The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) list of 177 candidates for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections has created a lot of confusion. First, the party announced Narendra Singh Tomar as its candidate from the Mandhata seat of Khandwa. Incidentally, a more popular Narendra Singh Tomar is the current Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Mines at the Centre. He is a member of the 16th Lok Sabha from Gwalior.
He cleared the air with the following tweet: “From Mandhata seat Shri Narendra Singh Tomarji is party candidate. It’s not me. He is another party worker. Please don’t get confused.” In another incident, the party first announced Ashok Malviya’s name as its candidate from Ghatiya (Ujjain), but in a statement to the media later, the party clarified that Malviya's name was published inadvertently, and that the party was yet to decide on the candidate for Ghatiya. The joy was short lived for Malviya.
Everyone’s not invited
The uncongenial attitude of officials in-charge of media outreach in the ministry of housing and urban affairs has put minister Hardeep Puri in a piquant position. His and his ministry's coverage in several newspapers has dipped even while he personally tries to maintain a congenial open-door policy with the media. Senior officials of the ministry are left to wonder why some media outlets have stopped not only critical reportage but also reportage that would reflect the urban affairs ministry in positive light.
The tiff began in May this year when some reporters complained that officers in charge of media outreach do not respond to routine queries or even take calls. While the officials have changed, many beat reporters find themselves “not invited” to even regular interactions, the latest being the informal lunch gathering that the otherwise affable minister plans to host.
Rahul Ram’s MP connection
The music band India Ocean was in Bhopal recently to perform at a voter-education event. Vocalist Rahul Ram spoke about his “connection with Madhya Pradesh”. He spoke of the time he spent in MP jails, thanks to his involvement with the Narmada Bachao Andolan in the nineties. He also remembered an incident that occurred during the shooting of Bollywood movie “Peepli Live”. The film crew was packing up after a day's shooting when it heard local villagers sing a folk song that went “Sakhi saiyan to khub hi kamat hai...” Ram and his team immediately decided to use the song in the movie, although it had no connection with the storyline.