Saas, bahu and samdhan
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal Yadav and friend Amar Singh are being blamed for the rift in the Samajwadi Party founder’s family. In fact, the real reason for the differences between the father and his son, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, lies closer home. According to the political grapevine in Lucknow, it is a case of saas, bahu aur samdhan. Mulayam’s second wife, Sadhna Gupta Yadav, has long nursed a grouse that her son Prateek was not permitted to join the family profession of politics and had to settle for opening a chain of bodybuilding gyms instead. Prateek’s wife Aparna is also ambitious for her husband and herself, and has reportedly been egged on by her mother, Ambi Bisht, who is a high-profile figure in Lucknow. This time, in fact, Aparna is to contest the Lucknow Cantonment Assembly seat on a Samajwadi Party ticket.
Brics-Bimstec meet: The other picture
One of the few newsy photographs to emerge from the recent BRICS-BIMSTEC Summit in Goa was taken not by a professional cameraperson, but by the son of Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda, Prakash Dahal. He posted on his Facebook a photograph of Chinese President Xi Jinping sitting on a sofa talking to Narendra Modi and Prachanda and his wife. Until then, newspersons were unaware that there was a separate meeting between India, China and Nepal at BIMSTEC.
Indian journalists were kept at a distance from the hotels where the delegates met and working conditions were so shabby that the Chinese and Russian journalists commiserated with their Indian counterparts. At BRICS, the Indian media centre was a plastic tent pitched in the rear lawns of a hotel. Only portable toilets were provided and there was a shortage of water. There was a big garbage dump in the narrow passage leading to the media centre. Some of the negative reports of the conference could well be traced to the poor working conditions of those covering the summit.
Sidhu, Congress and a secret deal
A former BJP MP and now leader of the Awaz-e-Punjab, Navjot Singh Sidhu, had a long and secret meeting with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi recently. According to the understanding that was reached, Sidhu would join the Congress and both he and his wife would fight the Assembly elections as Congress candidates. Sidhu would be appointed deputy chief minister if the Congress was voted to power. However, Amarinder Singh, the Congress’ leading chief ministerial aspirant, has not taken kindly to the unofficial agreement, which was reached without consulting him. Amarinder fears Sidhu would create dissensions within the fold, especially as his rival PS Bajwa encouraged Sidhu to join the party.
On tv channels, a raw bluff
Many retired and serving R&AW officers are furious at the manner in which a retired lieutenant colonel has taken advantage of his brief, inglorious stint at the agency to claim to be an experienced R&AW hand. The officer has emerged as the voice of R&AW on numerous television talk shows, where he airs his rabidly anti-Pakistan views. The channels have selected him to speak because of his so-called operational and intelligence experience. In fact, he is not from R&AW, but the Army, and was deputed to the agency on a brief stint. He was never assigned the Pakistan desk, but was entrusted with looking after the Bangladesh army. He did not even complete his two-year tenure.
Online complaints: Nobody’s baby
Because of online shopping worth millions of rupees, complaints from consumers have increased phenomenally. But Internet shoppers who have a grievance do not know which ministry they should turn to, the commerce ministry or the ministry for consumer affairs. The respective ministers, Nirmala Sitharaman and Ram Vilas Paswan, feel the onus is on the other ministry to handle consumer complaints. Although representatives from both ministries have met, the jurisdictional issue remains unresolved.