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Parrikar: Butter chicken, fish curry and foot in the mouth




IANS: When pacing the cold, stone-lined corridors of South Block, former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar famously confessed to fantasising about Goan fish curry over butter chicken, the national capital’s ubiquitous calorific treat.

Back in Goa as Chief Minister, however, Parrikar’s all-too-brief reminiscence on Friday, about his pressure-packed stint in Delhi and his reference to Kashmir, appears to have stirred the political pot in Goa and in Delhi.

During Babasaheb Ambedkar’s 126th birth anniversary celebrations in Panaji, Parrikar, in his inimitable style, reeled off on his tough times in Delhi, his desire to return to Goa and the Kashmir crisis all in one breath, triggering a controversy, one which required the Chief Minister to take to Twitter to deny having linked the prolonged Kashmir crisis to his return to his home state.

This is not Parrikar’s first tryst with controversy over his own comments. And with the combination of his wafer-thin majority government, his over-eager alliance partners already prodding his leadership and Parrikar’s prodigious ability to put his foot-in-the-mouth, proverbially speaking, promises this won’t be his last gaffe.

Goa BJP insiders, however, claim that Parrikar’s stint in Delhi could have taught him to be cautious while dealing with the media, which perhaps can be explained by the Chief Minister choosing to forego the customary weekly post-cabinet media briefing and keeping public interactions to a minimum ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government assumed charge in March.

“The election mandate has not been kind to us. We may have formed a government, but with allies who had been baying for our blood before the elections. It does not make much sense to increase exposure to the media and exposing ourselves to scrutiny just yet,” a senior BJP leader told IANS.

Parrikar’s unprovoked comment on Friday, undermining the importance of discussions, especially with journalists, while pursuing an objective, could perhaps betray the Chief Minister’s current outlook on the media and alternative voices.

“And, I feel, there are some things where discussions should be minimum, but things need to be made to happen. Discussions can be a spoiler… If you want something to happen, do not discuss it too much in the news. When there is a discussion, one person says one thing, while someone else says something else,” Parrikar had said.

Congress leader Girish Chodankar alleges that dictatorial tendencies lie just below Parrikar’s democratic surface and such tendencies slip out every now and then.

“These are the signs of a dictator. One who does not believe in listening to others’ opinions. How can a leader in a democracy say discussions are not important?” Chodankar asked.

Parrikar’s angst against the media could stem from the number of times he was panned in the national media, be it for his dozing at Rajpath during the Republic Day celebrations or nodding off in Parliament while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was responding to one of the most-watched debates in recent times on demonetisation.

Ironic images of Parrikar, then a Defence Minister, holding a large, shimmering snapper while inaugurating a subsidised fish cart in Goa last year, while Modi sealed the multi-billion dollar Rafale jet deal in Paris, or his numerous visits to Goa, especially his presence in the coastal state during the Pathankot terror attack last year, have taken a toll of the urban legends surrounding the 61-year-old IITian, which describe him, sometimes erroneously, as a humble, no-nonsense technocrat, with a skill for clean administration.

Now that Parrikar is back in Goa and within ready reach of his fish curry rice, one thing he would do well to remember, is that the Mandovi river, once famous hunting ground for shevto — Goa’s state fish — is now a breeding ground for offshore casinos; the same casinos which Parrikar once detested and had promised to do away with, way before he moved to butter-chicken land.

By Mayabhushan Navenkar

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be reached at [email protected] Views expressed are personnel)


Saffron should not spread all over tricolour: Kamal Haasan



kamal haasan

Chennai, Feb 22: Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has said that saffron has its place in the national flag but it should not spread all over it, in a remark interpreted as an attack on the BJP and Hindutva forces.

“Even the Indian national flag has saffron. But it (the colour) should not spread all over the flag is what I am saying,” said Kamal, President of newly-formed political party Makkal Needhi Maiam.

In his latest column in a Tamil weekly magazine Ananda Vikatan, Kamal said he has not insulted the saffron band on the tricolour — which signifies courage and sacrifice.

Citing national leaders who fought for freedom, he said they had differed with each other but stood united to fight for the same goal, adding that this lesson should not be lost.

He said for the success of Indian democracy, one cannot forget the contributions of B.R. Ambedkar and Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer in drafting our Constitution.

On the core political philosophy, Kamal said he does not want to be tied down to the narrow confines of any single ‘ism’.

“All ‘isms’ are for social reform. And it cannot be said all have succeeded. It cannot be agreed that a book written in some corner of the world will suit the whole world,” Kamal said.

According to him, one cannot equate Socrates’ Democracy with that of (US President Donald) Trump’s democracy as both are “different creatures”.

Kamal also said he met fellow actor Rajinikanth secretly near here — at the latter’s “Kaala” movie shoot — and told him about his plans to float the party.

Kamal said both agreed to maintain dignity in their political career and not indulge in the usual acrimonial politics.

On meeting DMK President M. Karunanidhi, Kamal said the veteran leader is his Tamil Guru and “he wished me good in my political journey with a smile”.

Kamal who also met DMDK leader A. Vijayakant, another Tamil movie hero turned politician, said he has not changed and continues to be the same old ‘Viji’.


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Chief Secretary row: AAP’s Amanatullah Khan, Prakash Jarwal sent to judicial custody for 14 days



Amantullah Khan
Amanatullah Khan Surrenders

New Delhi, Feb 22: AAP MLA’s Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal have been sent to judicial custody for 14 days in connection with an alleged assault on Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash.

On Wednesday, they were sent to judicial custody for a day after they were produced before Delhi’s Tis Hazari court.

Delhi police held AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan in Delhi Chief Secretary alleged assault case after he surrendered dramatically in Jamia Nagar Police station. While surrendering the MLA said, I have not done anything wrong.’

Whereas the police arrested the another MLA Prakash Jarwal on Tuesday evening on the accusations that he along with Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan and his colleague in front of Kejriwal at the Chief Minister’s residence assaulted Chief Secretary of Delhi Anshu Prakash on Monday midnight, where he was called for a meeting.

The police today also questioned V.K. Jain, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s advisor in connection with an alleged assault on Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by two AAP MLAs.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Harendra Kumar Singh told IANS that Jain was being questioned at the Civil Lines Police Station.

The Chief Minister’s advisor was present at the time of the incident, according to Prakash’s police complaint.

The Additional DCP said police were also trying to track down Khan. They had been to Khan’s residence to detain him on Tuesday night, but the AAP MLA from Okhla was not present.

The allegation of the assault triggered a political storm in the national capital a day ago with the BJP demanding Kejriwal’s resignation and the Congress asking for the AAP chief’s apology.

The AAP hit back by stating that the Chief Secretary was making false allegations and said he was working at the “behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)”.

The Home Ministry sought a report from Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on the issue and Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was “deeply pained” by the development.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain was manhandled by a crowd which gathered outside the door of a lift inside the Delhi Secretariat. Hussain’s Assistant Personal Secretary was beaten up, according to multiple video clips from the Secretariat.


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Owaisi hits out at Army chief, says Not your work to comment on political parties



New Delhi, Feb 22: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday hit out at General Bipin Rawat for talking about the rise of Maulana Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front) in Assam, saying that the Army chief should not interfere in political matters as it was not his work to comment on the rise of a political party.

Taking to Twitter, Owaisi stated the army chief should not interfere in political matters it is not his work to comment on the rise of a political party, democracy, and constitution also doesn’t allow it.

He further said, the army will always work under an elected civilian leadership.

While addressing a seminar on North-East organised at DRDO Bhawan on February 21, Army Chief had said AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front) have grown in a faster time-frame than the BJP grew over the years. When we talk of Jan Sangh with two MPs & where they have reached, AIUDF is moving at a faster pace in the state of Assam.

Hours after a controversy broke out, the Army came up with a justification saying “there is nothing political or religious in the talk. Army Chief just mentioned amalgamation and development in the seminar.

The AIUDF was formed in 2005 with an aim to champion the cause of Muslim community. At present, it has three parliamentarians in Lok Sabha and 13 legislators in the state assembly.


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