It was a celebration of democracy during the oath taking ceremony in the Lower House of Parliament. MP’s hailing from diverse geographical region taking oath in different languages placing their faith on Indian constitution reaffirmed the message of “Unity in Diversity”. All these happened in a day when Shashi Tharoor got slammed by his own party men for giving a nuanced view on Modi sarkar’s performance till date.
Narendra Modi started the oath taking ceremony followed by Lal Krishna Advani and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Most of the BJP MP’s took oath in Hindi. The likes of Sushma Swaraj, Harsh Vardhan and Uma Bharati took oath in Sanskrit as an ode to the Indian culture. Many politicians took oath in their regional language. An atmosphere of festivity was created by BJP MP Devusinh Jesingbhai Chauhan when he danced before entering the house wearing traditional Gujarati attire. BJP MP and actor Manoj Tiwary regaled his colleagues by singing songs.
Change is a cruel reality of politics. Lal Krishna Advani one of the pillars of BJP who was even the Deputy Prime Minister of India today found out that the room he used to occupy for over a decade as the chairman of NDA has been cleared and his nameplate removed. Advani even faced some uneasy moments within the house when he was unsure about his seating position only to finally seat beside his old confidante Sushma Swaraj. Meanwhile Congress has named Captain Amarinder Singh as the Deputy leader in the lower house of Parliament. Young turk Jyotiraditya Scindia has been named the chief whip of the party.
Tomorrow BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan will formally take charge as the speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha. Speaker election will be merely a formality with only one person filing nomination. Today 19 parties including those of the opposition proposed Mahajn’s name for this post. 8 times MP Mahajan is an old hand in politics and will likely to use the respect she commands to rein in the house. The last speaker Meira Kumar was famous for her “Baith Jaiye” catch phrase. Let’s see what Mahajan offers!!
Shashi Tharoor has done a sane analysis of Modi’s first few days in work, something cattle class of politicians are not expected to do (pun intended). He has written in an article that Modi has struck a conciliatory tone post 16th May and it will be “churlish” for Congress not to respect Modi 2.0. He however has added a caveat that Congress will be vigil about any lapse in promise of Modi government. But this nuanced analysis has expectedly not gone down well with the ranks and files of the grand old party. Mani Shankar Aiyar who made the infamous chaiwallah barb has attacked Tharoor calling him immature and for acting like a chameleon!!
Modi though is busy firming up ties with other countries. Today he tweeted to inform that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sent a saree for his mother. This is an indication that two leaders are trying to connect on a personal basis to move forward the talk process. Decision of Modi sarkar to hold full-fledged discussions with the Obama administration has earned brownie points from strategic affairs experts.
Modi sarkar has announced that PM’s first foreign visit will be in Bhutan. He will go there later this month to hold talks with India’s most friendly neighbor. In July Modi is likely to travel all the way to Brazil to take part in the BRICS summit meet.
In a significant move, Modi Sarkar is looking to rename the part of Kashmir currently occupied by Pakistan. It is known as Pak occupied Kashmir but if sources are to be believed it may be soon known as Pak occupied Jammu Kashmir to give a signal to the people of Jammu. Modi government has apparently also started back channel talks to rehabilitate the Pandits who were ousted from the Valley more than 20 years ago.
In a bit of a setback to the Modi government Sri Lanka today took strong objection to Jayalalithaa’s statement that genocide was committed in the island country. Spokesperson of the government has expressed his displeasure and has said that they are mulling the possibility of launching a formal complain to the Modi government against such accusation.
No such problem in the economic front though. Sensex is soaring high and high buoyed by unprecedented enthusiasm of foreign investors. Today BSE ended in a new record high of 25,037 up 231 points. Both the US and the Indian corporate sector are extremely pleased with resumption of talks and it is likely to have a positive effect in the market in the coming days.
Government has planned to set up under water cable between China and Port Blair to boost connectivity in the strategically important island. The initial cost of the project has been pegged at 1,000 crores. Today Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that government is looking at the option of increasing tax on import of sugar to safeguard the local farmers. Maharashtra, known as sugar bowl of India is slated to have elections shortly. The possible step may well be for that reason.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani seems to be the first out of the blocks to reverse decisions taken by the UPA government. Reports indicate that she is planning to scrap the 4 year undergraduate course started by Delhi University in 2013. Teachers’ union who gave presentation to the new HRD Minister is convinced that a formal decision will be announced soon. However there are numerous legal and administrative issues especially since DU is an autonomous body. It is to be seen how Smriti can get all the concerned parties in the same page.
HRD Minister today met the directors of IIT. There is a possibility that an extended session of talks will happen soon. Smriti is keen to set up an IIT in every state, a move vehemently opposed by its management citing lack of teachers.
Irani is also reportedly planning to restructure school books to impart lessons of “hindu culture” to the youth. Chapters from Upanishad and Vedas may soon be taught in schools a move almost certainly to be vehemently opposed by the minority groups.
Many people are apprehending that RSS is back peddling to paint the textbooks in saffron hues; a move they allege was first started by then HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi in the Vajpayee government.
Social media has been abuzz with the news of murder of a Pune techie Shaikh Mohasin Sadiq (28) allegedly by some members belonging to a fringe right wing group called Hindu Rashtra Sena. His “mistake” was apparently that he had uploaded derogatory pictures of Shivaji Maharaja and Bal Thackeray on Facebook. However subsequent probe has shown that he didn’t even upload those pictures.
BJP MP from Anil Shirole today virtually condoned the killing saying “What appeared on Facebook was very painful. Some amount of repercussions was natural”. He however appealed for calm and said police is active to nab the culprits. Facing ire from social media for this comment Shirole later said that he has been misquoted.
In Madhya Pradesh, minister Babulal Gaur came in support of Akhilesh and Mulayam Yadav saying that it is impossible to stop rape as criminals doesn’t come after informing. About rape, former CM Gaur said that “It is sometimes right and sometimes wrong”!!
There is a school of thought that Modi who is extremely frequent in Twitter should express strong views about rise in rape incidents especially in Uttar Pradesh. Many believe that he should also unequivocally condemn Hindu extremist groups to put across a stern message. So far their wishes haven’t been fulfilled….
Finally, a look at the key economic parameters as of today…