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BJP MP Tejasvi Surya’s joy ride on LCA Tejas causes heartburns in party

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Surya’s LCA sortie during Aero India raises questions

There are heartburns in the BJP over party MP Tejasvi Surya taking a sortie in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas during Aero India 2021 held in Bengaluru earlier this month.

Many BJP leaders are questioning in what capacity the Bengaluru South MP was accorded that privilege. The venue also didn’t fall in his constituency. 

“One could understand even if he was a member of the parliamentary committee on defence, but he isn’t,” quipped a party office-bearer. 

What has further upset them is the fact that the party leadership let him absent himself from the Lok Sabha for several days for just flying on Tejas.

Such rides are usually organised for important dignitaries, top leadership of the government, senior officers and journalists who specialise in writing about the system.

Some leaders also pointed out that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money. The cost of flying such sorties comes anywhere between Rs 8-10 lakh for the twin seater Tejas. This includes the operating cost — fuel, oil, lubricants, wearing out of tyres, brakes, parachutes, among others.

Permission for such joy rides is given by the Aeronautical Development Agency under the Department of Defence Research and Development of the Ministry of Defence.

Also read: UP Congress’ soft Hindutva push — saffron-clad Priyanka at Shiva temple in party calendar

Old office, but new role for ex-UIDAI chief

After his tenure as the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ended, Ram Sewak Sharma has been keeping busy as the Chairman of Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management to combat Covid-19 and member, National Expert Group on Covid Vaccine Administration. 

The former 1978-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from the Jharkhand cadre came into the limelight during his role as one of the architects of Aadhaar, having served as chief of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). 

UIDAI may have a swanky new office for its headquarters in Bangla Sahib Road in New Delhi now, but when it started off, it operated out of a small space in Jeevan Bharti Building in Connaught Place. 

Years later, life seems to have come a full circle for the former civil servant known for his understanding of technology. 

Coincidentally, his new office in the current role is also in the same building, and he fondly recalls his days with the UIDAI and how much has changed since then.

Politician siblings in midst of public spat

The politician brothers from Belagavi, Karnataka, Satish and Ramesh Jarkiholi, have been sparring publicly, especially since the latter abandoned the Congress to join the BJP and become a minister. Satish is a Congress MLA. 

The latest exchange was on the colour and shape of the cap that the minister wore in his childhood. 

Addressing a meeting in Belagavi recently, Ramesh said he came from a family of freedom fighters and Sangh Parivar followers. His father, Lakshman Rao, went to jail for three months for his involvement in the Jan Sangh, said the Congress-turned-BJP legislator. 

“We brothers wore a black cap, which is part of the RSS uniform. It is a different matter we joined the Congress later. I have come back home now, to the BJP and the Sangh Parivar,” he said. 

His brother, Satish, however, countered the claim in another public event, saying that Ramesh wore a white skull cap as he used to be a defender of Muslim rights. 

“Nobody has seen him wear a black cap. Rather, I have a photo that shows him in his white skull cap,” Satish said, holding up the black and white photograph. 

Political observers can’t wait to see the next round.

Also read: PIB Fact Check Unit calls IB job notice ‘fake’, then deletes tweet. Agency says ad genuine


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