Naidu first VP to attend Rajya Sabha day celebrations

Rajya Sabha was constituted for the first time on 3 April 1952. Since then, every year, Rajya Sabha Day is observed on this day. M. Venkaiah Naidu became the first Vice-President of India and Rajya Sabha Chairman to attend the day’s function in Parliament House, held on 10 April. The celebrations began in 1995. Naidu, who is quite upset with the Opposition for causing chaos and disruption in Parliament, utilised the opportunity to lash out at them at the function. Naidu said that despite his assurance to accommodate the concerns of all parties, the members preferred to engage in disruptions.

“It was our collective failure to transact important business and deliberate on matters of urgent public importance which has attracted the criticism. What happened was a sad commentary on the functioning of our parliamentary democracy.”

Minister’s media dinner called off on PM’s day of fast

On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party ministers, Members of Parliament and its top leaders kept a fast against the stalling of Parliament by the Opposition. An embarrassing situation was avoided on that day, thanks to an alert senior government media advisor.

On the day of the fast, Union Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Mines, Narendra Singh Tomar briefed the media on annual achievements of his ministry and about Gram Swaraj Abhiyan in New Delhi in the evening. He wanted to invite the media for dinner later. When the dinner proposal reached the Press Information Bureau, asking it to issue invitations to journalists, a senior official immediately asked the ministry’s top brass how this could be organised on the day of the PM’s fast, high level ministry sources told The Sunday Guardian. The ministry officials tried to justify the dinner idea by saying that “it would be after PM’s fasting hours”.

Sources said that the seasoned media advisor stuck to his view that the dinner should not be held on a high-profile day of fast and should be postponed. He apparently told the ministry officials that there was a high risk that the media would talk of the minister’s “lavish dinner” so soon after the PM ended his fast. It is said that he was apprehensive that this fast would become a major controversy like Congress leaders eating a hearty chhole bhature breakfast before their day-long hunger strike at Rajghat.

“This forceful argument worked and the Ministry dropped Tomar’s dinner for media,” sources said, refusing to identify the “wise” media advisor.

Radha Mohan Singh

More fake news on social media

Some political—both ruling and Opposition—and other unknown forces are “misusing” social media dangerously. In this game of fake news and disinformation the common man is caught, not knowing what is true or not. One such incident happened soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi finished his rally in Champaran (Bihar), addressing more than 20,000 young men and women (cleanliness ambassadors) from villages across India who had come to participate in the inaugural of a movement, which is being called “Satyagraha Se Swachhagraha”. Union Agriculture Minister, Radha Mohan, who is the Lok Sabha member from East Champaran, was present on the occasion. The moment the event was over, social media was bombarded with images of Radha Mohan urinating in public as his two commandoes stood guard nearby, claiming that this was a mockery of Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign. The fact is that these images were of June 2017. But public memory is short. A lot of people believed that these had been captured during Modi’s Champaran event.

Dalit anger worries RSS, BJP; MPs, allies plan to take corrective measures

The RSS has alerted the BJP leadership about rising Dalit anger across the country and asked it to take corrective measures otherwise the saffron party might face a tough time in the Assembly elections in Karnataka in May and in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh later. Dalit anger can spill over into the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as well.The postponement of the BJP chief Amit Shah’s scheduled visit to Lucknow was seen in this context, with the “anti-reservation” Mahabandh on Tuesday. Instead, Shah opened a park opposite the BJP headquarters in New Delhi. The party leaders claimed that this was part of his plan for the day. Shah went to Lucknow on Wednesday. Shah is now going to concentrate on the poll-bound Karnataka, the state which may prove to be the barometer for actual Dalit anger in the country.

At least five of BJP’s Dalit MPs and allies like Ram Vilas Paswan have publicly warned about the “dilution” of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. They have said that this might “cost the BJP dear if some corrective measures are not taken”. But there is a danger that “too much indulgence” of the community may also cost it the votes of the other communities, especially Brahmins, Thakurs and Baniyas. Delhi BJP MP Udit Raj, Bahraich MP Savitri Bai Phoole (speculation is she may join BSP), BJP’s UP ally, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party’s Om Prakash Rajbhar are quite vocal about on the Dalit issue.

Man Mohan can be contacted at rovingeditor@gmail.com

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