Former minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal had to hurriedly fly down from London last week after the Supreme Court fixed Friday for its order on Sahara chief Subrata Roy’s plea for release from jail. Vacationing with his family, Sibal had apparently come back to India only for this case, to try his best to get Roy out of the jail after 15 months. But as fate would have it, the court refused any immediate reprieve. After spending a day, Sibal flew back to London.
HUMAN RESOURCE Development Minister Smriti Irani has headed to the Bahamas to attend a Commonwealth Education Ministers’ meet where she is scheduled to address the main plenary session. This, however, means she will not be in Delhi on Wednesday, a crucial day for her, when a Delhi court is likely to pronounce its order on a complaint against her for allegedly giving “false” information about her educational qualifications in affidavits filed with the Election Commission.
ENDORSEMENTS of India’s show on the International Day of Yoga led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been coming in from across the world. This one was certainly special. Tennis star Martina Hingis tweeted: “What an inspiration to everyone, @narendramodi. Have to start again too, great for health and wellbeing.” She also posted a picture of the Prime Minister doing yoga. Hingis recently met him in Delhi along with her mixed doubles partner Leander Paes after winning the 2015 Australian Open mixed doubles title.
THE unstated boycott of the International Yoga Day celebrations by the Congress — its leaders and MPs stayed away from Rajpath and party-ruled state governments did not organise functions — has triggered a debate within. Some leaders are said to be of the opinion that the party should not have given the event a miss altogether. After the Lok Sabha defeat, there has been a discussion in the party over the perception that it is pro-minority. These leaders feel that by staying away from the event, the party gave a free hand to the BJP and Narendra Modi to appropriate yoga, an Indian heritage. They are now arguing that the Congress should instead have struck a balance, sending a representative to Rajpath and at the same time slamming Modi for turning the event into a “PR exercise”. They are citing the example of Arvind Kejriwal who turned up at Rajpath.
AS IT turns out, the decision to appoint Gajendra “Yudhishthir” Chauhan as the chief of Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) indeed was more political than an administrative one. Chauhan’s candidature is learnt to have been cleared at the political level in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, ignoring the names of eminent personalities recommended from lower down the order. The bureaucracy was just asked to notify the decision. A few months ago, officials had put their foot down when the political leadership wanted to appoint a lightweight filmmaker to the committee that selects the Dadasaheb Phalke award winner. At that time, it had been successfully argued that nominating a “nobody” to such a prestigious committee was an invitation to public criticism. In FTII’s case, though, no one was given the opportunity to raise a red flag.