Maneka Gandhi, the Minister for Women and Child Development was at the receiving end of male ire when she recently commented that men should be denied paternity leave as they would clearly treat it like “another holiday”. This got all the new-age dads up in arms, for they claim to be as hands-on a parent as the moms. However, Maneka wasn’t alone in her reservations against paternity leave. Surprisingly, some male ministers in the Cabinet too agreed with her, such as Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya. But he was smart enough to keep his views out of the public, for why antagonise a powerful vote bank? One wonders, then, is that the reason why Maneka Gandhi, who was slated to address the press later that day on the new surrogacy draft bill was replaced at the last minute by Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj?


The changes suggested in the surrogacy draft bill have raised a lot of eyebrows. The government seems to have its reasons to more or less ban surrogacy, claiming that this would prevent exploitation and stop the rent-a-womb culture. There is some merit in this argument. But how do you explain the comments by a Cabinet minister, who briefed reporters off the record that surrogacy actually dilutes the Indian lineage. Will someone please explain to him what surrogacy actually means?


Those in the BJP who care, and those outside the BJP who want a share, have noticed that two Rajya Sabha seats have suddenly fallen vacant. One is Najma Heptullah’s seat after she was made Governor recently. And the other is Navjot Singh Sidhu’s. Of course Sidhu’s seat falls in the nominated category, which is why some “Friends-of-the-BJP” have suddenly begun brushing up their CVs. But a word of caution: has Sidhu also sent his resignation from his parliamentary seat to the chairman of the Rajya Sabha? In fact BJP sources claim that he has not even resigned from the party, but still has gone ahead and floated a new outfit. Clearly, the former batsman still knows how to hit the ball straight out of the field.


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