The ripple effects of the Maharashtra and Haryana elections are still being felt.
The numerology of diyas
When the Director General, Press Information Bureau (DGPIB) distributed diyas to accredited journalists as part of a Diwali goodwill gesture, someone missed counting the number of diyas kept inside each packet. Apparently, the figure of four is not considered auspicious by many recipients. According to them, it should have consisted of odd numbers such as 3, 5 or 7. Consequently, the BJP’s not-so-spectacular performance in Haryana and Maharashtra and its subsequent struggle in government formation in Maharashtra is being attributed to this bad omen. Religiously inclined souls also point at the cutting of trees by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited in Aarey Colony as ominous as the Hindu scriptures prohibit cutting trees at night.
Owaisi 1 Ramesh 0
At a meeting of the Standing Committee of Science and Technology, Environment and Forest, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi took a dig at committee chairman Jairam Ramesh. The committee was discussing the contentious DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill questioning the Union government on possible privacy invasion through the law. Mr Owaisi remarked that every law begins with a good intention. “Look at Aadhaar,” the barrister from Lincoln’s Inn said, facing the former Union minister and naming Mr Ramesh. “You brought the law and now you have gone to the Supreme Court challenging it!” In response, Mr Ramesh had a hearty laugh.
A calculated Asmita
Chhattisgarhiya sabse badhiya.” As if taking a cue from Mamata Banerjee, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel is busy stoking regional aspirations. The Congress chief minister is travelling across the state, identifying castes and sub-castes which were “mool Chhattisgarhiyas (sons of the soil)". Until year 2000, Chhattisgarh was part of Madhya Pradesh which lacked any distinctive linguistic or regional character. Mr Baghel is busy planting sota (a strip of leather fastened to a wooden handle). He insists that ancient Chhattisgarhis did not use sota for flogging a person but as a badge of spiritualism. Sources close to the CM are convinced that sub-nationalism would help him tide over the BJP’s cultural nationalism.
JD(U), SAD pipe up
The ripple effects of the Maharashtra and Haryana elections are still being felt. NDA allies like the Janata Dal (United) and Shiromani Akali Dal want Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah to look into NDA partners’ long standing demand for gubernatorial assignments for their worthies. Since 2014, a majority of those moving in Raj Bhawans have been from the BJP parivar or the intelligence-bureaucratic-legal community.
Lutyens’ Delhi is witnessing the curious case of Pankaj Shankar. A vocal Congress supporter, documentary maker-columnist Shankar had been associated with the Congress party for many years. However, of late, Shankar’s tweets have become critical of Rahul Gandhi. Pankaj was considered as a man behind the pressbrief.in site which until recently offered a veritable treasure house of videos, audios and rare photographs featuring the Nehru-Gandhi family. Disillusioned with Rahul, Pankaj has, noticeably, not given up on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra yet.
The writer is a keen observer of the goings-on in backrooms of power