A lesson in history
At a public meeting in Kalaburagi in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday accused the Congress, and the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, of insulting Field Marshal KM Cariappa and General KS Thimayya. Citing history as proof, the PM said after defeating Pakistan in 1948, General Thimayya was insulted by Nehru and the then defence minister VK Krishna Menon. However, many pointed out the factual errors in the statement. One of them being Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala (pictured) who requested the PM to “brush up his knowledge of history”. But it turned out that not just Modi but Surjewala too needed a history lesson. He had tweeted General Thimayya was India's High Commissioner to the UK between 1947 to 1952, and not the Army Chief, when it was Menon who was the High Commissioner to UK from 1950 to 52. Some others pointed out that Menon was defence minister between April 1957 to October 1962, while General Thimayya was Army Chief from May 1957 to May 1961. Swaraj India’s Yogendra Yadav asked the PMO to hire a “fact-checker” as the frequent gaffes were “embarrassing”.
Several winners of the National Film Awards skipped the award ceremony on Thursday evening after a last minute announcement that President Ram Nath Kovind would be presenting only 11 awards (instead of presenting all National Awards), a departure from tradition. Rashtrapati Bhavan said this had already been conveyed to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. However, in an open letter, the artistes said they were informed about the change on Wednesday and that they felt “dejected rather than honoured".
Last month, as the Communist Party of India (Marxist) re-elected Sitaram Yechury as the party chief, it also amended rival Prakash Karat's line that advocated leaving no space for any electoral understanding with the Congress. On Thursday, Yechury's electoral line showed results. The Congress sparked speculation that the two parties might be coming close by announcing support to the CPI(M) candidate for the May 28 bypoll to Maheshtala Assembly seat in West Bengal. The CPI(M), on Wednesday, announced Prabhat Chowdhury as its candidate for the Maheshtala bypoll. The seat fell vacant following the death of sitting Trinamool Congress legislator Kasturi Das.