Political Gup-Shup: BJP courts media for image correction

Having shunned the media these past four years, the BJP ministers have now started courting press persons.

Having shunned the media these past four years, the BJP ministers have now started courting press persons. The reason for this outreach is not far to see. The government needs the media since it is clearly on the backfoot with regard to the multi-crore bank fraud involving celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi and the Rafale aircraft deal sealed with France. In addition, the government is worried that its last full-fledged Budget failed to make any impact despite various populist announcements. Consequently, two women ministers invited a select group of journalists separately for an informal interaction to explain the government’s position and also to get feedback about the prevailing public mood. One minister admitted that the government’s image had taken a hit as it had lost the perception war on the Rafale deal, while the Opposition had scored over it on this issue. In fact, the minister expressed her frustration with the complex functioning of the government machinery which, according to her, can be daunting for a newcomer. Another minister was unhappy that the provisions of the Budget were were not explained properly to them. In fact, she hinted obliquely that finance minister Arun Jaitley had probably erred when he declared in his speech that there would be no changes in the income tax proposals which ended up negating the positive announcements made by him.

The CPM may have decided to keep its distance from the Congress as far as future alliances are concerned, but the grand old party is happy to come to the aid of the Marxists to ensure that liberal and secular forces are not swept aside by a resurgent BJP. As a result, the Congress took a policy decision to keep a low profile in the recent Tripura Assembly polls in order to leave the field open for the Left government. But as polling day drew close, the Congress suddenly realised that it was being wiped out in the north-eastern state where it was once the main Opposition party, while an aggressive BJP had emerged as a major political force. In fact, there is talk that the BJP could even dethrone the 19-year-old Manik Sarkar government in Tripura. The Congress pressed the panic button and hurriedly summoned extra forces to shore up its non-existent campaign. But there was little they could do to improve the party’s prospects.

Louise Khurshid, Congress politician and wife of former Union minister Salman Khurshid, started making pickles over a decade ago to tide over the loss of her young daughter. Over time, the therapeutic exercise has developed into a passion. Ms Khurshid now makes a variety of pickles with brinjal, ginger, mango, mandarin orange and grapefruit which are much sought-after as return gifts on the couple’s annual Christmas party. Ms Khurshid now plans to go a step further and leverage her pickle-making skills in the next elections. She has already had one stint as a legislator in the UP Assembly, but failed to make it subsequently though she contested both Assembly and Lok Sabha elections from the Farrukhabad constituency. So she has now decided to make the pickles in bulk and present them — in bottles labelled, “Louise Khurshid ki Rasoi Se” — to the women in her constituency when she hits the campaign trail.

Rama Pilot, the wife of the late Congress leader Rajesh Pilot and mother of Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot, has been a politician in her own right. She was a member of the Rajasthan Assembly and also won the Dausa Lok Sabha seat. She, however, decided to take a backseat after her son began his political journey in 2004. But she keeps herself occupied. Having authored a book on her late husband, Rajesh Pilot: A Biography, she is currently penning a book on her son which is expected to come out this year-end to coincide with the Rajasthan Assembly polls. It is being hoped that the book will boost Mr Pilot’s image in the polls, a major test for him since he took charge of the party.

( Source : Columnist )
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