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Jayanta Ghosal

Social Plank
Columns
Social Plank

The Bihar CM seems to have changed tack with the onset of the pandemic and is using Facebook and Twitter to the hilt

29 May 2020
Solace of Gods
Columns
Solace of Gods

Goyal is maintaining his sense of calm through pujas

22 May 2020
Defection News
Columns
Defection News

The biggest rumour in the Delhi political circuit is that Congress leader and eminent lawyer, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, may join the BJP

15 May 2020
Return Moves
Columns
Return Moves

Kamal Nath of the Congress is busy trying to return to power

08 May 2020
Nitish’s Catch-22
Columns
Nitish’s Catch-22

Not displaying adequate care for Bihari labourers could cost Nitish votes

01 May 2020
No Politics over Tests
Columns
No Politics over Tests

Narendra Modi’s reaction to 'faulty' rapid Covid-19 testing kits

24 April 2020
Behind the Extension
Columns
Behind the Extension

The buzz from the PM’s Office is that Modi took three days to know if people were in favour of the lockdown

17 April 2020
Betting groups in Delhi and Mumbai have become active on when the lockdown will be lifted. The big odds are on whether the April 14th date for lifting it will be maintained. Several chief ministers are already saying it should be extended. So did Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. The Government has remained non-committal. The betting market feels the lockdown will go on till May. Ganguly Connection Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently met sports stars over videoconferencing to solicit their support in the fight against the pandemic. He began by talking to Sourav Ganguly, former India cricket captain and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, and suggested he campaign to create more awareness about safety measures. That very day, Ganguly came on television and delivered a message. Ganguly’s vice president in the BCCI is Amit Shah’s son, Jay Shah. On the day of Modi’s video conference, while he was cordial to all present, including the likes of Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar, some thought there was a special chemistry between him and Ganguly. There has long been gossip that the BJP is trying to bring him into the party and he may join just before the Assembly election in West Bengal. He could even be a potential chief ministerial candidate. Clean Waters Among all the negative stories of the pandemic, there has been a positive one—on the river Ganga. The quality of its water has witnessed a significant improvement during the lockdown. A study has already been made in Varanasi and Kanpur and another is pending in Patna. An Ongoing Rift There seems to be a difference of opinion on the pandemic between Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and P Chidambaram’s son, Karti. Ramesh, a Rajya Sabha member, is supporting the Government suspending the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds in order to spend them on containing the crisis. Karti, who is in Lok Sabha, argues that the Government not having money is something it needs to fix, and not tap into the funds that MPs are promised for their own constituencies. His father, P Chidambaram, and Ramesh are old adversaries in the party. The legacy of that rift continues. Not a Time for Politics Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, is revelling in how his administration successfully contained the outbreak in Bhilwara. It was the city where the coronavirus had spread widely in the beginning. With a rapid deployment of 300 personnel and several isolation centres, the spread was brought under control. Gehlot is a rare non-BJP Chief Minister maintaining good relations with the Prime Minister. He thinks there should not be any political rivalry at a time like this. PMO Buzz The Prime Minister’s Office in South Block is a hive of activity even when social distancing is maintained. All officials report daily but sit in their rooms, without contact with others. They interact over video conferences and Skype. Many of them are in constant touch with officials in different state governments and their health ministries. Attention Seeking? Congress President Sonia Gandhi told the Prime Minister to stop all Government advertisements to save revenue. This suggestion led to immediate protests by the media, which would be badly hit. Even broadcast associations reacted negatively. Because of the lockdown, commercial advertisements have nosedived and revenues tanked. All major media houses are now dependent on Government advertisements to a large extent. The question everyone is asking is why Sonia Gandhi was keen on flagging this particular policy. Some think she did it deliberately. This is because she believes the media does not support or give importance to the Congress anymore. Is it then a tactic to seek attention? Key Ministers Most Central ministers are working from home and, thus, are under the radar. But some ministers seem to have grabbed the spotlight. When the Prime Minister met editors over video conference, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar was seen beside him. Another person in the public eye is Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is also active, meeting ambassadors and foreign diplomats on issues related to the pandemic. Finally, there is Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who has been made chairman of the newly formed group of ministers to combat the crisis. Task Forces West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is in constant touch online with economist and Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee for advice on how to manage the crisis. She has also formed three task forces. One is led by the chief secretary, which will look into relaxations and restrictions. A second task force, led by the finance secretary, is delving into the economic strategy for the future. And a third, led by the home secretary, is looking into security-related issues.
Columns
Betting on Extension

The betting market feels the lockdown will go on till May

10 April 2020
Columns
Smriti Model

She sent food packets to villagers in her constituency

03 April 2020
Setting the Example
Columns
Setting the Example

Modi himself is maintaining the lakshman rekha he asked the country to follow

27 March 2020

Authors

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is one of India’s most influential columnists and public intellectuals

Brahma Chellaney

Brahma Chellaney is a geostrategist and the author of nine books, including the award-winning Water, Peace, and War : Confronting the Global Water Crisis

MJ Akbar

MJ Akbar is an MP and the author of, most recently, Gandhi’s Hinduism: The Struggle Against Jinnah’s IslamWhile

Ram Madhav

Ram Madhav is National General Secretary of the BJP and Director of India Foundation

Maroof Raza

Maroof Raza is consulting editor, strategic affairs, at Times Now and an author

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