Modi and Jobs with books
As with every other major event,the weeklong National Book Fair in Ahmedabad had Narendra Modi all over the venue. To stress the kind of universal appeal that Modi enjoys,his admirers placed life-sized photos of Steve Jobs and the Chief Minister side by side. It did not,however,prove tempting enough to attract visitors to the stall; the most distracting feature of the book fair instead remained the food court. The book fair,incidentally,was national only in name. Most of the books were in Gujarati,with a heavy tilt towards religion and spirituality. Money was spent lavishly on promoting the event. The participants of all 25-odd events were paid return fares and presented wristwatches.
A fund-raising drive by the BJP launched two months ago has ended without a declaration about how much came in. People in the party and the media have been making guesses ranging from Rs 150 crore to Rs 500 crore,if not more. A review meeting was held last week to assess the collections but leaders who attended it were tight-lipped about it. Party spokesmen told journalists they were not supposed to ask or know about the money received. Initially,they had said the donation was exempted from income tax and anything collected would be in the public domain. With party workers having been given targets for completion of their collections,many felt it was not so much a donation drive as one of extortion.
Insult to women
The alleged insult and manhandling of Congress MP Dr Prabha Taviad by officials and BJP cadres during Gujarat Day celebrations at Dahod,her constituency,has set her party on an agitation. The slogans included some against insults to women Nari shakti ka apmaan bardasht nahin and gave the party much required visibility in public space.
Vijay Kharadi,IAS,set an example in economising when he decided to get married in a mass wedding organised by his community. The IAS officer of the 2009 batch married Seema,22,in a ceremony that included 35 other couples in Bhiloda of Sabarkantha district. Kharadi wanted to lead by example rather than lecture people on the virtues of simple living. The money spent on weddings and related events,he feels,is better spent on community initiatives.