Pre-Truth — snappy, witty and significant snippets from the world of politics and government.
UP BJP leader tweets article listing Yogi’s leadership qualities
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is often pegged as the gen-next of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a leader who could emerge onto the national scene. However, under the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah regime, the rules in the party are amply clear — personal ambitions of leaders have to be kept in check and their importance in the party is not be brazenly boasted about.
Many in the party, therefore, were surprised to see a newspaper article that said Adityanath was next only to Shah in ably handling the BJP’s poll platform. The article, being shared on Twitter by UP BJP spokesperson Chandra Mohan who often accompanies the CM during his trips across the state, talks about the number of rallies Adityanath has addressed. It says besides Shah, he is the national leader who has campaigned the most for the BJP. There are now murmurs in the party about whether this tweet came with the CM’s tacit approval and if this is a way for the top leadership to subtly start projecting Adityanath as a national leader.
No takers for new cars at CBI headquarters
A row of Maruti Suzuki Ciaz cars meant for government officers are lying unused outside the CBI headquarters in CGO Complex. It seems that after the recent upheaval in the organisation, there are no takers for these cars. Apart from director Alok Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana, who have been sent on leave amid the ongoing crisis, there are many officers who have been transferred and many who are yet to get their new postings.
A quiet farewell lunch for finance secretary
Union Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia who retired Friday and is soon returning to Gujarat where he intends to pursue his first love — yoga —was taken out for a quiet lunch by the three most powerful civil servants in Delhi. Adhia’s farewell lunch was hosted jointly by Principal Secretary to the PM Nripendra Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to the PM P.K. Mishra, and Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha at the India International Centre. Incidentally, even though he is shifting back to his home state, there are rumours that if the Modi government returns to power in 2019, Adhia will be offered an important job.
At CIC, all commissioners want to become chief
The Central Information Commission is facing a piquant situation. The chief of the commission retired along with three other commissioners recently, leaving the strength of the information commissioners at three. Turns out, all three commissioners — Sudhir Bhargava, Bimal Julka and D.P. Sinha — have applied for the post of the chief information commissioner, which the government advertised for a few months ago. While the protocol is to appoint the senior-most commissioner as the chief — who in this case is 1979-batch IAS officer Bhargava — officials in the commission say that under the Modi government, anything can happen.
Sticking to ‘Dixit’ diet
Ashish Shelar, BJP’s Mumbai president and an MLA in the Maharashtra assembly, is trying out a new diet — the Dixit diet, which is becoming popular in Maharashtra, to prevent obesity and diabetes. As part of the diet, Shelar eats only twice a day and ensures that he doesn’t munch on anything in between. The diet is the brainchild of preventive and social medicine professor Dr Jagannath Dixit, whom the state government recently named as its brand ambassador for tackling obesity and diabetes. On Thursday, sitting in the cafeteria of Vidhan Bhavan, Shelar enthusiastically ordered pakodas and sheera. Everyone thought it was the end of his commitment to the new diet. However, when the waiter brought the food, he pushed the plates towards those sitting with him and stuck to his small cup of black tea.
A ministers’ meeting on vintage cars
It was an informal meeting of finance ministers of Punjab and Haryana. To discuss what? No, not finances but vintage cars! As part of the celebrations leading to the Military Literature Festival to be held in December, the Punjab government has organised a vintage vehicles’ show in Chandigarh. Before the show was thrown open to the public, the two finance ministers met Thursday at the venue and discussed their passion for vintage cars. Punjab minister Manpreet Singh Badal, a connoisseur of vintage cars, had lots to tell his visibly-impressed audience of Haryana finance minister Capt. Abhimanyu Singh and his family. Badal has quite an impressive collection of open jeeps and his favourite motorcycle, the Royal Enfield.
A bittersweet relationship
Nothing is constant in politics. Until early this week, it was all bonhomie between Kashmir’s arch-rivals PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference’s Omar Abdullah. After the Jammu and Kashmir assembly was dissolved, both former chief ministers exchanged a series of tweets, thanking each other for the understanding of forming a grand alliance and also laughing at the entire ‘fax fiasco’ at the governor’s office. But, it seems they are back to being rivals.
Abdullah Thursday took a jibe at the PDP saying that credit for the decision of Government of India to extend the railway line to Kupwara in north Kashmir should go to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and not “others falling over themselves to claim credit for something they didn’t do”. He was obviously referring to the PDP. The reaction came after a PDP member thanked Mehbooba saying this happened because of her and the same was re-tweeted by Mehbooba.
Kumaraswamy: Fit or unfit?
In the past three days, at least two Kannada channels have had as many exclusives on the health of Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, with one claiming that he is unfit and likely to step down while the other stating he is capable of working 15 hours a day.
It all started when a new Kannada news channel TV5 aired a story stating that Kumaraswamy is flying to London for heart treatment. They also said he is likely to step down, sending the already fragile coalition government into a tizzy. The news forced the CMO to issue a clarification while JD(S) workers thought it fit to protest against the story by sitting on a protest outside the office. The same evening, another Kannada channel, Public TV, claimed to have another exclusive which accessed an earlier health report of Kumaraswamy to show that he was in the “pink of health”. The opposition is now demanding a medical certificate of the CM to prove his “fitness” status.
When media was left high & dry
Journalists attending a dinner hosted by the government at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa were taken aback after some of them realised that alcohol was missing from the menu, perhaps a first in the history of IIFI. The incident took place on 26 November. It is said the financial adviser to the I&B ministry — the organiser of the event — refused to clear the proposal to serve liquor to mediapersons.
(Contributed by Ruhi Tewari, Ananya Bhardwaj, Maneesh Chhibber, Sanya Dhingra, Manasi Phadke, Rahiba R. Parveen, Chitleen K. Sethi, Rohini Swamy & Amrita Nayak Dutta)
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