Inside Track: Flying phobia

Recently, PM Narendra Modi asked Uma Bharti to fly to Tel Aviv as part of the preparations for his trip to Israel on July 4. Bharti suggested to the PMO that the secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources should go in her place.

Written by Coomi Kapoor | Published:July 2, 2017 12:15 am
uma bharti, narendra modi, israel visit, amit shah, human shield, kashmir, india news, indian express news Union Minister of Water Resources Uma Bharti has a fear of flying and avoids taking flights whenever she can.

Flying phobia

Union Minister of Water Resources Uma Bharti has a fear of flying and avoids taking flights whenever she can. Within the country she generally travels by train or road. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Bharti to fly to Tel Aviv as part of the preparations for his trip to Israel on July 4. Five Central ministers visited Israel to prepare the groundwork and finalise joint agreements. Bharti suggested to the PMO that the secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources should go in her place.

But the suggestion was vetoed, since it was a ministerial-level delegation. On the day of the flight, three officials and two state government ministers were set to board the aircraft. Bharti’s staff had got her boarding card issued and checked in four pieces of luggage. But Bharti did not show up. She was on her way to the airport when she suddenly told the driver to take her to All India Institute of Medical Sciences instead as she was having difficulty breathing.

Not inhuman: PM

Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democrats in the US House of Representatives, headed an Indo-US delegation which met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May. Pelosi raised what she considered a violation of human rights — Major Leetul Gogoi tying a Kashmiri artisan to an Army jeep, so as to ward off protesters.

Modi disagreed, arguing that the major had, in fact, saved a number of lives by his action. The mob was pelting stones and turning increasingly violent, he said, adding that the Army convoy which was entrusted with maintaining law and order during a by-election in Srinagar would not have been spared but for Gogoi’s “brainwave”.

Auspicious rituals

BJP president Amit Shah, on the advice of his three favourite astrologers from Gujarat, fixed the time for presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind to file his nomination papers on June 23 at 11.56 am. This also suited the superstitious alliance partners from the South, who wanted Kovind to avoid the “inauspicious Rahukaalam” period. C Ramesh, a Telugu Desam Party MP, placed angavastrams on the shoulders of Kovind and Shah. The angavastrams were supposed to carry Lord Balaji’s blessings from the Tirupati temple.

Palace to castle

With Pranab Mukherjee to retire soon, what happens to Omita Paul, the powerful secretary to the President? Unlike others on the President’s staff who will have to get used to less palatial quarters, Paul, the wife of K K Paul, the Governor of Uttarakhand, will have two magnificent mansions to occupy as first lady of the state — Uttarakhand is one of the very few states with two Raj Bhawans. One in Dehradun, a large colonial building, formerly a circuit house, and the other in Nainital, a Scottish castle on 205 acres, which also includes a golf course and swimming pool.

BJP’s challenge

For the BJP, one of the biggest electoral challenges next year would be whether it can actually wrest the tiny state of Tripura from the firm grip of the CPM. Popular Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has been in power there since 1998. The BJP does not have a single member in the present Assembly and yet the party has aspirations of outright victory.

The BJP general secretary and in-charge of the Northeast, Ram Madhav, is optimistic. Party president Amit Shah has visited Tripura thrice and the BJP has planned for all its big guns, from the Prime Minister downwards, to campaign in the state. The BJP is encouraged by the large number of Congress and TMC legislators and workers who are moving towards it, and the party is emerging as the real opposition.

Winding down

Ever since Ram Nath Kovind’s name was announced as the NDA candidate, President Pranab Mukherjee has started cutting down on official trips and has even cancelled some engagements. Mukherjee had put off his visit to Hyderabad in June and three programmes scheduled for July have been cancelled. A stickler for the rule book, Mukherjee feels that now that the election process for his successor has been set in motion, he should begin winding down.

He plans to spend much of his last days as President in Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mukherjee will be hosting a series of farewell lunches and dinners, including for senior political leaders, the entire Supreme Court bench, all UPSC members, and the chiefs of the Armed Forces.

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  1. C
    Common Man
    Jul 3, 2017 at 12:09 am
    Cleanup of UPA appointees should gather steam. With current Prez gone, other Guvs officials should also go. Depending on individuals, corruption cases should also be investigated
    Reply
    1. N
      Nawaz Ahmed
      Jul 2, 2017 at 9:21 pm
      For non complience of order of PM, she should be removed from ministry and send her to monstry
      Reply
      1. A
        ashok
        Jul 2, 2017 at 4:29 pm
        How long K K Paul retains the two Raj Bhavans remains to be seen.
        Reply
        1. T
          TIHAEwale
          Jul 2, 2017 at 1:11 pm
          so how could C Ramesh, the Telugu Desam Party scum could not get CBN elected as CM between 2004-2014
          Reply
          1. S
            sk
            Jul 3, 2017 at 1:34 am
            Only one scum calls another a scum, without any basis.
            Reply
          2. L
            ladu
            Jul 2, 2017 at 10:18 am
            shocking that Modi should repeat the canard that Leetul Gogoi saved lives. The PM has just violated the Indian cons ution and if this India was a true democracy he would have been asked to step down. Tying a citizen to an army jeep is not saving lives, it is called barbaric military rule. Shame on the PM d please tell us what Nancy Pelosi replied.
            Reply
            1. R
              Rahul
              Jul 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm
              chal nikal, porki...
              Reply
              1. G
                Guest
                Jul 2, 2017 at 11:31 pm
                Which law of cons ution has been violated? Care to quote the paragraph.
                Reply
                1. R
                  R K
                  Jul 3, 2017 at 2:34 pm
                  such acts will be repeated time and again with the anti nationals for they have no human rights in our eyes...
                  Reply
                2. N
                  Neelakantan Chandrasekaran
                  Jul 2, 2017 at 7:28 am
                  Another example of bias against Hindu practices! Again by English educated "liberal" Beliefs are present in all religions! The wine given by the bishop is it divine? Pope gives it to all heads of Govt! But only beliefs of Hindus alone are made fun of! No one I repeat no one dares to make fun of a Christian or a Muslim ! I can list many if needed of such practices! This is Secularism in India No wonder VHP is gaining from strength to strength. VHP does not win- these secularists and other parties make them win! Pity!
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    Sunny
                    Jul 2, 2017 at 5:12 pm
                    With out knowing the facts don't make observation, see Film Romans , a Malayalam Movie, widely accepted, How Biju meanon Hero, , confessing a pros ute, and eagerness of Kunchacko Boban another hero to hear the --. There are number of such films like that I don't,t think there is any protest for such seen in Kerala
                    Reply
                  2. V
                    Venkatraman Shenoy
                    Jul 2, 2017 at 5:22 am
                    It is clear from the list of pre-arranged programmes and tours, the out-going president, Pranab Mukharjee had entertained strong hopes of being re-elected as a consensus candidate. Or else, a "chatur Brahman" would have seen the writing on the wall much earlier.
                    Reply
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