Another time, another controversy
Jayant Sinha is a man on a mission—embroiled in a controversy where he was seen garlanding eight men accused of lynching a man to death. This earned him a lot of flak with even some members of his party regretting the incident. But, on his mobile phone, Sinha has a picture of the victim in custody along with some policemen and points out that the man in question was not lynched to death, but died in custody. But the media has moved on to another controversy and there are few takers for Sinha’s clean chit.
Initialling a move
Jay Panda, the four-term Lok Sabha member, has resigned from the House after quitting his party, the Biju Janata Dal, but his farewell dinner was well attended, cutting across party lines. It was interesting to see Dharmendra Pradhan, the man tipped to be BJP’s chief ministerial face from Odisha present there, especially since there is an apprehension that Jay Panda’s move to the BJP may be blocked by Pradhan. As to whether he is heading to the saffron parivar, Panda is not revealing his cards just yet, though it seems a foregone conclusion considering that his support for some of Narendra Modi’s controvesial decisions such as demonetisation earned him Naveen Patnaik’s ire. And while Panda is not saying anything, his initials tell their own story, for BaiJayant Panda stands for BJP!
All dressed up, but…
James Crabtree’s latest book The Billionaire Raj (published by Harper Collins) has some fascinating stories about India’s billionaires whom he refers to as Bollygarchs (bit of Bollywood and Russia’s oligarchs). He writes about meeting Vijay Mallya at his Regent’s Park residence in London with various Rolls Royces and Bentleys parked in the driveway, along with a Maybach with the number plate VJM 1. Crabtree writes that “Mallya seemed to have time on his hands, appearing only modestly late for our meeting”. During the conversation, Mallya tells Crabtree, “In India, all kinds of jazz happens. You know they throw you in jail and say ‘sit there’. Why should I put myself at risk? Why should I not be entitled to a fair trial?…So I’m stuck here.” Well, why indeed. Clearly, he’s all dressed up, but has nowhere to go.
On controversy’s fast track
Suddenly there is a dearth of stories appearing in the media about a high profile Cabinet minister. This has the rumour mills speculating as to whether this is just a coincidence or if there is a concerted campaign against the said minister, who is unarguably on the fast track to success, apart from being a favourite with both the Prime Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah.