March 28, 2020
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Deep Throat

A regular column on the essential buzz

Deep Throat
Illustration by Saahil
Deep Throat
outlookindia.com
2016-03-30T15:39:00+0530

Gujarat
Class Conscious

Gujarat under Narendra Modi, it seems, paid the air fare of a former CBI director closely involved in high-profile probes in the state. The ex-director would fly to London to meet his son and the state government would buy air tickets for him. While information sought under the RTI was denied on grounds of, what else, national security, when the matter was raised before the apex court, the former director surpassed himself. He was officially  entitled to business­-class travel within India, but he saved the government money by travelling economy class. The state government paid for his London trip with the money saved, he explained.


Jammu & Kashmir
Back Together?

The two factions of separatist Hurriyat Conference are reu­niting. The buzz is that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the marginalised leader of the ‘moderate’ faction, would head the united Hurriyat. Key leaders such as Shabir Shah and Yasin Malik are also expected to join the amalgam that had split in 2003 after Syed Ali Shah Geelani parted ways with his colleagues for not being ‘sincere’ in their election boycott campaigns. Rumour has it that Islamabad wants to overhaul the Hurriyat in view of aging patriarch Geelani’s ill health, as his death would surely create a political vacuum in Kashmir.


Karnataka
Lead Kindly Light

It wasn’t six months ago when Karnataka was reeling under long power-cuts and ‘Kathhale Bhagya’ was coined as a parody on the government’s welfare schemes (kathhale is Kannada for darkness). The jibe returned last week when power failed twice in the state’s legislative assembly when Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was delivering his budget speech. Though it was restored immediately, the enduring image was that of Siddaramaiah reading out the budget by the shine of a mobile phone’s flashlight. Some in the opposition couldn’t resist pointing out that the CM, not one for superstition, hadn’t cared for rahu kala when starting his budget speech.


Andhra Pradesh
Brothers In Arms

The strained ties between ‘mega star’ Chiranjeevi and Pawan Kalyan seem to be a thing of the past. Sources close to the stars say that Pawan, who enjoys a great rapport with the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has sworn to make Chiranjeevi chief minister some day. And followers of both insist that this time Chiranjeevi is looking at things in the long term after the botched Praja Rajyam experiment. Since the Cong­ress is in the dumps in Andhra Pradesh, the brothers might stick to their homegrown Jana Sena or join the BJP.


Heard The Ayush ministry paid Ernst & Young Rs 1.75 crore to get Guinness Book of Records to certify World Yoga Day last year. Arch Concept, an event management company, got Rs 3.66 crore.

Overheard After the Shilpi Tiwari fake JNU video fiasco, Smriti Irani wants HRD ministry officials to direct reporters, who have questions on anything linked to her or those hired by her, straight to her.


Contributed by Uttam Sengupta, Showkat A. Motta, Madhavi Tata, Ajay Sukumaran and Anoo Bhuyan

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