When an IAS officer feels like a Tea Bag
Given the challenges in the telecom sector, secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), has come to be known by an interesting metaphor — a ‘tea bag’.
At the farewell event Tuesday for Aruna Sundararajan, who retired as DoT secretary on 31 July, Rajan Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (CoAI), said, “The DOT secretary position has always been described as a tea bag. You never know how good he or she is until you put them in hot water.”
Sundararajan, who was succeeded by Anshu Prakash, elaborated later: “Now that I no longer feel like a tea bag, I must tell you how different these days feel compared to earlier. I can have a normal cup of tea without it having lost its flavour…Usually, by the time I (as DoT Secretary) read the second headline in the second paper, I (would) realise I was deep in the hot water as there was not a single day when there was not something exciting, controversial, challenging, and worrying about the telecom industry.”
Mathews said Sundararajan had coped with it well because of her “Emotional Quotient”. EQ is described as an “ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them” on Psych Central, a site on mental health.
He cited an instance to ThePrint to validate his point. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was supposed to inaugurate last year’s India Mobile Congress (IMC) but at the last minute he couldn’t make it. Everyone got jittery wondering whether any of the major promoters such as Ambani and Birla would come for the event.
Sundararajan then picked up the phone and called all promoters to ensure their attendance. Heads of all three major telecom companies — Reliance Jio’s Mukesh Ambani, Airtel’s Sunil Bharti Mittal and Vodafone-Idea’s Kumar Mangalam Birla — were present as key guests and speakers at IMC 2018 inauguration.
Kalita’s claims and counter claims
Bhubaneswar Kalita, the Congress MP who resigned from the Rajya Sabha Monday, is seeking to make a virtue out of what was simply a case of political opportunism.
He has claimed that he resigned because of the Congress party’s stand on the nullification of Article 370. He said he had offered his resignation to Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu even before Union Home minister Amit Shah moved the resolution in the House to repeal Article 370.
Before Shah spoke, Naidu had announced in the House that he had accepted Kalita’s resignation. Given that the Congress had no idea about the resolution on Article 370 before Shah moved it, Kalita’s claims that he resigned over Congress’ stand on the issue fall flat.
Shortly after Naidu’s announcement, an unsigned letter, purportedly written by Kalita, had surfaced on social media, saying that he was resigning over the party’s stand on Article 370. On that day, he clarified that he had not written the letter. Soon enough though, he found it convenient to peddle the same claim to explain his exit from the Congress.
Dissent in AAP against Kejriwal’s stance on Art 370
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s prompt support to Narendra Modi government’s decision to repeal Article 370 hasn’t gone down well within some sections of the Aam Admi Party.
The grapevine has it that the party’s social media team volunteers were quite perturbed by the chief minister’s tweet, supporting the revocation of Article 370. They decided to express their views on their own Twitter handles, only to delete them later.
Actor Mona Ambedgaonkar, a member of the AAP, took to Twitter to express voice her disagreement.
“I am still member and supporter of AAP. I will continue to highlight its good work. i don’t think they mean any harm to any citizen in any part of country. However, it would be nice if they educated themselves on what this move actually means to our democracy. It’s Fascism at work (sic),” she tweeted.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal continues to be trolled for his views on the issue, with many saying that his support for reducing J&K to a union territory was contrary to his long-standing demand for a full statehood for Delhi.
Khattar’s ambitious election target
The BJP in Haryana is riding on a high following the repeal of Article 370. With assembly elections due in a few months, the BJP cadres are enthused and sure of a clean sweep. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had last month raised the slogan of ‘Abki baar, 75 paar’, aiming to win 75 seats in a 90-member House. But the slogan changed overnight after the Centre’s decision on Kashmir. The new slogan is: ‘Abki Baar 90 ki fuhaar’.
BJP’s selfie trouble
Three years after Maharashtra’s rural development minister Pankaja Munde faced flak for clicking a selfie while surveying drought-hit areas in the state, another minister from the Devendra Fadnavis cabinet is now battling criticism for “disaster tourism.”
This time, it is Girish Mahajan, one of Fadnavis’ most trusted aides, who is in the dock. Mahajan, dressed in a life jacket, was seen waving and smiling for a selfie video clicked by one of his karyakartas in a boat while on the field to survey flood-ravaged areas of western Maharashtra. In the background, the entire village is completely inundated. The opposition, which has been criticising the BJP-led government for its delayed response to the floods, has now trained its guns on Mahajan.