A file photo of Divya Spandana
Divya Spandana | Divya Spandana Facebook page

‘Post-truth’, a gift of the Trump campaign, means a situation in which people are most likely to accept an argument based on what they want to believe, never mind the facts. 

But journalists should inhabit the realm of ‘pre-truth’. By virtue of their access to places, events, people, and curious eyes, noses and ears, they find exclusive, juicy, information that may still be closed-circuit chatter before becoming open fact. 

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It deserves to be out there, before it hits the news cycle and crams the networks.  

Pre-Truth, our new feature, will bring you snappy, witty and significant snippets from the world of politics and government, from the national capital and the states. So stay tuned Wednesdays and Fridays, to begin with.

SC’s govt housing bar on former UP CMs sends tremors in MP too

The Supreme Court’s order to quash the Uttar Pradesh law allowing former chief ministers to retain government accommodation is also likely to jolt Madhya Pradesh, headed for elections later this year.

There are five former chief ministers (including a deceased one) who have government houses in Bhopal: Kailash Joshi, Uma Bharati, Babulal Gaur, Digvijaya Singh and the late Sunderal Patwa.

Joshi’s son Deepak is a minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet while Bharati is a union minister. Gaur is an MLA while Digvijaya is a Rajya Sabha member from the state. Patwa’s nephew Surendra is a minister in the Chouhan cabinet.

When it comes to accommodation for politicians, Madhya Pradesh is rather generous. All Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members from the state have been given government houses in Bhopal while many former union ministers like Suresh Pachauri and Aslam Sher Khan too enjoy government hospitality.

The newly appointed Madhya Pradesh Congress chief, Kamal Nath, has a large bungalow — 9, Shyamla Hills, Bhopal — close to Chouhan’s residence.

This game of ‘Congress whispers’ may have a clear winner

Away from the public, the Congress is witnessing an internal, whisper campaign — “Why not her” — for the coveted post of president, Indian Youth Congress. Though “her” was not specified, party insiders say it is Divya Spandana, the social media head, also known by her screen name Ramya.

If Divya is elevated as IYC chief, she would be the second woman to head the youth wing after Ambika Soni. The outgoing IYC chief, Amrinder Singh Raja, was recently given an informal farewell at Raisina Road, New Delhi. Raja maintains that it is a theme stressing greater representation of women in nation-building.

In Congress circles, Divya is perceived to be close to party chief Rahul Gandhi. The young Gandhi hand-picked the former Lok Sabha member from Mandya to head his social media unit and national digital team in May 2017.

Within five months, Divya even had her in-house critics secretly admiring her for successfully turning around Rahul’s image as a dynamic national leader. What was more spectacular is the way she scored points against the BJP’s IT in-charge, Amit Malviya.

A formal announcement of the new IYC president is expected after the Karnataka assembly polls.

The ‘rebel’ BJP MP ‘weighing his options’ ahead of 2019

BJP MP from Darbhanga, former cricketer Kirti Azad, seems to be exploring his options ahead of the 2019 general elections.

He has been at loggerheads with the party leadership since he started targeting finance minister Arun Jaitley for alleged omissions and commissions in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), which the latter headed for several years.

The new Congress in-charge of Bihar affairs, Shaktisinh Gohil, got an invitation from Azad to attend his son’s wedding reception in Delhi Monday. Gohil attended, but not before getting permission from the party high command.

On a deadline, Javadekar takes it easy on education policy

Human resource development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar seems to be in no hurry about the New Education Policy, three years after his predecessor, Smriti Irani, initiated the consultation process, and two years after the committee headed by former IAS officer TSR Subramanian submitted its draft report.

Javadekar decided to set up a new panel, led by space scientist K. Kasturirangan, in June last year, with a six-month deadline. It was, however, given a three-month extension until March this year.

Last month, Javadekar extended the deadline by another three months, although the committee had sought only a month’s extension for a peer review of its draft report, ministry officials said.

Given that the Prime Minister’s Office has been sending reminders to the ministry about the delay in the launch of the New Education Policy, Javadekar’s decision to grant an unsought three-month extension has left ministry officials baffled.

It’s been a year of mishaps for this controversial minister

Anant Kumar Hegde, the union minister with a penchant for controversies, is prone to accidents. Or so it seems from the number of accidents he has been involved in recently.

In January this year, while he was going to the Bengaluru airport, the escort vehicle moving ahead of his car slowed down, following which his car collided with the escort car and a private vehicle; three persons sustained minor injuries in the accident. In April this year, a speeding truck hit his convoy in Karnataka’s Haveri district. Hegde, who claimed it was an attempt on his life, said his car was speeding and so the truck hit one of his escort cars while he escaped.

On 7 May, Hegde was travelling in Kumta taluk of Uttara Kannada district when his car collided with an escort vehicle after the latter slowed down. No one was hurt.

Coming soon: CJI Misra & Justice Chelameswar, on the same bench

Departing from conventions is fast becoming Justice Jasti Chelameswar’s forte. He is also now the first judge to have declined an invitation to his own farewell. But sources close to the judge say he may actually be doing a favour to the CJI by saving him from the embarrassment of delivering a customary speech on how good a judge Chelameswar has been (especially in the last few months!).

Although he may have opted out of one meeting with the CJI on 18 May, there’s another convention he may not be able to avoid. Every judge sits with the CJI in Court 1 for a day on their first and the last day in court.

Misra with Chelameswar is one courtroom event everyone is waiting for.

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