Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Will I&B ministry make Smriti get back her aggressive launchpad? Plus, Parliament Highlights


A Trinamool Congress leader when asked to comment on Smriti Irani being given the I&B portfolio, rather mockingly said, "Team Modi will be back in aggressive mood and the charge of the sound brigade is with Television's best known daughter-in-law".

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Close on the heels Smriti Irani was given the additional portfolio of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting - one vital question that is being asked in the political circle and in the corridors of Parliament has been whether the television actress-tuned-neta has found back her launchpad for a big political career.
In the years to come, Ms Irani, who was shunted out from the Ministry of Human Resource Development in July 2016, would be effortlessly remembered for her stunning rise in politics in 2014 - when she was fielded to take on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi from the prestigious parliamentary constituency Amethi and later made the country's Human Resource Development ministry. 
There was a mild fall last year - and now probably - there is yet another rise as the Information Minister also becomes the automatic choice as the chief spokesman of the Union government.

Others dismiss these hyperbole queries - and say the additional charge of Information and Broadcasting Ministry assigned to the Textiles Minister today after M Venkaiah Naidu had to quit following his selection as BJP's pick for Vice President's post - would be only a temporary phenomenon. 
Known for having good working relation with Prime Minister Modi, Ms Irani made news as HRD Minister in her two-year stint chiefly for her rhetoric against the student unions and political detractors whom she more often called "secular commentariat".

Slammed and mocked for her educational qualification, she has been often accused by the Left, Trinamool Congress and others for alleged 'radicalisation' of ‘Hinduizing’ of India’s school and college curricula.
Sporting an impression of an extra-ordinary middle class woman - a 'bahu (role of a daughter-in-law she played in a soap opera), Ms Irani ensured that her "rightist" kind of remarks could make her crusade look anti-Left liberals. 
Her speech in Lok Sabha on February 24, 2016 on the controversies in JNU and on alleged suicide by a student in Hyderabad University was even lauded by Prime Minister Modi. 

The big tribute to her speech came from Mr Modi when he had tweeted ‘Satyemeva Jayete’ along with the video of Smriti’s speech. Prior to that, Mr Modi had tweeted ‘Satyemeva Jayete’ was on December 26, 2013 when a Ahmedabad court gave him a clean chit in Gulbarg Society case of 2002 mayhem.
However, when he undertook the reshuffle of the ministry in July 2016, Ms Irani was shifted to a low-profile portfolio of Textiles and she was replaced by a more amiable Prakash Javadekar. 



PM Modi and Rahul -- both -- working to bring an end to Congress: BJP lawmaker

July 19 : The BJP member Virendra Singh sparked off a major row in the Lok Sabha when he said both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi were dutifully fulfilling the "wishes" of Mahatma Gandhi as both were working to bury the Congress party into the pages of history.

"Yeh dono Congress ke visarjan ke liye kaam kar rahen haen (Both these leaders are working to finish Congress)," said Mr Singh, the lawmaker from Bhadoi in eastern UP.
The senior BJP MP made the remarks while participating in the debate on agrarian situation in the country. He said soon after country's Independence, Mahatma Gandhi had recommended that the Congress party should be discontinued.
As expected, his remarks were strongly countered by the Congress members like Jyotiraditya Scindia and KC Venugopal with both requesting the Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to expunge the BJP member's controversial comments. Ms Mahajan, however, said, "I will look into the text of the debate".
Mr Scindia said some remarks from Virendra Singh were "personal" in nature and thus should be expunged. 
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Earlier also, there were some clashes between the treasury and opposition members when Mr Singh insisted that the Congress party and Congress leaders did not have right to speak about farmers. He was strongly countered by Congress MPs Mr Scindia and Deepender Singh Hooda. At one point of time, the BJP MP also tried to silence the opposition members saying, he has been in public life and in Parliament for long.
The Congress members protested angrily and said the BJP member's conduct was unbecoming of an elected MP. 

Now, Bihar BJP leader Choubey cautions against any future tie up with Nitish Kumar

A senior BJP leader and a former Minister in the Bihar Government Ashwini Choubey said here today that the saffron party should be much careful in its dealings with state Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Mr Choubey mocked at Mr  Kumar's latest complaint about 'corruption' among RJD leaders and wanted to know, "...In 2013, did Nitish not know that Lalu Prasad was a scam tainted leader".

"We should not forget Nitish Kumar had back-stabbed our party once... I blame Nitish Kumar more than anyone else for reviving  Lalu Prasad and his politics of corruption and gross arrogance in Bihar," said Mr Choubey, sitting Buxar MP in the Lok Sabha.

He said since voted out of power in 2005 November, the RJD was on decline and the politics of Bihar was "changing fast"  as people were almost forgetting Lalu Prasad.

"But Nitish Kumar in his desperation to hang on to power went on to sit on Lalu Prasad's lap and the rest is not history, but a tragedy. Nitish Kumar himself is singularly responsible for this," said Mr Choubey, who was Health and Urban Development Minister in Nitish Cabinet from 2005 to 2013.

Mr Kumar had walked out of the NDA in June 2013 after Mr Narendra Modi was named as chairman of the BJP's election campaign committee.
Mr Choubey said, "The BJP leadership should be aware of Nitish Kumar's conduct in the past.... I am still to reconcile with the insult hurled on us when he cancelled the dinner party just to protest over a photograph of Narendra Modi".

"This is not a Bihari culture or part of our national ethos. We believe in Atithi Devo Bhava," he said.
The BJP MP said even Mr Kumar's excuse of moving out of NDA in 2013 over naming of Mr Modi as BJP's chairman of election campaign committee was "unjustified".
"Naming someone chairman of a party committee is internal matter of the BJP, Nitish had no say and no business to interfere," he said.

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Talking about the current political developments in Bihar wherein a latent tussle has started for about a week between the JD (U) and the BJP, Mr Choubey said, "The biggest loser in the entire game is Nitish Kumar himself and he is himself responsible for this".


"Nitish Kumar's stature has taken a hit and Lalu is now only trying to consolidate his support base," he said.

"According to me, Kumar's first major error that has harmed Bihar's interest was when he walked out of the NDA. Entire political paradigm of the state shifted from developmental planks to the caste idiom," he said, adding two other such mistakes include "dumping and isolating" Mahadalit leader Jiten Ram Manjhi.

"I also do not approve of his move to go to the RJD-Congress alliance forgetting his basic political foundation -- the JP Movement and anti-Congress politics," he said.

Mr Choubey further said Mr Kumar's double standards stand exposed as he forgot the corruption issue completely in 2013 and went to Lalu Prasad just to chalk out a "caste arithmetic".

"Only a self seeking leader can reduce politics to such a level," he accused.

The Bihar lawmaker insisted -- where is the "zero tolerance" to corruption pledge -- the JD(U) and Nitish Kumar had taken in 2005 and even in the past.

"We all are in politics, but personal ambition should have a limit," he said making a veiled attack on Nitish Kumar. Nitish Kumar-headed JD (U)-RJD and Congress alliance has run into major row in Bihar with Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi's name figuring in a corruption case. Mr Tejashwi has been named by the CBI as an accused in its probe into the land-for-hotels scam case. The JD (U) leadership and especially the Chief Minister Mr Kumar has indicated that Mr Tesjashwi should resign but the RJD has turned down the demand."

ends

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