WHILE THE numbers appeared to be in its favour, the BJP was extra cautious about the passage of the GST Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Not willing to take any chances, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked his Cabinet colleagues to talk to each of the 11 nominated members. Former Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu was the most active on this front. The Prime Minister was clear that nobody should be left out, said a minister.
Batting for GST
WHILE ALL eyes were on the passage of the GST Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the social media cell of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was busy tracking the traction the issue gained online. Officials were happy when the analysis showed that over 40 per cent of the online discourse on GST was positive and just about three per cent was negative. Topping the list of ‘top influencers’ — users with huge following who mentioned the issue in their tweets — was Sachin Tendulkar. Incidentally, Tendulkar’s tweet in praise of the GST Bill was subjected to its fair share of trolling from those who ridiculed the Rajya Sabha MP for his abysmal attendance in the House.
DURING SMRITI Irani’s tenure as the HRD minister, her junior ministers were rarely seen at ministry-related events. A lot has changed after the cabinet reshuffle. The HRD Ministers of State now come to office regularly, attend events and even answer starred questions in Parliament. In what is probably a first under this government, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and his juniors, Upendra Kushwaha and Mahendra Nath Pandey, were all present during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, as each of them took turns to answer questions. During Irani’s two years in the ministry, neither of the two MoSes answered any question in Parliament.