The Republic Day functions of late have become more of a ritual than celebration. But this function was something special as Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh hoisted National Tricolour at Digha Primary School located in the dense Saranda forest area of Chaibasa in Jharkhand. It was a special occasion for the local tribals. The national flag was not hoisted in the area in the last 20 years as the area was controlled by the Maoists. The forest has now been "liberated" from the Maoists as part of the Saranda Action Plan.
The Congress' Jaipur "declaration" was lost in the hullaballoo over Rahul Gandhi's "coronation". It's for the first time since the Panchmarhi session in 1998 that the declaration was silent on alliances. The political affairs committee headed by A.K. Antony said in its discussion paper that coalition politics was a reality. But party leaders, especially from Bihar and Deepa Dasmunshi from West Bengal put up a stiff opposition to pre-poll alliances, arguing that these were eating into the party's base. Even Kamal Nath stressed on the need to go it alone in the elections.