Dhruva to head Reliance-backed ORF’s US office
Dhruva Jaishankar, son of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, is tipped to join the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a premier public policy think tank that is supported by Reliance. Grapevine has it that Dhruva could head the Washington office of the ORF, which is likely to be opened later this month. Jaishankar Jr. is a foreign policy wonk in his own right. He is a fellow in foreign policy studies at Brookings India in New Delhi and the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Former Congress social media head Divya Spandana aka Ramya has gone missing. She had dropped off the radar right after the party’s Lok Sabha rout, deactivating her WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter accounts. The actor-turned-politician, sources in the Congress say, last contacted her team in Delhi a month-and-a-half ago to sanction some of their salaries.
She is in New York, a senior Congress leader told ThePrint. There was speculation on social media recently that she got married to a Portuguese national named Rafael but party leaders dismissed it as gossip. A second Congress leader said she was suffering from an ailment in her toe that at times affected her mobility and so she was taking time off to de-stress and focus on getting better.
Spandana, handpicked by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi to lead the social media team, was credited with drastically changing his Twitter profile in the run-up to the elections. She, however, was embroiled in her fair share of controversies. Her post on Rahul having trouble deciding what food to eat while on a European trip in August last year was criticised as tone-deaf as it came at a time when Kerala was battling its worst floods in a century. Another post about a photograph of PM Modi with the Statue of Unity saw her compare him to bird-dropping, which was again widely panned. Spandana faced the heat after the social media gaffes and resigned as the party’s social media head after the Lok Sabha debacle.
On the backfoot after the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, which excludes only 19 lakh people and indicates many of them are Hindus, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has had to tread extra cautiously. The party, while wanting to announce its support for the Hindus excluded and question the ‘high’ inclusion of Muslims, also cannot afford to irk the ethnic Assamese who resents all ‘foreigners’ irrespective of religion. For this, the BJP decided to come up with a carefully calibrated strategy. It fielded senior minister and one of its most recognisable faces Himanta Biswa Sarma to raise the pitch on the Hindutva front, question the NRC and talk of how there were inclusion-exclusion errors.
Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal, meanwhile, has been relatively silent and measured. The idea is to let Sarma appeal to the Hindutva brigade and toe the RSS line, while Sonowal is meant to keep the indigenous Assamese pacified. It is also crucial for both Sarma and Sonowal’s respective politics, given this stance wouldn’t hurt the former. It, however, would impact Sonowal to make citizenship a communal issue given he built his politics on the ethnic issue in Assam and was given the title of ‘jatiya nayak’ (national hero) by none other than the All Assam Students Union (AASU), which had spearheaded the demand for the NRC.
Interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi intervened to settle the internecine feud in the Haryana unit by axing state chief Ashok Tanwar and giving a leg up to former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. But the party remains in the news for all the wrong reasons.
A video clip of a woman slapping a Congress office-bearer has gone viral on social media. The woman seems to be upset with him for removing Tanwar’s photos. In another incident, a Tanwar loyalist took a computer from Haryana Congress headquarters while collecting pillows, blankets and portraits of the former state unit chief. He returned the computer the same day, maintaining that there was no tampering with any data. Party leaders now say that the details of office-bearers, party funds, contact lists and other important information has been ‘hacked’ from other computers. The hacker has demanded $980 but Congressmen are treating this demand as a “joke” played by some political adversaries.
Also read: Modi’s tea shop in Vadnagar set for tourism status
(Contributors: D.K. Singh, Deeksha Bhardwaj, Ruhi Tewari and Jyoti Yadav)
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