Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has reached out to nearly all members of the Upper House, former Indian Presidents, Prime Ministers, present and former Chief Justices of India, Governors and Chief Ministers of nearly all states, leaders of various political parties and even mediapersons, asking after their health and safety during the lockdown. Part of his “Mission Connect”, Naidu has already spoken to 241 Rajya Sabha members, including those who have retired and those recently reelected. He has spoken with former Presidents Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil as well as former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda. He has held several video-conferencing calls with Governors to assess the situation during the pandemic in these states. Naidu has also reached out to CJI S A Bobde, and his predecessors Deepak Misra and Ranjan Gogoi, now a Rajya Sabha MP.
Follow No More
About three weeks after the White House followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Twitter, the official handle of the White House has unfollowed them all. Around April 10, the White House followed the personal Twitter handles of Kovind, Modi and the PMO. With this, Modi and President Kovind became the only world leaders who were followed by the White House on Twitter. But no more. Besides the three handles, the White House has also unfollowed the Indian Embassy in Washington and the US Embassy in New Delhi. By Wednesday evening, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took an apparent dig at the government by tweeting about the development — he expressed “dismay” and asked the MEA to look into it.
The MHA’s order on inter-state movement of migrant workers and students has created an interesting buzz in the power corridors. Many bureaucrats are saying that the Centre has for the first time displayed the “true spirit of cooperative federalism”. They say this is perhaps the only occasion when the Centre has followed a lockdown relaxation model already exercised by a state. The reference is primarily to Uttar Pradesh, which had begun extracting students and migrant workers in large numbers from other states much before the MHA’s latest order. Many also pointed to the apparent cue provided in a report in RSS mouthpiece ‘Panchjanya’, which hailed the way Yogi Adityanath is managing the state during the ongoing pandemic.
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