Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi, home minister Rajnath Singh and HRD minister Smriti Irani are being blamed for sedition cases being slapped against the JNU students.
Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi, home minister Rajnath Singh and HRD minister Smriti Irani are being blamed for sedition cases being slapped against the JNU students. But the most powerful voice for strong action against the students came from BJP president Amit Shah, who was convinced that an example needed to be made of the youth who, he felt, were indulging in ‘anti-national’ activity. He believes that JNU is a hub of Marxism, with a highly anarchic approach. Incidentally, Rajnath Singh’s irresponsible claim to the media that Hafiz Saeed, founder of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, had supported the JNU agitation came about because the minister’s OSD had re-tweeted a tweet posted on the fake account, @Hafeez SaeedJUD. The OSD had picked up the tweet from a TV journalist’s tweet.
Hoping to return
Seventy-four members of the Rajya Sabha will retire this year. The well-known names in the list include Venkaiah Naidu, Nirmala Sitharaman, AK Antony, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, Ram Jethmalani, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Javed Akhtar, Sharad Yadav, Naresh Gujral, Ashwani Kumar, Chandan Mitra, Vijay Mallya, Oscar Fernandes, Piyush Goyal, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Praful Patel, Satish Sharma and Suresh Prabhu.
A large number of those whose terms expire are not sure that they will come back since their parties have much reduced numbers in the states. In the Congress, there is speculation about the future of four parliamentarians who have played very active roles in the House in the past.
P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal are former Lok Sabha MPs, and Jairam Ramesh and Anand Sharma are Rajya Sabha MPs whose terms end in April. However, Congress chief ministers in states such as Karnataka and Uttarakhand have indicated that they are unhappy with outsiders being parachuted and allotted the state’s quota by the high command.
Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel’s wings have been clipped with the appointment of Vijay Rupani as party chief in the state. Rupani is close to Amit Shah. Unlike his predecessor RC Faldu, Rupani, a party veteran, is expected to be assertive. In fact, Rupani was at one point Shah’s candidate for the state chief ministership. The chief minister finds herself at a disadvantage, particularly with Assembly elections due next year.
Former army chief general VK Singh is unhappy with the Modi government for slowly stripping him of his ministerial duties. Initially, when he was appointed minister of state, he had the ministry of development of north-eastern region and the ministry of overseas Indian affairs. Within months, he lost the DONER ministry to MoS in the PMO, Jitendra Singh. More recently, Sushma Swaraj wanted the ministry of overseas Indian affairs to be merged with the MEA and put under her direct charge. Singh is now left holding only the ministry of statistics and programme implementation. After he protested, Swaraj allowed him to look after the Gulf region in the ministry of overseas Indian affairs.
Achche din gaye
Over two lakh people attended the rally of farmers addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Sherpur near Bhopal. In his speech, when Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan asked the audience, “Kya achche din aa gaye?’’, there was a stony silence. He rephrased the sentence and repeated twice, “Achche din aa gaye’’, but the response was muted. Taking a cue, Modi did not mention achche din in his speech.
Delhi Police chief BS Bassi’s inglorious term in Delhi has come to an end. Though he was seen as always anxious to please the central government, he has not been rewarded with any post-retirement position so far. Bassi, who was appointed by former home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, created ripples in the Delhi Police from the first day of his tenure. He insisted on changing the over 50-year-old motto of the Delhi Police, ‘With you, for you, always’ to ‘Shanti, Sewa, Nyay’. The switch in motto meant considerable expense in painting over all official vehicles and changing the stationery, etc, but Bassi was unfazed.
Asked why he felt it necessary to replace a longstanding and catchy logo for a rather trite one, Bassi said he had seen the new phrase on a flag in a Goa police station and was impressed by it.