With the festival of Diwali a day away, Union ministers are busy hosting get-togethers. Many in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were left battling their nerves on Monday afternoon when senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi (pictured) invited journalists for a Diwali gathering. Joshi heads the Estimates Committee of Parliament, which had been asking the Narendra Modi government some tough questions on India’s lack of defence preparedness and non-performing assets of banks. As Joshi hosted his guests at his residence, the BJP sent out a message that there would be a media briefing by some of the senior-most ministers of the government — which prompted journalists to scurry towards the BJP headquarters.
Friends turn foes
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) [JD (U)] and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party (RLSP) are both constituents of the National Democratic Alliance, but are currently involved in an unseemly war of words. On Monday, the JD (U) said it attached no importance to “prejudiced and provocative” remarks by Kushwaha against the Bihar CM. RLSP hit back, saying the JD(U) was jittery over Kumar's declining popularity and the growing appeal of Kushwaha, especially among the backwards and the Dalits. Kushwaha on Sunday had accused Kumar of having called him neech, or lowly. Kumar was Kushwaha's mentor, and both vie for the support of the same caste group, but had later fallen out.
Back to square one
Former Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani moved the Bombay High Court on Monday against a CBFC order directing 20 cuts in his soon-to-be-released venture, Rangeela Raja. Nihalani, in his petition, said the suggestion of the film certification body was unjustified and alleged that its current head, Prasoon Joshi, was “politically motivated”. Nihalani alleged that when a film is submitted for certification, the screening committee takes about 21 days to decide its fate. In his case, however, it took 40 days. Many on the social media pointed out that Nihalani's own tenure as CBFC chief was marred by controversies with many filmmakers accusing him of forcing arbitrary cuts in their films. Nihalani was finally replaced by Joshi.