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  I&B’s Modi makeover

I&B’s Modi makeover

Published : Dec 21, 2015, 3:56 am IST
Updated : Dec 21, 2015, 3:56 am IST

Futile Temple run


Futile Temple run

While the temple controversy during Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s Assam visit may have subsided, most of devotees at Barpeta satra are still baffled as to what prompted the ruling Congress Party to make such a big issue out of it.


Mr Gandhi was given to understand that some Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activists had hatched conspiracy to stop his entry in the temple, but Assam’s minister for irrigation Chandan Sarkar, who was looking after Congress vice-president’s trip, claimed that Mr Gandhi did not have time to observe local traditions like taking a wash and wearing dhoti, which is mandatory, before entering the Barpeta satra so he skipped it in the morning.

This was in complete contradiction of facts reported to the national media. Now the state government has ordered a probe into the temple incident. Let’s see whether the probe will also go into the two different versions of the incident and ascertain which one was correct.


Ministry Revamped The filmy flavour of the corridors of the ministry of information and broadcasting has given way to a more political one. The ministry’s corridors in Shastri Bhawan, which were earlier adorned with replicas of original posters from movies like Taj Mahal, Mughal-e-Azam, Guide, CID and Naya Daur have been replaced with political photographs, most of them featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign trips. Some of these photographs are also historical in nature and have been sourced from the ministry’s archives.

Interestingly, the film theme came into play during the tenure of Congress Party leader Ambika Soni as minister of I&B, who was an avid movie buff.


CBI’s traffic stopper The Central Bureau of Investigation seems to be having its own idea of “expanding its area of businesses”. On the day, it raided the office and other premises of Rajendra Kumar, principal secretary to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, it invited the media for an “official sound-bite” at its swanky state-of-the-art headquarters. The camera crews were asked to wait on the road where the spokesperson gave the official statement regarding the controversy.

With the amount of interest that was generated by the CBI, the venue was literally “jam-packed” — since it was held on the road and caused a traffic jam. A passerby seems to have found the correct description for the situation: “One can certainly say that the fight between the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party government has now come out on the road. Despite having a huge conference hall and media room, CBI officials briefing on the road is beyond imagination.”


The ascendancy of KTR Is K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) about to anoint his son K.T. Rama Rao (KTR) the next chief minister of Telangana Ever since KTR was given charge of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti campaign for the ensuing Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls, political circles are abuzz with this rumour.

The chief of a regional party promoting his or her son or daughter to power is nothing new in Indian politics. KTR stays with his father in the chief minister’s Camp office and has been overseeing all Hyderabad related issues on his father’s behalf.

KCR reportedly also told his Cabinet ministers to accompany his son on his visits and has even provided him with a helicopter. Naturally, this kind of special treatment has triggered immense debate within the TRS. Will we see the ascendency of KTR in the next few months or will it happen after the 2019 poll


Disarming adversary Biju Janata Dal vice-president Damodar Rout knows how to inflict a crushing blow to adversaries in a subtle way. A close aide of Biju Patnaik, the father of current Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik, has been subjected to much humiliation both within the party and in the state government over the last 15 years. Often he was shunted out of his ministry for his blunt remarks on various issues, ostensibly at the instance of some young BJD leaders who surround the chief minister.

In the just concluded Winter Session of the state Assembly, while participating in a debate on the contribution of Biju Patnaik to national security and the making of modern Orissa, Dr Rout took potshots at these young flatterers.


“Time has changed. Those who were not born till 1996 when Biju Patnaik died are now claiming that they know him more than us,” he said. He was referring to a group of four young ministers whom the chief minister Patnaik relies heavily on.

Realising that the floor mismanagement by the said four young ministers had forced the Opposition Congress and BJP to boycott the special debate on Biju Patnaik, Dr Rout further added, “Those who have brought the motion for special debate on Biju Patnaik, should have ensured presence of the Opposition parties that would have made the discussion more meaningful and created more pressure on the Centre to confer what we want — Bharat Ratna — for the great leader.”


No ‘Gaurav’ this Being the second chief minister in the BJP to score a hat-trick in state Assembly elections after Narendra Modi, the Chattisgarh government had decided to celebrate Raman Singh’s completion of 12 years in office as “Gaurav Divas” in a big way. But the plan changed and the event became a BJP event, with Mr Singh felicitating the party’s veteran leaders. While the situation of drought in the state’s was cited as the official reason for cancellation of celebrations, rumours are that it was a call from Delhi that led to change in the plans and also that most of the Union ministers, whose presence was sought at the “Gaurav Divas” did not confirm.


Drugs online Recently the Punjab Aam Aadmi Party leader and MP Bhagwant Mannwas charged by the Akali Dal of coming to public meetings and social gatherings in an inebriated condition.

In his defence, Mr Mann uploaded a video on Facebook saying “Let us have a dope test of all leaders (in Punjab). I will be the first one to give my blood for the dope test. I urge you and other leaders to get a dope test done also”.

Attacking deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Mr Mann said: “You must realise that in a dope test, drug abuse of over one year shows up Getting effigies (of your opponents) burnt by your sycophants will not solve anything. Know the ground reality, Mr Badal.”


Mr Mann claimed that Mr Badal too was being called names on social media and linked to drug abuse.

Season of gifts! Newly elected members of panchayats in Uttar Pradesh never had it so good. Even as many of them are still queuing up to get their certificates of victory, the gifts have started pouring in.

Those aspiring to get elected as heads of the panchayats are raining gifts on the members and, this time, the gifts went beyond liquor bottles and dinner parties.

According to the grapevine, in two districts candidates have promised SUVs to each member, while some have offered fully paid foreign trips for their family to Bangkok. Some are offering cash up to `10 lakh each, while others are assuring contracts on development work.


Panchayat members, who are also voters, are still said to be weighing the bargains which are bound to rise higher with every passing day.

What is adding to the value of the votes is the fact that it is this electoral college that will elect 36 members of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council next month.

As a zila panchayat member put it, “We should be doubly rewarded for our vote because when we elect the zila panchayat heads, they will elect the MLCs and get huge gifts from them.” With festive season upon us, the gifts are sure going to get bigger by the day!

A ‘sensitive’ moment On his maiden visit to India Abdullah al-Badri, secretary-general, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), who was in India for the first time, while interacting with reporters last week repeatedly faced problems with the microphone.


When reporters asked him to speak into the mic, an exasperated Mr al-Badri said, “It is near me. I don’t know why it is not working.”

Minister for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan, who was sitting beside Mr al-Badri adjusted the mic for him and quipped: “Like (oil) price it is also sensitive.”