Despite being entitled to a ‘special darshan’, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu chose to stand in a queue meant for common pilgrims for a darshan of Lord Venkateswara on Tuesday. During his visit to the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam, Naidu set aside his protocol entitlement of worshipping Lord Balaji in the sanctum sanctorum by walking though the temple’s main entrance, the ‘Mahadwaram’. Later, he urged VIPs to consider visiting the busy temple only once a year so that the large number of common devotees are not inconvenienced.
The BJP has already raised the issue of “collusion” between former French President Francois Hollande and Congress president Rahul Gandhi regarding the former’s statement on the Rafale aircraft deal — that the Indian government had suggested Reliance as an offset partner. Now it seems the party is jittery about any sort of foreign focus on the deal. During an off-the-record conversation on the topic between a senior minister and journalists, a foreign journalist working for an international agency was asked to leave the room without any apparent provocation, leaving the other journalists confused. The foreign journalist refused to comment on the episode when contacted by The Indian Express.
After EVMS, political parties have found a new bogey —- the electoral roll. Or so thinks the Election Commission. Political parties have been alleging largescale discrepancies (duplicate names, essentially) in the voter lists of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana. The poll panel has been verifying all such claims on the ground through its machinery and found them to be grossly exaggerated. The EC, however, doesn’t expect such complaints to stop any time soon. An internal analysis of the national voter list found that out of the 87 crore voters, there are only 7.5 lakh unique first names. In some cases thousands, and even lakhs, have the same first name. With political parties mainly focusing only on the first name of voters in their complaints to allege discrepancies, the EC knows it’s in for another long and exhausting fight to prove that Indian elections are above board.