When Ajit Doval walked the streets of riot hit North-East Delhi it created quite a buzz in the rest of the capital. Why was the NSA deployed for this task and not Home Minister Amit Shah? Did this mean Shah is being censured for not being able to control the riots during the high profile Donald Trump visit? Do we expect a Cabinet reshuffle soon? Well, according to well placed sources, one reason why Shah did not patrol the streets of Delhi was that his presence might not have sent the right message—both to the right wing lot and members of the minority community. Moreover, Doval is an ex cop and has experience of handling such situations. Also, the fact that an IB official was targeted has led to speculation that there could be more to the riots than just a clash between two communities. The conspiracy theorists have their speculation as to who got to benefit from showing India down during the high profile visit; while others point out that instead of taking the sheen away from Trump’s visit, these kinds of clashes only added to his narrative of “Islamic terror”. In the end, questions remain.

Congress: Missing In Action
Should the Congress continue with its boycott of television debates? Ever since the 2019 Lok Sabha debacle (followed by Rahul Gandhi’s resignation) the party has stopped sending spokespersons to the television studios, claiming that anyway the media was biased against them. What was left unsaid was that the party had very little to say in its favour. But now, especially after the Budget has failed to enthuse the middle class, and at a time when the CAA debate and Delhi riots are being discussed, when the BJP is losing a spate of state polls, shouldn’t the party come out of its hibernation? Otherwise, it has simply outsourced opposition to the non Congress opposition such as Pavan Varma, Derek O’Brien, Kalikesh Singh Deo, Pinaki Misra, Sitaram Yechury, Jayant Chaudhary and sundry AAP leaders. And here’s a note of caution—they may criticise the BJP, but none of them are going out on a limb to support the Congress! So, just as Congress is fast becoming a non player in the various state polls, it is also becoming a non-existent factor in the TV studios. Being a non-entity has its own pitfalls.

Protocol First
While Hardeep Puri, the affable former diplomat, was made minister-in-waiting to the US President, there was some speculation that another Cabinet Minister, the very articulate Smriti Irani would be minister-in-waiting to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who also functions as a senior advisor to the US President. However, sources claim that the US officials ruled out any minister-in-waiting for Ivanka.

No RSVPs here
Last week saw BJP leader Sudanshu Mittal celebrating the wedding of his son Devansh with Aakriti. The guest list was as impressive as the venue, for the festivities culminated in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and saw almost the entire Cabinet attending, apart from the President and the Vice President of India. What was interesting, however, was to see a strong RSS presence there—be it Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi, Suresh Soni, Krishna Gopal, Ram Lal and Dattatreya Hosabale. The wedding also saw a host of Governors making it to the capital—from Kalraj Mishra, Arif Mohammed Khan and V.P. Singh Badnore to Bhagat Singh Koshyari. The festivities also saw performances by Adnan Sami, Sonu Nigam, Mohit Chauhan and Pankaj Udhas. The hospitality was on a grand scale, but there was also a personal touch to the entire proceedings, beginning with the invitations to the welcome at the venue. And judging by the traffic jams at the venue itself, this was clearly the one of the most well attended weddings of the season.

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