Deep Throat

A regular column on the essential buzz


The Bhasha Bash Charter

PM Modi, known to keep his ministers on a tight budget, sprung a surprise by allowing minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj to use an official aircraft to ferry 300-odd delegates to attend the Vishwa Hindi Sammelan to be held in Mauritius later this month. This is the first time the PM has allowed the use of an official plane for the purpose. Earlier, the invited delegates were provided commercial flight tickets. Sources claim this arrangement is turning out to be more economical. BJP sources say this is also the PM’s way of showing his support for Swaraj, who was recently targeted on social media for helping an inter-faith couple. The PM had also praised her for her fiery speech at the UN General Assembly last year.


Vohra’s Last Wish

The state assembly is in suspended animation in J&K, with legislators waiting for the formation of a new government, but Governor N.N. Vohra’s priorities are different. He is focused on holding elections to the panchayat and local bodies as early as possible, and is believed to be unhappy over the delay. Sources say the governor is of the opinion that if the government fails to conduct panchayat elections, there is no justification for holding ass­embly or parliamentary elections in J&K, which is currently under governor’s rule. The municipal polls were last held in J&K in 2005 and panchayat polls have not been held after 2011. Earlier, the Centre was persuading Mehbooba Mufti to hold polls for rural bodies in the state, but security considerations prevented her from doing so. Now, the only hitch in Vohra’s enthusiasm is whether the Centre will keep him as the governor till he completes the election process.


Thalaiva Speech Therapy

Rajinkanth’s emotional speech during Karunanidhi’s memorial held by the Tamil film fraternity went down well with the DMK cadre. The blunt manner in which he faulted the TN CM and his cabinet for not showing up at the funeral was greeted by applause at an otherwise quiet meeting. His rem­arks, that he would have protested if the TN government had challenged the burial at Marina Beach, raised a few eyebrows. For, only a couple of months ago, after the Tuticorin firing, he had warned that protests after protests would turn the state into a graveyard. Strangely, actor Kamalahaasan, who used to flaunt his ideological proximity to Karunanidhi, was conspicuous by his abs­ence. He was busy promoting his Viswaraoopam 2.

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