Defence minister Rajnath Singh is currently in the USA with external affairs minister S. Jaishankar.
Politics is redundant
In a major departure from tradition, the Lok Sabha is yet to have a deputy Speaker. The new government took charge in May 2019 and two sessions — monsoon and winter — have passed without a deputy Speaker having been elected. Initially, it was thought that NDA ally Shiv Sena with 18 Lok Sabha MPs would have its representative in the office but following the Maharashtra poll results, the Sena parted ways kindling the hopes of JD(U) and other aspirants within the NDA parivar. The current thinking in the BJP is to have its own nominee. As a result several contenders have emerged, forcing a party rethink. Nowadays, a common refrain is that Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla is doing a fine job so a deputy Speaker is not being missed..
Was it a slip or a protocol lapse? Defence minister Rajnath Singh is currently in the USA with external affairs minister S. Jaishankar. In an official engagement, the external affairs minister was introduced ahead of Rajnath, who is the designated number two in the Narendra Modi government. Sources close to Rajnath wonder if the MEA failed to brief its US counterpart about the hierarchy and political stature of India's defence minister, or was it something innocuous. An informal probe is on.
Jairam’s writing career
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has written seven books since his party lost the 2014 elections. Historian Ramchandra Guha recently commented at an event in Bangalore that Narendra Modi’s victory has proved fortuitous for Ramesh. Someone quipped that if Rahul Gandhi was to return as AICC chief, Ramesh would soon have to make writing his fulltime career. A more charitable view was that if Rahul employs Ramesh’s wordsmith services, the speechwriter would have a difficult time catering to Rahul’s whims and frequent trips abroad.
Stirring up the good life
Salman and Louise Khurshid are a power couple in Delhi who love to host parties. It’s Christmas and an invite had gone to mediapersons and friends of the Khurshids for pre-Christmas celebrations but these had to be called off due to the CAA-NRC protests in the national capital. Salman Khurshid, whose grandfather Dr Zakir Hussain was a founder of Jamia Millia Islamia nearly a century ago, was at home in Jamia when the spontaneous stir began. Some students approached the politician-lawyer but Salman argued that he would only take up the case in the courts. The Khurshids offered a meal to some protesting students but soon Salman’s reluctance to participate in the stir appeared on social media. The politician reached ITO late in the night but he was heckled. Once bitten twice shy, the Khurshids quickly called off their pre-Christmas lunch.
When ‘Ravan’ did a Houdini
The ongoing CAA-NRC stir in the national capital found a new leader, Chandrashekhar “Ravan” Azad of the Bhim Army. Chandrashekhar, facing several police cases, was quick to reach ITO, New Delhi, a few hours after the Jamia stir with his band of supporters. The presence of a large number of dalits in solidarity with Jamia gave others a lot of confidence. On Friday, Chandrashekhar reached Jama Masjid on his own even though Imam Ahmad Bukhari made no attempt to acknowledge his presence. The Delhi police tried to nab him but Chandrashekhar gave them the slip. He and his team tweeted about the protest. Bhim Sena’s active involvement has rattled both Ram Vilas Paswan and Mayawati. Mayawati has started opposing CAA -NRC but her cadre is missing from action while Lok Janshakti Party led by Paswan is in major turmoil.