Bachchanalia on Twitter
There was much ‘charcha’ about Bollywood superstar and renegade Congressman Amitabh Bachchan at 24 Akbar Road. All because Bachchan suddenly started following @OfficeofRG on Twitter. He also added a few Congress leaders to his list. Once close family friends of the Gandhis, the Bachchans fell out with the Congress first family over a decade ago. No one really knows why, though there’s no dearth of speculation. Jaya Bachchan’s suspected to have triggered the quarrel, after which imperious Sonia Gandhi shut them out.
The 10 years of UPA rule saw the Bachchans move towards the Samajwadi Party, escorted by their now-estranged friend Amar Singh. So, this sudden reaching out to the Congress leadership, albeit through Twitter, created a flutter. More so as Jaya’s Rajya Sabha term is coming to an end and she’s courting the TMC. The SP’s in no position to fulfill her ambition, nor the Congress. Well, the Bachchans are old party-hoppers, preferring to be in proximity to power whether as brand ambassador of Gujarat or through other endorsements. The Congress rank and file is thus curious. Rahul Gandhi, however, has not returned the favour. Not following Bachchan back, even though he has been encouraging ‘ghar wapsi’ for many other Congressmen.
Despite his ‘no confidence in Rahul Gandhi’s leadership’, ‘please get Priyanka into politics’ remarks, Hardik Patel is determined to campaign in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, come what may. Needless to say, it’ll help the Congress. The young Patel leader will target those in power, which is BJP. He’s already done some ground work in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, preparing his blueprint for Chhattisgarh.
Sans Gorakhnath in Gorakhpur
In a curious turn of events, for the first time in three decades, the Gorakhnath temple will have little to do with the Gorakhpur polls. By-elections to the Lok Sabha seat vacated by the seminary’s most famous disciple, Yogi Adiyanath, are scheduled on March 11. The BJP has fielded Upendra Shukla, who has no connection with the Gorakhnath temple, apparently to appease the Brahmin community, upset with Yogi’s rise to power. What’s more, Shukla’s close to Rajnath Singh, not Yogi. The Phulpur bypoll too has turned riveting. Before the SP could propose a joint candidate, the Congress fielded Manish Mishra, son of Indira Gandhi’s personal secretary J S Mishra. BSP’s staying away, it could upscale GOP’s vote share.
Babus put on alert!
The Prime Minister is none too happy with Babus taking off from their offices mid-afternoon, ostensibly for field-work. In reality, many of them can be found at Delhi’s golf clubs. Ever since he came to power, Narendra Modi has tried everything to change the trend, but to little avail. It appears, the bulk of the bureaucracy can’t be weaned away from their Lutyens’ lifestyle. As a last resort, GPS devices may be introduced along with biometric attendance cards to keep a tab on them. Guess who gave the idea?
Oh, it’s fake!
The phenomenon of ‘fake news’ has been plaguing the media for some time now, surfacing with greater frequency on Twitter. US President Donald Trump, of course, has made it his best defence against anything uncomfortable. But fakery, it seems, is not confined to the news media. The punters at Bombay Stock Exchange had a taste of it last week. News of the PNB loan scam had hit home, anxious broker-investors of the public sector banks were keenly watching the stock for the first sign of a tumble when came an alert. The SEBI has issued a circular, seeking to keep tabs on anyone trading on those stocks. The fearful punters could recover only after the circular was found to be a fake one!