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Why Ravi Shankar Prasad cancelled his scheduled speech at BBC’s fake news conference

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Pre-Truth — snappy, witty and significant snippets from the world of politics and government.

BJP minister gets cold feet before BBC conference on fake news

It seems to be the norm now that BJP leaders will drop out of events if they don’t agree with any developments scheduled during those events. In the latest instance, Ravi Shankar Prasad, the union minister of law and information technology, didn’t turn up for a scheduled appearance at the BBC’s conference on fake news in New Delhi Monday, despite being the keynote speaker.

Prasad’s cancellation came after the BBC released a survey on fake news, concluding that the maximum amount of it in India was being circulated in the name of nationalism and PM Narendra Modi.

The BJP, in fact, chose not to be represented at the panel discussion, in which Congress social media & digital communications head Divya Spandana and Aam Aadmi Party social media strategist Ankit Lal participated.

Rumblings in Tamil Nadu Congress

The buzz in Tamil Nadu is that the Congress is so desperate to appease the DMK that it is now ready to let heads roll. It is rumoured that S. Thirunavukkarasar, who was made the Tamil Nadu Congress chief in 2016, will have to go, mainly because he does not enjoy very cordial relations with the DMK.

It is said that when the DMK wanted to reach out to the Congress, it did not trust Thirunavukkarasar, and preferred to deal directly with the high command. He had also got too close to the V.K. Sasikala faction of the AIADMK, which may turn out to be a mistake that will be difficult to forgive and forget for coalition partners and maybe even voters.

The Congress is also ready to work out a formula where the seat-sharing ratio will favour the DMK. In 2004, the Congress-DMK combine swept all 39 seats as well as Puducherry, which was crucial for the fledgling UPA to form the government at the Centre.

Also read: Congress rules out joining hands with any party without ‘long-term ally’ DMK

Chiranjeevi can’t stand Congress’ alliance with TDP

The decision by the Telugu Desam Party to join hands with the Congress has certainly put superstar-turned-politician Chiranjeevi in a spot. Hurt by this decision, Chiranjeevi is contemplating resigning from the Congress in a couple of days.

For more than three decades, the Congress and the TDP have fought high-pitched battles against one another, but have now joined hands. A family source said Chiranjeevi is “very hurt by this unhealthy alliance”. He apparently made a call to the high command the moment Rahul Gandhi and Chandrababu Naidu met, to convey his displeasure.

Sikhs get dragged into Chhattisgarh political spat

The Sikh community has long been the victim of ‘12 o’ clock’ jokes, but recently, this has become the reason for a political spat — that too in Chhattisgarh.

The Congress alleged that the BJP was using the state machinery to swing the ongoing assembly elections its way. Referring to the first phase of polling on 12 November, party leaders alleged that state machinery was being used to support fake voting in 12 seats (the first phase featured 18 seats). “BJP ke barah bajne tay hain (roughly translated, it is definite that BJP will lose),” they said.

However, the person who responded to this was the Delhi BJP’s Sikh spokesperson, Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga. He called Congress leaders the “heirs” of Mughals and added: “Twelve o’clock is the time when brave Sikh warriors fought with the Mughals. Midnight petrified the Mughals. It seems Congress too is doing the same thing.”

But Bagga himself is being called out for duality — after all, he has been actively supporting journalist Jagrati Shukla after Twitter suspended her account. Shukla had earlier justified the massacre of Sikhs in 1984.

Maha CM’s wife in a new avatar

Amruta Fadnavis, wife of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, has several identities — deputy-vice president at Axis Bank, professional singer, and of late, even a model for fashion design students.

At a Diwali lunch for journalists at the CM’s residence last week, Amruta was moving around, greeting everyone in an elegant turquoise blue Indo-western dress. The dress was a gift from students of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), she said.

The students often send her their latest designs to wear at parties and public appearances, she said, and she posts pictures on social media, tagging the student designers.

CJI’s personal intervention

It was a personal intervention by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that ended a 10-day strike staged by over 1,000 lawyers at the Gujarat High Court. The lawyers were protesting against the transfer of Justice Akil Kureshi to the Bombay High Court.

The protests, as well as a personal representation by Kureshi, weren’t enough to make the Supreme Court collegium budge on the transfer. However, CJI Gogoi assured the High Court Bar president Yatin Oza that the Narendra Modi government had no role to play in the transfer. Subsequently, the strike was called off and Kureshi moved to the Bombay HC.

Also read: New CJI Ranjan Gogoi among 10 Supreme Court judges who voluntarily declared assets

Contributed by Apurva Viswanath, Pragya Kaushika, Nikhil Rampal, Rohini Swamy, Manasi Phadke and Ruhi Tewari.

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  1. We the common people do not know the reasons yet, but some “fall from grace” has surely happened in the case of Ravi Shankar Prasad. He was one of the more vociferous ministers till recently who appeared on TV to speak on all sorts of subjects on government’s behalf. But suddenly he is nowhere now! He is shunning to show up, or being asked not to, no one knows yet.

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