Several weeks after the star-studded bash hosted by Zee’s Subhas Chandra, and attended by both the President and the Prime minister, the event continues to be the talking point in Lutyen’s Delhi. While some quarters professed to be amused at Essel Group’s claim to have turned 90 (pointing out that Essel started in the eighties and the 90-year landmark is claimed from the time Chandra’s grandfather set up a grocery), others wondered what the hidden agenda could have been.
After all Chandra used the occasion to dedicate his already working UP-UK channel to the nation. The cynosure of all eyes were old friends Subrata Roy Sahara and trouble shooter Amar Singh. Roy used to organise a much hyped ‘Bharat Parva’ in the nineties in Lucknow to which movers and shakers from all over the country would descend and festivities continued for several days. While Roy has been going through a rough time, mysteriously spending time in Tihar Jail, Sahara Group’s papers seized by the Income Tax department had been in the news for detailing the money the Group had paid to politicians including Narendra Modi before the 2014 election.
While it is not clear whether Roy managed to meet Modi at the bash, a wit quipped that it was a gathering of nationalists and Chandra clearly has emerged as the nationalist of nationalists by edging out Roy.
Why do retired diplomats, army officers and sundry experts from Pakistan appear on Indian TV channels, where they are abused, interrupted and humiliated almost as a daily routine? One explanation was that since these channels are not available in Pakistan, they do not have to fear a backlash. The other explanation was that they probably look forward to the small window to sneak in some of their side of the story.
But now anchor and journalist Rajdeep Sardesai has confirmed what was suspected all along — that the Indian channels pay the Pakistani experts handsome amounts in Dollars. Sardesai’s post in which he has claimed to be aware of the bank account to which such remittances are deposited and which names Tariq Pirzada, has caused a stir. The highest payment is made by the most nationalist channels of them all, added Sardesai snidely.
Akhilesh Yadav’s generous scheme of honouring achievers in various fields with Rs 50,000 every month was one of the many schemes scrapped in Uttar Pradesh by the Yogi Government. The Yash Bharti Award as it was known, was criticised widely for its arbitrary choice of awardees and the more than generous amount to be paid for life!
While bureaucrats who cleared the scheme seem to have got away without any retribution, amusingly one of the recipients, it has now been revealed, is now a BJP MLA in the state! Surely nobody can blame Akhilesh Yadav for discrimination on political grounds. The MLA, Narendra Singh Rana, in a letter to the chief minister Yogi Adityanath, has pleaded that the scheme be restored. Many people in the state are dependent on the ‘pension’, he said in the letter, with he himself being one.
It is a done deal, say the knowledgeable! The sulking brother of Mulayam Singh Yadav is all set to contest the next election on a BJP ticket. Shivpal Yadav, known to be the organisation man, is said to have extracted a commitment from BJP national president Amit Shah that his son Aditya be put up as BJP candidate from Kannauj, a seat held in the Lok Sabha by Dimple Yadav, wife of the former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Shah’s condition is that the Samajwadi secular Morcha floated by Shivpal be merged with the BJP.
Frequency of photographs of Amit Shah holding court and senior journalists looking at him adoringly, much like calves look at the cow, has increased. Most journalists cannot avoid the temptation of sharing them on social media, especially if they are sitting next to the leader. The media meets convened by the BJP and Shah draw a full house and BJP is a good host. Gifts, usually a packet of sweets, are an added attraction. This time the party added an LED bulb also in the bag. One of the attendees was however left disgusted at the ‘rush’ among journalists to collect their bags. On his Facebook wall, he added ironically that the bags fell short on May 26 and several journalists who were praising Shah and the arrangements, left the venue fuming and bad-mouthing Shah’s poor management skills!