Now Kamal TV
The BJP is proposing to start a national TV channel to be called Kamal TV, the lotus being the party’s election symbol. The channel will cover live the speeches of its leaders, organise debates and propagate the BJP ideology. Several regional parties, including the AIADMK, DMK, and YSR Congress, have their own TV channels in their respective states. The Congress started the Jaihind TV channel in Kerala in 2007 and is thinking of making it national.
BJP president Amit Shah wants his party workers to be better read and more erudite. He feels they should be conversant with world literature, including Marxist and Leninist ideologies. Shah has asked his office to sign up and pay for the best world libraries available online. Party leaders and workers will be given passwords to access the e-libraries.
No party treasurer
The BJP has been without a party treasurer for over a year, ever since Piyush Goyal took over as power minister. Goyal, a chartered account, was ideally suited for the post, having trained under his late father Ved Prakash Goyal, who was party treasurer of the BJP for many years. No replacement for Goyal has been announced, though names like Parindu Bhagat, better known by his pet name ‘Kakubhai’, who hails from Gujarat and is close to Amit Shah and Narendra Modi, and Nagpur-based businessman Ajay Sancheti, a friend of Nitin Gadkari, were talked about.
A day after a meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his senior ministers with industrialists and bankers last week to talk about growth amid the economic turmoil in China, The Economist organised a summit on similar lines in Delhi. Leading lights of the government took part, including Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Arvind Subramanian and Nirmala Sitharaman. Industry was represented by, among others, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Rahul Bajaj, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Parminder Singh. There were many potential investors from Asia in the audience. Curiously, however, Simon Long, The Economist’s Asia columnist, who was to chair the summit, could not be issued a visa in time by the Indian High Commission in Hong Kong. Earlier, Long was The Economist’s south Asia bureau chief in Delhi for four years.
RTI show taken off
DD programme Janne Ka Haq was the only TV show in India which for over nine years was based solely on RTI and transparency-related issues. Its popularity was high, specially in rural areas and small towns. Most institutions against whom RTI queries were posed were obviously uncomfortable, since an ordinary individual could challenge the system. Janne Ka Haq was suddenly discontinued a fortnight back before it could complete its 10th anniversary in January next year. The order to cancel the show reportedly came from the top.
Mukul may return
Mukul Roy was once Mamata Banerjee’s closest lieutenant. The fallout between the Trinamool Congress boss and her trusted aide happened early this year. In February, Mamata removed Roy as party general secretary and made it clear he was in disgrace. Roy retaliated by singing PM Narendra Modi’s praises. The rift between Mamata and Roy was suspected to be largely because she was propping up her nephew Abhishek Banerjee as a counter to Roy. Many assumed that Roy would join the BJP or float his own party. But it seems that Roy and Mamata are once again in touch with each other and it is likely that he may be back in favour soon.
Snags in solidarity
On September 30, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav is hosting a get-together of diverse parties to demonstrate a united front against the BJP-led NDA for the Bihar Assembly elections. Apart from representatives of the Congress, RJD and JD(U), Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the National Conference’s Omar Abdullah, who have no stakes in the Bihar election, are to be present. Arvind Kejriwal of the AAP who refused to attend the solidarity talks hosted at Sharad Pawar’s residence, is willing to come to Yadav’s house. One big missing link in the show of unity is the SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has quit the RJD-JD(U) alliance, furious with the token seat allotment made to the SP by the Nitish-Lalu combine, even though Lalu is a relative by marriage. The presence of the NCP is also unlikely, it too quit the alliance over seat sharing.