Monday, March 27, 2023
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With Ahmed Patel as treasurer, Congress coffers begin to swell ahead of 2019

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

Spurt in donations to the grand old party

Donors are back for the Congress. Party leaders who are in the know say there has been a spurt in donations to the Congress in the past few months. Some attribute it to the appointment of Ahmed Patel, a leader known to have a wide network of friends, as the party treasurer in August while another section of leaders sees it as a sign of India Inc.’s increasing trust deficit in the ruling BJP. Be that as it may, the spurt in the number of electoral bonds coming to the Congress has brought smiles back in the party, which had to resort to crowdfunding recently to fill its depleted coffers barely months before the Lok Sabha elections. As per the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), the Congress received Rs 225 crore and the BJP Rs 1,034 crore as donations in 2017.

When Mungantiwar politely turned down Maneka’s demand

At a time when Union minister Maneka Gandhi and Maharashtra environment and forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar are caught in a public spat over tigress Avni’s killing, the latter called her a few days ago, ostensibly to bury the hatchet. According to sources, Gandhi told the Maharashtra minister, whose removal she has demanded, that she has nothing personal against him but she believes that he needs to step down to have a credible inquiry into the matter. Mungantiwar did not agree, and that was the end of the conversation between the two sparring BJP leaders.

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

Kamal Nath ‘bans’ Delhi spokespersons in poll-bound MP

Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath has shut the doors on the ‘paratroopers from Delhi’ who would come to the poll-bound state to address press conferences. Even the party’s communications department headed by Randeep Surjewala has been asked to stay away. In the past, Surjewala and his team virtually shadowed party president Rahul Gandhi on his campaign trail and took control of the party’s communications in poll-bound states. Kamal Nath, said Congress leaders, has communicated to the high command that he didn’t want people from Delhi to come to address press conferences in the state as they would be unfamiliar with the lay of the land and may say things that could harm the party’s interests.

ASEAN summit did away with protocols

The meeting of leaders of ASEAN countries in Singapore this week, also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was quite a departure from the past. Observers were struck by how the host nation did away with unnecessary formalities and show. It seems Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong kept the summit’s vibe more relaxed, and deviated from traditional protocol even in terms of greetings. The practice of ASEAN leaders often wearing similar traditional outfits at the gala dinner was also done away with. At the gala dinner in the 31st ASEAN summit in Philippines last year, for instance, heads of states — including Modi — had dressed up in Filipino formal wear. This time, the PM wore his usual Indian bandh gala for the dinner.

Also read: Why Vasundhara Raje’s demonetisation tweet did not go down well with BJP leaders

Common corridor for Punjab, Haryana secretariats

Punjab and Haryana have a host of contentious issues to deal with. Sharing of waters through Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal; right over Panjab University; jurisdiction over Punjabi speaking areas; demand for a separate high court, among others. But the biggest bone of contention remains the claim to Chandigarh as capital. Interestingly and rather quietly, the two state governments, however, agreed to bring down the barriers that divide the Punjab and Haryana secretariats in Sector 1 Chandigarh. Although a part of the same building in the Capitol Complex, the two secretariats are physically divided with wooden walls and blocked doors. However, since the Capitol Complex is a heritage structure, the Chandigarh administration has asked the two states to demolish the walls that separate the two secretariats in the building and join their corridors.

(Contributors: D.K. Singh, Sanya Dhingra, Ruhi Tewari and Chitleen K. Sethi)

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  1. Would it be asking for the moon to expect some of the man made barriers between India and Pakistan to be similarly lowered, especially for the two portions of Kashmir …

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