Tuesday 19th February 2019 19:43 EST

Before fields Uttar Pradesh Chief  Minister Yogi Adityanath as a campaigner for the 2019 general election in other states, should dwell on the darker aspects of governance in his own bailiwick: frequent lynching, riots, poor hospital care, robberies, name change of cities and much else have become the norm.

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly was in uproar over the  hooch tragedy which claimed 116 lives in Uttar Pradesh and in neighbouring Uttarkhand and cannot be wished away with conspiracy fantasies. Yogi Adityanath must address the fact the cheap illicit liquor produced in Uttar Pradesh was the source of these deaths among its poorest denizens.. Poor policing and slack administration have long been the bane of Uttar Pradesh. Bihar is also a case in point. There, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s ruling JD(U), in alliance with the BJP, opted for prohibition in a bid to win votes of women, in face of past evidence across borders and continents, that the suggested panacea leads to the crime just witnessed  (Times of India, Hindu February 12).

Curtailing freedom

When Adityanath visited West Bengal to address a public meeting as part of the BJP’s general election campaign, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attempted to impede his movements, and was rightly condemned, but Adityanath prevented the Uttar Pradesh Samajwadi Dal leader Akhilesh Yadav from addressing the Allahabad University Students Union did he not? It led to another furore in the State Assembly. (Hindu February 13, 14). 

Rafale hogs headlines

The purchase of the French warplane keeps creating waves in Parliament, without the expected tsunami in public opinion. In the latest disruption in the Lok Sabha, Congress President Rahul Gandhi quoted as his evidence an ‘Exclusive’ front-page Hindu newspaper reports (February 11, 12) by the Hindu Group Chairman N. Ram. But when did Mr Ram’s written or spoken words become holy writ? He is much in the public eye these days in the company of the good and great – from cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar to former Sri Lankan president Mahinder Rajapakse, former British prime minister David Cameron et. A visit to Chennai for high profile visitors leads inevitably to a photographed session with Lord Ram. Betwixt and between were ‘Huddles’ with writers and artists – more muddle, say critics – but the spanner in the works was the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report that by and large exonerates the government of financial malfeasance (Business Line, Hindu, Times of India February 14)  This should end Ram’s Ramayana ‘Exclusives.’ 

Rahul Gandhi on song

However, Congress President Rahul Gandhi dismissed the CAG report as ‘not worth the paper it’s written on.’ (Times of India, Hindu February 14). 

Mercifully, every day and hour yields fresh evidence of his unsuitability for high or low office – Shakespeare put it best, ‘the common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance.’

Gloves off

Ministerial gloves were off, as Ravi Shankar Prasad tore into the delinquent Congress President, describing as a ‘liar’ on the Rafale affair (Business Line February 14) Earlier, media reports told how Arun Jaitley had Rahul Gandhi’s incessant dismissed his vacuuity with utmost contempt.

Three Rafales for Aero India show

Three Rafale aircraft have arrived in Bangaluru for the five-day Aero India air show – the biggest in Asia – starting February 20. Fighter aircraft from the major powers are expected to display their planes in bid to augment sales to India and countries beyond  (Business Line February 14).   

Delhi circus

Delhi was treated to an Opposition rally of low comedy, black comedy and pure farce. The usual performers were on view, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee leading the show. With her were Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Arvind Kejriwal and Chandrababu Naidu and a minor cast. While the cat was away, the mice were at play. Bengal School examination papers were leaked in two subjects, and the increasingly jinxed Kolkata Metro had one of its power failures. Disgruntled passengers lamented the indifferent time-keeping and much else that was awry. In Delhi, a fire in a 4-star hotel had led a tragic loss of lives, while the capital’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his parasitic Am Aadmi party was unfurling his national ambitions.  (Times of India, Hindu, Statesman February 14).

To make confusion worse confounded,  Mulayam Singh Yadav, the patriarch of the Uttar Pradesh Samajwadi Dal, made a spirited defence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament, stating that he deserved to return to power in the national interest. This puts Mulayam Singh seriously at odds with his son Akhilesh Yadav (Times of India, Statesman February 14, TV Channels February 13).

Rajapakse for close India, Lanka ties

Former Sri Lankan President and now Opposition leader Mahinder Rajapakse, addressing the third edition of the Hindu newspaper’s Huddle in Bangaluru, said that ties between the two countries should rest on an enduring platform beyond changes of regime in either capital. 

‘We must evolve a mechanism to ensure that misunderstandings don’t take place,’ he said. Calling for strong people-to-people relations, he said the civil services of the two countries  - not just the Foreign  ministries –  must have institutional mechanisms to foster bilateral ties (Hindu February 10).   

Five Kashmir jihadis killed

Five Kashmiri jihadis, belonging to the Hizbul Mujahideen, were killed in a security operation by the paramilitary Rashtriya Rifles and the CRPF in the south Kashmir district of Kulgam (Hindu, Times of India February 11).

Suicide bomber kills 40 in Kashmir

India was in shock following the deaths of 40 paramilitary jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force in a convoy on the highway in Kashmir’s Pulwara district, ambushed by a vehicle crammed with explosives and driven by suicide bomber Adil Ahmed of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.(Times of India, Hindu, Statesman February 15, 16 T V channels February 14,15, 16) See page 3.

Kellogg eye Haldiram pie

In one of the biggest buck transactions involving an iconic India consumer brand, Haldiram is exploring a potential partnership and a stake sale to Michigan-based Kellogg company, famous for the popular breakfast cereal brand  and :Pringles chips. Haldiram, founded way back in 1937 by Gangabhis Bhujiawala  Aggarwal, it  is headquartered in Delhi, with two giant hubs in Kolkata and Nagpur. The firm, famous for its snacks, is valued around $3 billion. The difficulty for Kellogg’s will be convincing both branches of the Haldiram family, with one branch favouring the deal and the other against it (Times of India February 14)

Message to China

China’s protest to India on Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as its own was brushed off by him as he inaugurated a tunnel designed to facilitate movement of troops to the border at short notice. Further to this, the Army and Air Force conducted the largest ever airborne exercises in the northeast (Times of India February 11).

No kowtowing

Tibet, once independent and sovereign, with its own government, administration, legislature, diplomats and currency, was invaded in 1950 by China, as did Nazi Germany did in like fashion to Czechoslovakia in  March 1939. Tibet is now a militarized Chinese base, its great rivers which flow downstream into South and South East Asia are under Chinese control. Anniversary celebrations in India on the Dalai Lama’s arrival in In India in April 1959 were cancelled in a bid to assuage Chinese sensibilities.  The world’s oldest and most stubborn imperialism will accept except nothing less than the obligatory kowtow of a tributary state. Appeasing Beijing does not pay. Its brutal conquest of Xinjiang and shaming oppression of its Uighur population and suppression of their Islamic faith is reality that brooks no denial.   

Business schools cash in  on pre-placement offers

Pre-placement offers are fast catching on in business schools. These offers are usually made based on the candidate’s performance during summer internships. Unlike the earlier experience, increasing numbers of start-ups are flocking to Business schools with a good pay package. ‘Some companies are losing good candidates to start-ups, so they find it a good hedging strategy,’ said an expert (Business Line February 12). 

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