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Doordarshan invites criticism from TMC leader Jawhar Sircar for going saffron

DELHI DIARIES | Dharmendra Pradhan's safe bet on Odisha's Sambalpur receives rude shock, important roles await Ashwini Vaishnaw and Vinod Tawde under Modi's third term, and more

The Editorial Board Published 21.04.24, 08:20 AM
Changed spots

Changed spots Sourced by the Telegraph

Spot the shade

Doordarshan, the autonomous, national public service broadcaster, has drawn flak from the former Prasar Bharati CEO and Trinamool Congress member of Parliament, Jawhar Sircar, for changing the colour of its iconic logo from red to saffron amidst the ongoing general elections. Defending its move, DD pointed out that its initial logo, which was launched in 1959, was also of saffron shade. But Sircar iterated
that the saffron colour of the logo is representative of the change in the channel’s character — from a noise-free, crisp news broadcaster to a loud propaganda machine of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Perhaps DD is merely emulating today’s netas who change their political stripes at the drop of a hat.


Rude shock

After spending months scouting for a safe Lok Sabha seat in Odisha, the Union minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, zeroed in on Sambalpur. His party won the seat in the 2019 LS polls and the Sambalpur assembly constituency is also represented by the BJP. Sambalpur thus appeared to be a safe bet for Pradhan. However, this calculation changed once the Biju Janata Dal decided to pit its organisational general-secretary, Pranab Prakash Das, aka Bobby, the number two man in the party, against Pradhan from the seat. The failure of alliance negotiations between the two outfits has set the stage for a high-voltage contest in Sambalpur.

That is just one of Pradhan’s troubles. Arundhati Devi, the wife of the BJP leader, Nitesh Ganga Deb — he won from Sambalpur in 2019 — recently joined the BJD and is contesting from the Deogarh LS seat. If Pradhan thought Sambalpur would be a cakewalk, he is in for a rude shock.

Dark horses

Under the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah-led BJP, the primary identity of each leader, irrespective of how high-profile he or she may be, is that of a ‘party worker’. All the senior leaders, including the external affairs minister, S Jaishankar, were thus spotted at the party headquarters early morning last Sunday for the launch of the party’s manifesto for the general elections. Since Modi was the mascot, the ministers mostly loitered around, giving interviews to media persons. Significantly, the railways minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, and the party general-secretary, Vinod Tawde, were the backroom stars of the event. Party insiders said although the defence minister, Rajnath Singh, was the head of the manifesto committee, Vaishnaw was the real architect of the document.

After the launch, Vaishnaw held a video conference with key party leaders and briefed them about the salient features of the manifesto that they should highlight during their campaigns. Tawde, who is close to Shah, has emerged as a backroom manager for supervising defections from the Opposition. The buzz is that both Vaishnaw and Tawde would be given important roles if Modi gets a third term.

Charges backfired

The BJP leaders enjoy blaming the Rashtriya Janata Dal for the poor law and order situation in Bihar during the party’s reign from 1990 to 2005. The Uttar Pradesh CM, Yogi Adityanath, followed a similar strategy during his recent election rallies in Bihar. Little did he know that he was giving ammunition to the RJD.

Taking umbrage over Adityanath terming the rule of Lalu Prasad a “jungle raj”, the RJD leader, Tejashwi Yadav, angrily accused Adityanath of removing his name from the police cases in which he was an accused after taking charge as the CM. Tejashwi also questioned the high rate of question paper leaks in recruitment examinations under Adityanath’s reign. “He is unable to hold free and fair, untainted examinations in his state. That is why such a large number of people from Uttar Pradesh come to Bihar in search of jobs,” Tejashwi added. The RJD leader then asked Adityanath to first put his house in order instead of just shooting his mouth at rallies. The BJP has not raised the ‘jungle raj’ bogey since then.

Gone girls

It is a curious case of ‘ laapata ladies’. The poll meetings of the BJP, the Congress and the Left are attended by a large number of women. But when it comes to RJD rallies, women do a disappearing act. They are rarely seen in the audience even if the candidates are women. This has triggered a worry about what will happen if women avoid the RJD at polling booths as well.

After much prodding, a senior RJD leader confided that the women have been avoiding RJD rallies for quite some time now in order to keep themselves safe from eve-teasing. “You see a large number of participants at our party’s rallies are youths. At times they are raucous and indulge in bad behaviour. This could be a reason behind women not attending such events,” he rued.

Mango diet

The Enforcement Directorate has informed the court that the Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, has been eating mangoes in Tihar jail in order to spike his blood sugar level and create grounds for medical bail. The Aam Aadmi Party has hit back saying that the jail authorities have been preventing the proper administration of insulin to Kejriwal and restricting his meetings with colleagues. In such a situation, the lieutenant-governor, VK Saxena, has sought a report from the director general of Tihar jail.

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