Gone before his time? Vajpayee’s ‘death’ mourned

Most people aren’t around to hear the news of their own death,but former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ‘demise...

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Published: February 16, 2009 11:32:21 pm

Most people aren’t around to hear the news of their own death,but former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ‘demise’ was mourned in Jhabhua at a government function. The ‘news’ of the senior BJP leader’s ‘unfortunate passing’ was broken to a young IAS officer who was presiding over the function. Since nobody thought it was necessary to crosscheck the information,‘homage’ was paid to Vajpayee. The officer was left red-faced when he was told that the news was false.

BJP minister pulled up for deference to Jyotiraditya

A BJP minister faced the wrath of his own party workers when he appeared to be ‘disoriented’ and rather too ingratiating in the presence of a former royal. At a function in Shivpuri,Minister of State for Home Narayan Kushwah shared the dais with Union Telecom Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia,the scion of the erstwhile Gwalior state. Though royalty is a thing of past it’s still common for people in areas once ruled by the Scindias to address the family members as ‘Maharaj’ and ‘Maharani.’ Kushwah not only used the honorific but also said he was “tuchh” (inferior) in comparison to Scindia. Local BJP leaders who were seated in the audience promptly took up the matter with the high command seeking Kushwah’s removal. Kushwah defended himself saying he was only showing his respect and appreciating Scindia’s work. “I did not commit any crime,” he said. The party is yet to give its verdict.

Exams and ‘outsiders’: now Cong cries foul

It was only a formality,and one mandated by law,but with elections around the corner it has became a major issue. The BJP Government recently removed a condition that entailed that those appearing for state services examination should have passed their Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) exams from MP. The condition had remained only on paper,as it was not enforced for the last eight years but that did not prevent the Congress from crying ‘injustice’ to local students. The Congress government had introduced the condition in 1997 but a tribunal quashed it almost immediately. Recently,the high court endorsed the tribunal’s order. The Cabinet justified the revocation of the decade-old order because the court ruled it was unconstitutional. Congress leaders flooded newspapers with statements criticising the Government,alleging that bureaucrats,whose children study out of MP,influenced the decision.

Sushma Swaraj defends switch to Bhopal safe seat

If they were asked to choose only one Lok Sabha constituency,most BJP candidates would settle for Bhopal. It is not for nothing that even Sushma Swaraj is also planning to contest from the state capital. “Is it necessary that I contest elections only from losing seats?” the senior leader said recently when asked about her possible candidature from Bhopal. She was,of course,referring to her loss in Bellary in Karnataka,where the party had fielded her against Sonia Gandhi. Most BJP leaders rank Bhopal as a safe seat. After all,the party has won it consecutively over the last two decades. Even in the recent Assembly elections,the BJP pocketed six of seven constituencies that make up the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency. The current address of Swaraj,who was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh,is in Bhopal.

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