With Assembly elections slated for the end of the year, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has decided to become more accessible to the public. In a move aimed at improving his presence on social media, the Congress leader on Monday put out his WhatsApp number on Twitter, requesting everyone to connect with him through the number. On Sunday, the CM had a Facebook Live session with his followers.
At the swearing-in ceremony in Lucknow on Sunday, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu was seated near Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh. While what Mulayam whispered to Prime Minister Narendra Modi — as seen in the pictures of the ceremony that were circulated — remains a secret, the SP founder was reportedly heard giving a running commentary on almost all the ministers who took oath. Mulayam seemed to have a brief on most of the 44 ministers.
South Block is trying to cash in on soft power, as it has found that there are many decision-makers and opinion-makers in foreign countries who have studied in Indian universities and educational institutions. So, apart from preparing a database, it has started giving awards to some of them. On Monday, it handpicked some of them — including Soe Win, secretary in the Myanmar government’s education ministry, Laura Gibratovna Yerekesheva, an academic from Kazakhstan, I Ketut Widnya, the director general of Hindu Community Guidance in Indonesia’s religious affairs ministry. There is a move to get more international alumni in the coming months and connect with India’s education system.
Under PM’s Watch
The ascent of Yogi Adityanath to the top post in UP is being presented by the BJP as giving the state a strong leadership to usher in development. Early indications are the Prime Minister’s Office will be watching, too. Principal Secretary to PM Nripendra Mishra has begun spending time in UP. He has had a long meeting with Adityanath and is learnt to have had discussions with many UP bureaucrats. Mishra, incidentally, was an IAS officer of the UP cadre before he retired.