While it is known that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been holding a series of stakeholder consultations in the run-up to the Union budget and there are bureaucratic reasons to explain her absence, the two pictures of the Prime Minister’s consultation with economists and captains of industry have got many a tongue wagging in the ruling and Opposition camps. The Congress ran a social media campaign with the hashtag ‘FindingNirmala’. “How many men does it take to do a woman’s job?” it tweeted, with photographs of the PM meeting top economists at NITI Aayog along with ministers like Amit Shah and Nitin Gadkari. Responding to a post on the BJP’s official handle on the Finance Ministry inviting suggestions for the Budget, the Congress tweeted, “Here’s a suggestion, next budget meeting, consider inviting the Finance Minister.” Given the state of the economy, political leaders are wondering if there are some signals for the Finance Minister.
With its new president set to take over in the third week of January, there is a dilemma in the BJP. As the announcement of elections has kicked off the model code of conduct in Delhi and the state unit is busy with polls, the party is contemplating what kind of a programme may be organised for the taking-over ceremony. While a section is keen on a mega celebration, another section apprehends that this could invite criticism. There is also a suggestion that there could be a small ceremony in January and a bigger one later.
A common sight at the anti-CAA protests across the nation is the recitation of the Preamble of the Constitution by participants. However, this not just confined to protest sites. At the New Delhi World Book Fair, the Department of Justice has set up a dedicated kiosk for reading of the Preamble for children, who can obtain a ‘certificate’. However, this exercise has nothing to do with the CAA. The idea of reading the Preamble is being done by the Department of Justice, under the Union Law Ministry, in continuation with year-long activities being undertaken to create awareness on ‘citizen duties’.