Off the record

Raje faces Modi’s ire

Disgraced Indian Premier League (IPL) czar Lalit Modi’s decision to drag in Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje into the controversy when they are supposed to be “old friends” was an attempt by him to take the focus away from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. His idea, according to Raje’s rivals, was to expose someone much more deeply involved in helping him in securing the UK travel papers last year. Perhaps, it worked as the opposition ire turned on Raje.

Also, it is a pointer that Modi’s relations with Raje are not what it used to be since he was removed as the head of the Rajasthan Cricket Association last year and replaced by the BJP’s minority cell convener in the state, Amin Pathan, once a confidant of Modi, and also considered a Raje associate. A livid Modi, who was very upset with Raje for his ouster, even tweeted that BJP vice-president Om Mathur be made chief minister of Rajasthan.
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Khadi counter

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much publicised yoga campaign, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has decided to popularise khadi as a counter campaign ahead of the assembly polls in October. As a start, Kumar directed his employees and school teachers to wear khadi two days a week. Khadi has become a cottage industry across the country since Gandhi popularised it. Kumar told his ministers to promote khadi as a way to provide large scale employment to the youth.

With Prashant Kishore, one-time campaign aide of Modi on his side, Kumar’s new emphasis on khadi is seen as a novel way to stump the PM’s penchant to push such things as a poll campaign. Fortunately for Kumar, the state government employees’ union has no issues with this. Meanwhile, Kishore is giving ideas to match Modi’s style of campaign, involving heavy use of audio-visual and the social media to resurrect Nitish Kumar’s governance plank.
SI, New Delhi

Info in English?

The Modi government launch-ed with much fanfare, a web portal detailing three crop insurance schemes targeted at farmers. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that farmers did not have adequate information about the insurance schemes and the new web portal – http:// farmer.gov.in/insurance, will help bridge the gap. The website will have information for every block on the premium, cut-off dates and details of the people from insurance companies to be contacted to settle claims.

However, the website intended to reach more than 235 million farmers, conveys all the required information in English, a language still alien to most of the small and marginal farmers. Singh admitted to the new information divide and promised to have a Hindi version of the website at the earliest.
Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi

Furious Naidu

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has rejected the application of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu seeking permission to build a new house. The chief minister has shifted to a temporary accommodation and started dismantling his old house in the posh Banjara hills area of the GHMC area. While the GHMC says that Naidu is not adhering to the rules while constructing the new house, Naidu is furious as he claims that he is the architect of modern Hyderabad.

Even as the tussle between the GHMC’s town planning department and Naidu goes on, few netizens have started posting comments on the issue, advising Naidu to do it the right way. “Naidu should encroach upon someone’s land, construct the house flouting all the rules and then apply for regularisation. That is the right way to build a house in Hyderabad.”
JBS Umanadh, Hyderabad

Minority issue

This is something interesting, and a little political. Maharashtra Revenue and Agriculture minister Eknath Khadse is now after schools who have violated the minority status. Top 10 schools of south Mumbai have been issued show-cause notices which include, the The Cathedral and John Connon School, the school where Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis’s daughter studies. In all, four Christian, four Parsi and two Jain/Gujarati schools have been served the notices.

“We have seen that educati-onal institutions take all the benefits of being a minority institution, but sometimes, do not have even a single student of the minority community conc-erned. Minorities will not prog-ress unless they are brought to the mainstream. Hence, we have sent show-cause notices to the institutions asking why their ‘minority’ status should not be cancelled,” said Khadse.
Mrityunjay Bose, Mumbai

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


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