Ever since the Finance Ministry under Nirmala Sitharaman restricted the entry of even accredited journalists — allowing them to enter only if they have a prior appointment — reporters covering the ministry have been demanding removal of the restrictions. On Friday, the journalists seized an opportunity to convince the minister, just as she was about to leave after the press conference. Sitharaman, however, did not agree to easing the restrictions. She jokingly asked senior PIB officials if they had allowed her to be “gheraoed” because she asked for a press conference at short notice.
It seems some of the public utterances about the economic slowdown by the Prime Minister’s economic advisory team have not gone down well with the ruling BJP. Shamika Ravi, member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, who had given some suggestions on Twitter on Thursday, termed the crisis a structural slowdown and said there had to be time-bound goals for many ministries. “Leaving economy to the finance ministry is like leaving the growth of a firm to its account department,” she tweeted. On Friday, immediately after Sitharaman’s press conference, Vijay Chauthaiwale, in-charge of BJP’s foreign affairs department, posted a tweet: “Hope @ShamikaRavi now withdraws her derogatorily (sic) remarks against finance ministry.” Soon came Ravi’s response. “I do. In fact I am v impressed with the announcements and promise of more in next 2 weeks.”
The appointment of Jyotiraditya Scindia as chairman of the screening committee for selection of candidates for the Maharashtra Assembly elections has not gone down well with many in the Congress. Scindia was among the first Congress leaders to openly back the BJP government’s decision to scrap special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Many Congress leaders were wondering whether the party was rewarding leaders who took a contrary stand. At least one leader said it was to be seen if the party would also reward Jairam Ramesh with a