Congress leader and former information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari hosted the leadership team of the Atlantic Council, a global think tank of which he is a distinguished senior fellow, in Delhi’s Gymkhana Club. It was a well-attended lunch, with a large number of journalists and members of Parliament cutting across party lines being present. The surprise guest was Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi. He seemed to take an aggressive stand against the Bharatiya Janata Party and questioned the media’s responsibility in fighting that party. Some had said Tewari and Gandhi had fallen out: It didn’t appear so at the luncheon.
Modi empowers Amit Shah with fresh whip for absentee MPs
It has almost become a ritual for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to chide Bharatiya Janata Party members of Parliament (MP) for being absent from sessions. In March this year, he delivered the same message: MPs must attend Parliament; he would know if they didn’t. According to one Hindi TV channel, he lost his temper at the end of the monsoon session and told these MPs: “Why does the party have to keep issuing whips for you to be present? You or I are not important; it is the party that is most important. You can do what you like; we will talk to each other in 2019 (when MPs would be selected to fight the Lok Sabha elections).” MPs are interpreting this as the PM’s move to empower party President and now MP Amit Shah, and also as an open warning to errant MPs.