Below the line

| Updated on October 06, 2019

No takers for this lot

Prime Ministers across the world get varying gifts, sgnifying the regard that people have for them. Narendra Modi is no different.

But seldom do world leaders auction the gifts they get for a cause. Modi’s move is commendable, but it also gives a glimpse into the intriguing gifts that a world leader gets.

By the second round of auctions being conducted right now, it is evident that Modi gets too many swords — and they are some of the most popular commodities at these auctions. Other mementos include paintings and sculptures. But Modi has also been gifted a pair of ‘mosquito killer machines’. This device has been up for auction too, at a base price of ₹3,600. But, this rather unusual gift doesn’t seem to have any takers!

Saying ‘Howdy Modi’ not so easy

A month ago, the BJP Foreign Affairs cell had a tough task ahead — organising ‘Howdy Modi’! But today, it is quite happy, as it managed to get the “fragmented’’ Indian diaspora to work together for the event in the US and hassle free.

In the Houston bay area itself, there are about a 100 different Gujarati groups, one person closely connected with the event stated. Similarly, other communities, including Bengalis, are not very united.

“There are a lot of divisions within the Indian community in the US, which could have made the task of bringing all together on one platform very difficult for the organisers,” the person said, adding: “But they all came together to make the ‘Howdy Modi’ event a success. This is despite the fact that the Indian diaspora is traditionally a supporter of the Democrats — US President Donald Trump, who also attended the event, is a Republican — the person said.

The success of Howdy Modi makes one wonder what would bring the fragmented communities in India together!

Overbooked Health Minister

Are the schedules of Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, who handles two important portfolios, getting double-booked? Or are they suffering from poor planning? Whatever be the case, Vardhan, who is the Minister for Health and Family Welfare; as well as for Science and Technology, called off or rescheduled not one, but two interactions with the media back-to-back last week.

Scribes who cover science in Delhi were told about the cancellation of the events soon after they were invited, leaving many wondering what would have gone wrong.

Undoubtedly, the Minister did have a busy schedule this week. Apart from his usual duties, he was seen gracing events that flagged off two trains, as well as an international meet of chefs. He was also seen addressing an election rally at Samalkha, Haryana, which goes to polls later this month to elect a new Assembly.

Play like Virat

You must give it to Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur for his analogy between cricket and banking. When he visited Punjab National Bank’s head office at Dwarka this past week to inaugurate a heritage museum, he advised the bank honchos to “play like Virat Kohli” to reach newer heights.

Kohli, it may be recalled, was PNB’s brand ambassador some years ago.

“I keep playing cricket ..so I understand the importance of scoring a century. Moreover you have now kept Virat Kohli’s bat in the museum (as an artefact). You (PNB) have already hit a century (the bank started in 1895), now it is up to you to score a magnificent double century”, he said.

Thakur did not stop with that. PNB, he reminded those present at the event, was launched from Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore. “Now you have got a magnificent corporate office in Dwarka. So by the time you (PNB) hit your double century, make sure you register your presence once again in Anarkali Bazaar,” Thakur said, sending those who read between the lines of the Minister’s remarks to cheer loudly.

An Anarkali branch is very much possible, given the track record that PNB had in surmounting challenges (Two world wars, partition in 1947, and recently, the Nirav Modi scam) in its 125-year history, he said, nudging PNB to think ‘big’.

Our Delhi Bureau

Published on October 06, 2019

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