constituencies as much. Shah also made calls to other senior BJP leaders and asked them to pull up their socks if they wanted to win the election. Shobha Karandlaje and C.T. Ravi landed in Ballari in the last week of the campaigning, which irked the candidates so much that they complained to the high command.
Choosing US trip over drought help
BJP minister in Maharashtra Pankaja Munde has been no stranger to controversy. She was first targeted for alleged irregularities in the purchase of micronutrient ‘chikki’ for children in anganwadis that popularly came to be known as the ‘chikki scam.’ She was later ticked off by the BJP’s state leadership for sparring with CM Devendra Fadnavis on Twitter when she lost one of her portfolios during a cabinet reshuffle. A couple of years ago, she drew sharp criticism as a selfie of hers was taken while surveying watershed development works in drought-hit Maharashtra went viral.
Now, Munde is embroiled in a fresh controversy. At a time when several parts of Maharashtra are facing drought and the Marathwada region, including her home district of Beed, has been badly hit, Munde is in the US on an official tour.
People in Maharashtra’s political corridors say, a number of politicians have cancelled their official tours and are instead visiting drought-hit villages. A minister choosing to go overseas instead of attending to the problems of her own constituency may send a wrong message, her detractors in the party say.
New ITAT chief who heard Gujarat riots cases
Former judge of Gujarat High Court P.P. Bhatt, who, as a judicial officer, had heard some crucial cases in the Gujarat riots, recently took oath as the president of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT). In 2016, Justice Bhatt gave parole to nine convicts in the 2002 Gulberg society massacre case, including VHP leader Atul Vaid, who had been convicted by a lower court for attacking the Gulberg society in the heart of Ahemadabad – 69 people, including Congress MP Eshan Jafri, were killed in that assault. The nine convicts had appealed for parole in order to challenge the lower court’s order granting them life imprisonment. Justice Bhatt, in a separate order, had also dismissed the temporary bail application of Asgar Ali, the main convict in former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya’s murder case in 2011.
Women empowerment at IIT-D
Women empowerment is the theme at IIT Delhi’s annual convocation scheduled for Saturday. For the first time, a woman will be the chief guest at the ceremony. The institute has invited Anu Agha, former chairperson of Thermax Ltd, as the chief guest. Apart from this, the institute is also set to announce an increase in the number of women students. Out of the total graduating students, one fourth are women this year with a large number of women getting their PhD degrees. Of the 378 people who will be receiving PhD this year — 128 — one third of them are women. Director of the institute Ram Gopal Rao said that IIT Delhi is focusing on increasing the number of female students on campus and in the next couple of years, the aim is to ensure that every third student is a woman.
(Contributors: Ruhi Tewari, Pragya Kaushika, Nandita Singh, Kritika Sharma, Manasi Phadke, Sanya Dhingra and Rohini Swamy)