Updated: February 16, 2019 1:12:25 am
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid last respects to the slain CRPF personnel at Delhi’s Palam Air Force area on Friday, the only minister present, besides those in charge of security-related ministries, was Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore. Rathore arrived early and stood after Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Rathore is also assigned to ensure that different Union ministers attend funerals of the slain paramilitary personnel – he will coordinate with the BJP’s state units for that.
On Friday, former IAS officer from Jammu and Kashmir, Shah Faesal, was scheduled to be the speaker at the annual lecture of the Centre for Policy Analysis on “The Way Forward” in Kashmir. In the backdrop of the terror attack in the Valley, Faesal dropped the idea of being the speaker. In a last-minute arrangement, the centre instead organised a discussion with panelists that included Faesal. “I asked if the event can be rescheduled…. However, there are certain things that need to be told and rituals to be fulfilled. And I agreed for a discussion. I wish to share my deepest condolences to the family who lost their loved ones,” Faesal said. In the audience was former diplomat and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar. Handed the microphone to speak on the topic, Aiyar chose not to ask any question at the event, and instead only greeted Faesal.
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It was not just Avtar Singh Bhadana who missed a chance to hog the limelight when he joined the Congress – cricketer-turned-BJP MP Kirti Azad also could not turn his entry into a media event. Bhadana was to join the Congress in Lucknow in the presence of party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday. He did join, but Priyanka wound up her press conference in two just minutes after paying respect to the CRPF personnel killed in the Pulwama terror attack. On Friday, Azad met Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who asked him to defer the function of his official entry to February 18, as the country is observing a three-day mourning.
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