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Rahul Gandhi accuses PM Narendra Modi of giving scripted answers

The interpreter started translating the PM's answer in English, which was much longer than his Hindi reply

Business Standard 

The long and short of it

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore during his visit to the city state has evoked much comment on social media. At the beginning of his interaction after Modi answered a question in Hindi, the interpreter started translating the PM’s answer in English, which was much longer than his Hindi reply. This prompted speculation that the interaction was scripted. “The first Indian PM who takes 'spontaneous' questions that the translator has pre-scripted answers to! Good that he doesn't take real questions. Would have been a real embarrassment to us all if he did,” Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter. On Sunday, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had tweeted, while tagging a news report on the NTU interview, "Oh dear. When the translator says what the PM was supposed to say, but didn’t”.

Pakoda redux

The humble pakoda has become the leitmotif of political squabbles today. Speaking at an event organised by the Maharashtra Congress unit on Monday, former finance minister P Chidambaram mocked the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana under which loans of up to Rs 1000,000 are provided to small/micro enterprises. “The average amount of disbursed Mudra loan is Rs 43,000 per person. No major investment can be done with such low amount, except one wants to run a pakoda stall," Chidambaram said in an apparent reference to an earlier comment by the Prime Minister that a person earning Rs 200 a day by selling pakodas is also employed.

Question of ethics

The fight between Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar and his former party colleague, Sharad Yadav, has become personal. Last year, Yadav had rebelled against Kumar’s decision to ally with Bharatiya Janata Party. On a plea from the JD (U), Yadav was disqualified from the Rajya Sabha. Now JD (U) Secretary General RCP Singh has moved the Supreme Court requesting Yadav be thrown out of the Lutyens bungalow he occupies. Singh has argued that Yadav is "using the official bungalow to further damage the JD (U)". On his part, Yadav has argued the JD (U), at the behest of the BJP, is victimising him because of his efforts towards Opposition unity. He reminded that a veteran Parliamentarian like him was disqualified from the Rajya Sabha without the case being referred to the Ethics Committee.

First Published: Tue, June 05 2018. 00:32 IST