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Indraprastha

Virendra Kapoor is a political commentator based in Delhi
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The silence of Yashwant Sinha

IF YOU ARE wondering why Yashwant Sinha has suddenly fallen silent, no longer making a splash in the media ranting and raving against the Modi Sarkar, it is because he is engaged full-time in a far more important activity. That is, ensuring the re-election of his son Jayant for the second consecutive term from his old Hazaribagh constituency in Jharkhand. But then Sinha Jr, a minister in the Modi Government, you ask, is again contesting on the BJP ticket, isn’t he? Yes, he is. How then can Sihha Sr renege on bucketfuls of vitriolic venom he had poured almost daily against the Prime Minister and the BJP President Amit Shah till very recently? Indeed, how can he betray the TV channels which had most eagerly embraced him to their bosoms for tearing into the reputation of the Modi-Shah duo? Recall how upon his turning a critic of the government, Sinha Sr and his comrade-in-distress, Arun Shourie, had overnight emerged as the darlings of the anti-BJP media, giving soundbites regularly and pronouncing an early death for democracy should Modi continue any longer as Prime Minister. And yet, the same Sinha Sr is now managing the poll of his younger son, having stationed himself in Hazaribagh for the purpose. Unsurprisingly, not only has he discovered a lot of good qualities in Modi but he is also hopeful about the NDA winning a comfortable majority on the back of the immense good work done by the Modi Sarkar at the grassroots level for the poor and the underprivileged. Come to think of it, it was only the other day the Aam Aadmi Party was toying with the idea of fielding Sinha Sr from one of the seven parliamentary constituencies in Delhi. But then, as they say, blood is always thicker than water. Never mind the angry fulminations against the Prime Minister for five years. There is an evocative proverb in Hindi: Subah ka bhoola agar shaam ko laut aaye toh use bhoola nahi kahte (the prodigal son is always welcome back home). Maybe in a couple of weeks it will be time for Shourie to rediscover some good in his old party!

FOR A COUPLE of hours on April 14th, the purported letter that BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi was said to have written to fellow Margdarshak LK Advani created a lot of buzz on social media. Within minutes, traffic on the tens of thousands of WhatsApp groups got choked with this litany of complaints that Joshi had reportedly put to paper, as he said in the letter, for posterity in near-perfect Hindi to his senior party colleague. The two veterans had reason to feel peeved, having been denied re-nomination for the Lok Sabha polls. But whoever put out that fake letter made a minor mistake, stamping boldly on top of it the name of a media agency to lend it a veneer of credibility. And the agency lost no time in coming out with a denial. Perforce, soon a denial came from Joshi himself. If the objective behind the fake letter was to sow confusion in the ruling party ranks, it failed miserably, with TV channels and next-morning papers refusing to touch it even with a barge pole.

In the meantime, as if in a tit-for- tat, someone put out a letter supposedly written by a Mumbai industrialist whose name has been mentioned repeatedly by Rahul Gandhi in connection with the Rafale controversy. The unwary readers could be excused for mistaking it to be genuine. For it too like Joshi’s letter to Advani had a ring of honesty about it, detailing the large number of contracts and projects given to his group by the UPA government and how handsomely the industrialist had contributed to the tax kitty. That letter too went viral for a few hours on social media before it vanishing in the vast forest of authentic and inauthentic posts on websites. Clearly, the shelf life of fake news is only a few hours before the net habitués get wise to the con underpinning it.

THERE WERE THREE serious contenders for the Congress ticket from the Faridabad Lok Sabha constituency. Avatar Singh Badhana (who had recently left the BJP to return to the Congress), Karan Dalal and Lalit Nagar (a sitting Congress MLA). In the Congress circles, Nagar was considered a weak candidate, least likely to get the ticket. Yet he got it. Why? Well, if you trust party insiders, because he was considered close to a key member of the Family, that is why.

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