Sobering sartorial style
Ever since there was a hue and cry over Narendra Modi’s extravagant pinstriped suit, there has been a subtle change in Modi’s sartorial style. Those who keep an eye on the Prime Minister’s wardrobe noticed that on his trip to Sri Lanka, he did not flaunt the coloured jackets and kurtas that were his trademark. On his Sri Lanka visit, his dressing style was more subdued. Modi wore white kurtas with grey or black jackets. Even when he did sport a coloured outfit, it was a light saffron one with a matching achkan. In contrast, on his trip to the US last year, his attire had included a bright blue jacket with an orange kurta, a shiny rust-coloured jacket with a grey kurta, a dark pink jacket on a light pink kurta, and so on. Similarly, on his Japan visit, bright colours had dominated his wardrobe.
MNS leader Raj Thackeray has launched Mard Maratha, a counter to the Shiv Sena’s Saamna magazine.Thackeray needed a little help from a fellow Maharashtrian politician, environment minister Prakash Javadekar, to ensure that the registrar of newspapers cleared the name in time for the magazine’s launch on March 21, the festival of Gudi Padwa. The MNS had submitted four names for the prospective magazine but they had all been rejected by the registrar. ‘Mard Maratha’ was a last-minute suggestion and Thackeray needed the assistance of Javadekar, a former I&B minister, to get the clearance in record time. Wonder whether the BJP’s ally, the Shiv Sena, would be pleased with Javadekar’s helpful act.
JD(U) president Sharad Yadav is unrepentant about his remarks regarding south Indian women and their complexion. Yadav, far from being abashed, was seen in Parliament’s Central Hall justifying his comments to women MPs. He quoted a song from the movie Bandini, “Mora gora rang lai ley…”, and said south Indian MPs such as Rekha were beautiful, but dark. When he bumped into Girija Vyas, he said she had a fair complexion. Yadav denied he had been pulled up either by Nitish Kumar or the women members of his family for his controversial remarks. To the charge that he was rambling in his parliamentary speech, which was meant to be on the Insurance Bill, he explained that he said it in the context that Indians were biased towards fair-skinned westerners and that the insurance Bill was one such example. He felt TV channels had panned his remark because they too suffered from a similar complex and relied mostly on fair-skinned anchors.
Maldives was initially part of the PM’s itinerary during his recent trip to Indian Ocean countries, along with Sri Lanka, Seychelles and Mauritius. But when former Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed’s sentencing looked imminent, the Indian government hastily cancelled Modi’s visit to the island state. The MEA stoutly maintained that Maldives was never on the itinerary at all. The MEA denial would have been more convincing if the printed luggage tags for the official party on the trip did not announce ‘PM’s visit to Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives and Sri Lanka’. Someone had forgotten to re-do these tags.
As a fellow author whose book One Life is not Enough sold about 70,000 copies, Natwar Singh was heard advising Jairam Ramesh, who has just released a book on the environment titled Green Signals: Economy, Growth and Democracy in India, how to push sales. Singh felt that at R850, Ramesh had priced his book too high. Singh had kept the price of his book at R500, which, he said, was how much the consumer was willing to pay. Ramesh replied tongue-in-cheek that he had given Singh’s book a lot of free publicity by constantly making the point that the book “is not a Natwar Singh-type book”. Singh took the dig in his stride, “Any publicity is good publicity,” he responded.
Since Rajnath Singh was out of the country, it fell on finance minister Arun Jaitley to defuse the Congress charge that the Delhi Police had “snooped” on Rahul Gandhi. Jaitley, who was briefed by the Police commissioner and the IB director, discovered that such questions are, in fact, routinely put to political leaders. However, the Delhi Police had bungled by first sending a junior policeman, who, instead of openly declaring his purpose and passing on the form to be filled up, had gone skulking around outside Rahul’s Tughlak Lane residence, asking people how he could reach the Congress leader’s office.