A Kolkata police station had issued an arrest warrant against Aveek Sarkar,the chief editor of the Ananda Bazar Patrika group of publications,ostensibly because The Telegraph,its English daily,had reproduced a controversial tweet about a Pakistani cricketer. The Kolkata police cited the news item to charge the newspaper with instigating communal disharmony. It is believed the real reason was that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was furious with the ABP Group for criticising her government. Sarkar filed a writ petition before the Kolkata High Court,charging harassment. He has now obtained anticipatory bail. West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan,meanwhile,summoned the state chief secretary and chided him for allowing the government to indulge in acts of vendetta.
The RSS has brokered a temporary truce between Narendra Modi and his rivals in the BJP. The seating arrangement at a recent meeting of the BJPs parliamentary party reflected the patch-up. L K Advani occupied the prime position,sitting next to Modi and party president Rajnath Singh. Last week Advani also came back pleased after a three-hour meeting with Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur. Murli Manohar Joshi also met the RSS chief. The two men wanted to ensure they would be permitted to contest the next parliamentary election and not be debarred because of their age. The message sent out by the RSS was that while Modi would be projected as the prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 campaign,in the event of the BJP failing to get adequate numbers,the question of leadership could be re-opened to see who was best suited for cobbling together a majority in Parliament. This is a change from the RSSs position that Advani and Joshi should make way for younger people and should not contest at all. The RSS has figured out that an unhappy Advani can prove troublesome for the BJP.
A wedding in the CBI
AFTER the wedding of CBI Director Ranjit Sinhas daughter in Patna on July 13,the reception in Delhi on July 19 promises to be a grand affair. Prominent political leaders,as well as judges,journalists,advocates and contacts of senior CBI staff have been invited. Officials of the CBI are distributing invitation cards and also preparing the list of invitees.
Some of Jairam Rameshs ministerial colleagues have nicknamed him leader of the opposition in the Cabinet. The Union Minister of Rural Development is quick to notice points of divergence between issues in Cabinet notes and the views of the AICC and UPA,as projected in the election manifesto. Ramesh has had differences with ministers such as P Chidambaram,Kapil Sibal,Kamal Nath and,occasionally,even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Recently,Ramesh made it clear that he opposed taking the ordinance route on food security and pointed out that his own ministry was proposing to bring land reform measures as a Bill. The PM seems to have paid heed. Recently,he directed his ministers to keep in mind the AICC poll manifesto before preparing the Union Cabinet agenda.
Only for the IAF
When Minister of State for Home R P N Singh flew to Chhattisgarh to attend the funeral of Congress leader Mahendra Karma,who was killed in the May 25 Maoist attack in the states Jagdalpur district,he noticed that the IAF officers on board were wearing bullet-proof jackets and had other protective paraphernalia. When he enquired where his bullet-proof vest was,he was told that the vests were issued only to Air Force personnel.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) team sent to probe the serial blasts at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya on January 7 began its investigations almost 24 hours after the blasts. The team led by IPS officer Vikas Vaibhav left Delhi by a Home Ministry aircraft,but had to return halfway because of bad weather. Later the team caught a commercial flight and could reach Patna only in the evening. The question is that since the weather conditions were known,why did the NIA not requisition an IAF plane in advance?
There is a rivalry among party spokespersons over how much time each gets to be seen on TV channels. Among the BJP media cell members,two spokespersons are so anxious to be seen on TV that both of them have made it a practice to be dressed and ready by 9 am sharp waiting to give the first sound bite of the day.