External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and historian Ramchandra Guha were engaged in a Twitter spat over the claim in a new book that Jawaharlal Nehru did not want Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in his Cabinet in 1947, and omitted Patel’s name from the initial Cabinet list. The book on V P Menon by his great granddaughter, scholar Narayani Basu, has stirred the hornet’s nest, and it was challenged by historians Srinath Raghavan and Guha. As Guha accused Jaishankar, who released the book on Wednesday, of promoting fake news, the minister retorted, “some Foreign ministers do read books. May be a good habit for some Professors too. In that case, strongly recommend the one I released yesterday.” Guha replied that since Jaishankar has a PhD from JNU, he must have read more books, and asked him to consult the published correspondences of Nehru and Patel, which documents how Nehru wanted Patel as the “strongest pillar” of his first Cabinet. Guha also tweeted a copy of Nehru’s letter to Patel.
CM Again, No PM
As Arvind Kejriwal sends out telephone messages to Delhiites, inviting them to come to Ramlila Maidan on Sunday for his swearing-in, one prominent Delhiite has decided to be out of station that day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in his constituency — Varanasi — where he will, among other things, flag off a new train that, for the first time, connects all three places housing the jyotirlingas: Varanasi, Ujjain and Indore.
As a mark of tribute to former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the Ministry of External Affairs has renamed Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra, a convention centre in New Delhi, as Sushma Swaraj Bhawan and Foreign Service Institute — also in New Delhi, where diplomats are trained — as Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service. The announcement was made on the eve of Swaraj’s birth anniversary on February 14.
Free from the Delhi Assembly polls, new BJP president J P Nadda is gearing for some personal tasks to attend to by this month-end before he gets sucked into another round of political mobilisation. Nadda’s son is getting married at the end of this month. It is believed that the Naddas are planning three sets of events — the wedding at Ajmer and receptions each in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi — to suit his circle of relations and acquaintances. The little glitch is that the wedding function is likely to collide with US President Donald Trump’s visit, which was announced recently.
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