Below the Line

George Verghese 4772 | Updated on: Mar 13, 2022

Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi flashes the victory sign during a roadshow after BJP's victory in the recent Assembly polls, in Ahmedabad, Friday, March 11, 2022. (PTI Photo)(PTI03_11_2022_000178A) | Photo Credit: -

A new-look campaign

To be called a ‘party with a difference’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) showcased ‘a cap with a difference’ as its latest accessory for poll-bound Gujarat.

Designed in Surat, the new cap resembles a Gandhi Topi, but in saffron.

The topi has a white diagonal strap that stretches from the front to the back with a lotus symbol and BJP (in Gujarati) written on it. During his visit to Gujarat on March 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took out a 9-km roadshow in an open jeep. During the entire roadshow, Modi, along with Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and State party unit chief CR Paatil, donned the new cap.

Time-tested solution

The past week saw a flurry of activity on filling up vacancies at regulatory bodies that have remained headless for several months. What became a point of chatter among industry circles is how the government had gone back to retired IAS officers to fill the top posts in IBBI, NFRA and IRDAI.

The government’s decision on keeping its faith on retired bureaucrats may have upset all those professionals who applied in large numbers — reportedly about 50 for NFRA chairman and about 30 for IRDAI chief posts. But it is certainly praiseworthy that the government has finally taken some decision rather than being indecisive and not fill up the posts, said economy watchers.

Hope the the government acts soon in filling up the vacant chairman posts in public sector banks, too.

Jagan and his legal team

Is the legal team of Andhra Pradesh Government strong enough or is the Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy giving a deaf ear to his team of experts?

This is the question doing the rounds in the political circles of the State after the series of legal setbacks the government has suffered in the recent past, including the much talked about regulation of cinemas and the three-capital plan.

According to insiders in the government, while there is no dearth of talent in the legal team, the biggest challenge is the adamant attitude of the Chief Minister, especially when it comes to the decisions of the previous Telugu Desam Government. Though it appears politically correct for the ruling party to be vindictive, the image of the government is surely taking a hit, feel some.

Trending ‘cautiously’

One needs to be careful while posting messages on social media. During a recent court hearing, a Bench was apprised that the Senior Counsel for the case had lost his ‘wife’ and an adjournment was sought.

Soon messages flooded the social media mourning the loss. “She was too young to go so soon,” “A terrible loss”, were among the condolences to the Counsel concerned. After a while the Counsel’s junior clarified that his senior had actually lost his ‘voice’ not his ‘wife’. Embarrassed, many posted that they were relived with the clarification.

AAP to Karnataka

After its spectacular victory in Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party is looking at Karnataka for a southern boost in its ambition to emerge as a national alternative to the BJP. Elections are scheduled early next year in the State.

While AAP Karnataka has managed to attract a few well-known citizen activists and retired bureaucrats into its fold, it is still largely seen as a minor urban force confined to Bengaluru.

However, after the victory in Punjab, there are murmurs that a disgruntled senior Congress leader — who has been sidelined within the party — might be AAP’s first big catch in the State.

The worry for AAP though is that this leader comes with considerable baggage.

In a State where even the regional Janata Dal (Secular) is feeling the squeeze, it remains to be seen whether AAP can spread its wings beyond the Vindhyas.

Covid ‘ordered’ out of House 

The 15th Kerala State Assembly began with presentation of the budget for 2022-23 by Finance Minister KN Balagopal. But before the business started, Speaker MB Rajesh had to complete some formalities himself, especially since the State had returned to order after the Omicron-led third Covid wave. 

The Speaker spelled out certain norms for the way the House would function henceforth. The social ‘distance’ regime was being withdrawn so the House could revert to the pre-Covid seating arrangements. This would bring members ‘closer’ to each other and the Speaker hoped this would ensure the House worked in better order. This triggered peals of laughter from members who had presented themselves in large numbers on the budget day. 

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Published on March 13, 2022
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