Keeping the media at an arm’s length may not always be a wise strategy for the government, the BJP seems to be realising. After its allies in Tamil Nadu criticised its alleged attempt to rename Teachers’ Day as “Guru Utsav”, the BJP hurriedly called HRD Minister Smriti Irani to the party office to get her to clarify that there were no such attempts. “Because the minister is not meeting journalists and communicating directly, the media collects information from others, which may not be correct always,” admitted a party leader. The party has now started discussions on resuming daily briefings and frequent interactions with ministers for the media.
Misssing in action
The Congress is set to finalise its candidates for the crucial round of Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra this week. The seat-sharing talks with the NCP in Maharashtra is also progressing. But the general secretaries in charge of the two states are missing in action. Shakeel Ahmed, the general secretary in charge of Haryana, is on leave as he is abroad. His colleague Ajay Maken is standing in for him. Mohan Prakash, the high command’s minder for Maharashtra, has been in hospital for over 15 days now because of a fractured leg. A rod had to be inserted and no one knows when he will be back in action. It is another matter than Prakash is monitoring the party’s poll-related activities from his hospital bed.
Despite strong objections, including those by a former Supreme Court judge, the NDA government has decided to appoint former Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam as Governor of Kerala. However, the former CJI’s wait to be sworn in as the next Governor of Kerala has been prolonged as President Pranab Mukherjee is not in Delhi. Home Ministry officials said they have Sathasivam’s appointment letter ready but are waiting for the President to come back as he is on a two-day tour of Jammu. He is expected to be back on Tuesday. Sathasivam will be replacing Sheila Dikshit who resigned last week.
At Tri Nagar, Smriti Irani centered her speech around Modi, with over 10 references in 11-minute extempore.