On a mission to repair ties with Nepal, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Thursday landed in Kathmandu and spoke to the local media in fluent Nepalese. His mother is from the Himalayan neighbour, and Shringla knows the language quite well. The Foreign Secretary’s proficiency in the local language is expected to be an asset in striking a rapport with the Nepalese leadership.
After Bihar elections, the BJP has pledged free Covid-19 vaccine and tests for all in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls as well. The promise in the party’s manifesto for the Hyderabad civic elections comes just after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned against politicisation of the coronavirus vaccine. During his meeting with chief ministers over the pandemic on Tuesday, Modi, without taking names, said that some people were trying to politicise the vaccine issue. Earlier, the BJP had made a similar promise in its vision document released before Bihar Assembly polls, drawing criticism from opposition parties. But BJP leaders pointed out that the Election Commission had rejected those objections.
The commemoration of Constitution Day organised by the Supreme Court saw the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind, besides the Chief Justice, other Supreme Court judges and senior advocates and members of the Bar. For the President, it seemed like a homecoming of another kind. Speaker after speaker, such as Attorney General K K Venugopal, Justices N V Ramana and R F Nariman, and Supreme Court Bar Association president Dushyant Dave, referred to Kovind’s long stint at the Bar, while the President himself recalled the pro bono work he did as a lawyer. In his welcome to the President, CJI S A Bobde said he would alternatively like to address the President as “the most famous advocate in India.”
While it is not unusual for politicians to announce big projections, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday made what, at least at present, appears to be a grand prediction. Asked about the next big elections – in West Bengal – Singh said that the BJP will not just win there but can even win with a two-third majority. “(I) cannot rule out the possibility that BJP will be in a position to form the government with a two-third majority. It (BJP) will definitely get the majority; I am confident,” he said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
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