The states of the nation: news, headlines, gossip, rumours, things we learnt
President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijeet, a Congress MP infamous for calling the ‘Nirbhaya’ protesters “dented and painted women”, has been nominated to the highest governing body of Aligarh Muslim University—the ‘Court’. Eyebrows have been raised not just because the President is ex-officio ‘visitor’ of all central universities, but also as his son, a former PSU executive, was picked from the ‘learned professions and industry’ category.
The jury is out on whether it was meant to help Donald Trump, embarrass him, or simply sell more copies. But the Trump camp surely didn’t mind the New York Post’s ‘The Ogle Office’ headline or the nudes of the potential FLOTUS (first lady of the US). It was the New York Post’s move to pull out Melania’s pics, shot in 1995 as a model, that caused outrage.
Rs 2.5 lakh crore is what lentil traders in Maharashtra and Gujarat raked in since last April, following lifting of restrictions on stocking dal. The average price of importing dal from Canada, Australia, Myanmar and Africa is less than Rs 41 per kg, so the retail price, say experts, shouldn’t cross Rs 70. Instead, prices have ranged between Rs 130 and Rs 200 through most of this period. While the media ignored the Rahul Gandhi’s jibe at ‘Arhar Modi’ in Parliament, the government clearly has much to explain.
Congress circles are worried over the untimely death of chief minister Siddaramaiah’s son Rakesh. The 39-year-old died during a vacation in Antwerp due to a long-time pancreatic disorder following an accident. Besides being a personal tragedy, the untimely death has come as a major political blow as well to Siddaramaiah, who was grooming Rakesh for a political career. The young man had significantly said that while he would not contest any election before his father retires, he was reportedly preparing to contest in 2018.
Flagging off the Dhamma Chetana Yatra, home minister Rajnath Singh promised a Buddha statue in UP bigger than the Bamiyan one if the BJP wins the state. With daily monitoring by the PMO and the BJP HQ, the yatra is led by ‘monk’ Dhamma Viriyo, 87, a former Rajya Sabha member who was jailed in Darjeeling, expelled by the RJD and made to quit as secretary of Bhikku Mahasangh following alleged financial irregularities. Nowadays, the ‘monk’ asks people to support Narendra Modi and not Mayawati, whom he once compared with a “boil on the back”. The yatra has evoked lukewarm response so far and triggered Dalit protests at Hathras, Aligarh and Agra.
It’s not every day that an MP slaps another at an airport. But Sashikala Pushpa, 40, said she did it to DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, 62, in New Delhi as he had “crossed all limits” in criticising Jayalalitha. But the ‘leader’ wasn’t impressed; she is said to have slapped Sashikala and made her resign from the Rajya Sabha. But, seeking the House’s protection and then expelled by the party, she managed to secure an ‘unattached MP’ tag for four years.
Uttarakhand HC chief justice K.M. Joseph is said to be waiting for a tranfer to Andhra Pradesh for three months after the Supreme Court collegium cleared it. As the law ministry usually forwards such decisions to the President within 10 days, the delay could be because the bench headed by the judge had quashed imposition of President’s rule in the state.