BJP’s mega media exercise

It was indeed a mega media PR exercise, the biggest ever conducted by the BJP. The context was Prime Minister Modi’s completion of three years in office on May 26, 2017. It is needless to say, that the BJP is at a peak, having captured majority of the States besides ruling at Centre with total command. It was cause for celebration. The BJP conducted a two-day-May 27 and 28-media show highlighting the achievements made by the Modi regime during the last three years. The venue was the government-owned Ashok Hotel in the Capital, with BJP Chief Amit Shah calling the shots and holding informal consultations and interactions with the who’s who in media.

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Vaghela taking stock?

Narendra Modi and his political aide Amit Shah, the master blasters of the politics of check­mate, are learnt to have finalised plans for their Gujarat sweep. Indications from Gujarat are that the polls in the State may be advanced and held before the tenure of the current government is over. Sources say many top Congress leaders are making a beeline for the saffron party. The grapevine has it that stalwart state Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela is extremely upset with the party, and not only refuses to attend any party rally or function, but he did not even meet Rahul Gandhi when the latter visited the state recently. Apparently, then Rahul took the initiative to meet Vaghela.

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Coup sabotaged by a driver

It is well known that in the old days, the greatest source of information were barbers, drivers and cooks. But apparently, this holds true even now. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal went through such an experience lately when his minister Kapil Mishra was almost on the way to carry out a coup d’état against his government. As narrated by AAP leaders, the story goes something like this: Just before the Delhi Municipal Elections, the self claimed poet Kumar Vishwas released a video tape alleging a self-centred leader was surrounded by sycophants.

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Removing a judge

On April 20, 54 Rajya Sabha members gave a motion notice to Vice President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari demanding impeachment proceedings against the present Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy of the High Court for Andhra Pradesh and Telengana. The allegations against the judge vary from nepotism to corruption, disproportionate assets of wealth and interfering in the judicial process.

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Shake up or shake down

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Indian Foreign Service have long been seen as silos, sometimes criticised at home as aloof and elitist. Yet peers view the IFS as among the best diplomatic services. Though MEA has a very cordial and respectful atmosphere among the officers but the manner in which new Ambassadors and High Commissioners are being appointed has created some heart burn among senior IFS officers. It appears S Jaishankar, Secretary Ministry of External Affairs, is taking every step swiftly. Some of these new appointments are: Ms. Vani Sarraju Rao (IFS: 1994), currently Joint Secretary has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Finland. Jaideep Mazumdar (IFS: 1989), currently Joint Secretary has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of the Philippines. The appointment of Vinay Mohan Kwatra (IFS: 1988), as the next Ambassador of India to France has surprised many. Ms. Pooja Kapur (IFS: 1996), currently Joint Secretary has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Bulgaria. President Pranab Mukherjee’s Press Secretary Venu Rajamony, (IFS: 1986), has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Mukta Dutta Tomar (IFS: 1984), currently Additional Secretary has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Federal Republic of Germany. Nepal has always been very important for India. An Indian Ambassador plays a vital role in bilateral relations. A very senior officer Manjeev Singh Puri (IFS: 1982), currently Ambassador of India to Belgium has been appointed as the Ambassador of India to Nepal. Subir Dutta, (IFS: 2003), currently Ambassador, Embassy of India, Madagascar, has been appointed as Ambassador to the Union of Comoros with residence in Antananarivo. In MEA corridors, officers whisper that the new ambassadors, high commissioners are part of the restructuring of young and experienced officers by Jaishankar.

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