Off the record

Prez slip

President Pranab Mukherjee’s interview to a Swedish newspaper would not have provoked such a strong reaction from the Ministry of External Affairs but for a faux pas that also left Rashtrapati Bhavan exasperated.

In the interview, Mukherjee is heard accidentally referring to Sweden as Switzerland. At the end of the interview, Mukherjee corrected the error. The interviewer, Peter Wolodarski who is the editor-in-chief of Dagens Nyeter, agreed with the President and sympathised with him. He said it can happen to anyone.

But the newspaper included this part of the conversation too in the interview it published. It was no wonder that India’s ambassador to Sweden Banashri Bose Harrison conveyed New Delhi’s disappointment at the “condescending manner” in which Mukherjee’s comment was included.

After all, the President’s comment on the Bofors controversy was not as much such a big issue per see as the faux pas that was reported, insiders claim.
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Modi’s horse

Modi was told by officials that the rules against bringing back animals was made after several instances of them not doing well after they come to India.

The last time, India sent such gifts was when President K R Narayanan took two baby elephants to Zimbabwe in 1998. One of them died in that country. China, however, does continue  presenting pandas to visitors. In 1990, Indonesia gave away a giant lizard –  komodo dragon –as gift to US President George W Bush.
SI, New Delhi

Afspa & image

The Tripura government is being lauded across the country for its decision to withdraw AFSPA from the state.

While the decision is very well taken in the state where the Left Front is in power since 1993 and the only state to be ruled by the Communists, the buzz in the political circles is that the decision has come more for political compulsions rather than the security scenario of the state.

While militancy is on the wane in the state, over the past one year, the Tripura government and the LF had faced a series of embarrassing moments following numerous scams that were unearthed in the state. If party insiders are to be believed, then the state cabinet announced this decision to take away the media glare on the scams and give a positive projection of the government. In any case, this was a good image makeover for the poorest CM in the country.
Ratnadip Choudhury, Guwahati

Livid Gujjars

Sachin Pilot, PCC chief has been the lone victim of the recent Gujjar agitations in Rajasthan. 

Despite belonging to Gujjar community, Sachin has all the compulsions to keep himself away from the state-wide agitation of the community. In capacity as PCC chief, Sachin could not afford to invite the wrath of other OBC communities, specially the Jats who have been opposing the 5 per cent reservation demand of Gujjars. It was only due to polarisation of the Jat voters that the Congress performed poorly in the Assembly and the Lok Sabha elections.

Now, the party is desperate to bring the community again into its fold. On the contrary, the Gujjar community is cursing Sachin for not supporting them despite belonging to the same caste.
Abhishek Gaur, Jaipur


Rahul Gandhi’s Kerala visits continues to hit headlines for wrong reasons. In the past, a convoy-halting for tea-break on the road has left local leaders fending off tough questions on the Congress vice president’s impulsive ways.

Last week, Gandhi was subjected to unwarranted criticism on social media over a meal he had at a fisherman’s home in Chavakkad in Thrissur. After a photograph on the lunch appeared – it showed Gandhi and other leaders enjoying a fish meal served by the family – a doctored version of the photograph started doing the rounds.

Here, studio lights and other accessories were added, suggesting that the entire lunch was a staged photo-op. A popular humour forum on Facebook that shared the photograph later clarified that the image was Photoshopped as a sarcastic take on the politicians’ hype-hogging ways.

Gandhi-baiters, however, had already done the damage through mass sharing of what they called the ‘True Picture’.
R Krishnakumar, Thiruvananthapuram.

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