The Daily Fix: Arvind Kejriwal gives Rahul Gandhi a lesson in playing vendetta politics

The Daily Fix: Arvind Kejriwal gives Rahul Gandhi a lesson in playing vendetta politics
Photo Credit: IANS
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The Latest: Top stories of the day
1. It will soon become mandatory to quote a Permanent Account Number for any cash transaction ofmore than Rs 2 lakh.
2. As many as 15 out of 17  Indian cities had pollution levels far exceeding prescribed limits, according to the National Air Quality Index.
3. A terror threat in Los Angeles has prompted authorities to shut down all schools in the city.

The Big Story: Duty/Disgust
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was allegedly kept out of his office by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday, as the agency examined files in connection with a corruption case allegedly involving Delhi’s Principal Secretary. That was the newsy bit. The rest of the day was pure drama.

First Kejriwal live-tweeted the raid, calling the Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “coward” and a “psychopath”. Then the Bharatiya Janata Party woke up and began to respond, accusing Kejriwal of shielding a corrupt bureaucrat while also claiming the chief minister’s office hadn’t been raided. And then Kejriwal held a press conference where he claimed he knew the “real” reason for the raids: To look into files regarding Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, against whom Kejriwal said an inquiry was about to be opened regarding allegations of impropriety in the running of Delhi’s cricket authority.

This has been said before, but it’s hard to see much mending of ties between the Centre and Delhi. You don’t call the Prime Minister a “psychopath” and expect it to be forgotten the next day. Moreover, Kejriwal is on shaky ground. The allegations against Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar date back to 2007 and have been detailed by other bureaucrats as well, including a former Aam Aadmi Party leader.

That’s why Kejriwal immediately turned the raid from a weakness into a strength. The storyline is no longer that a bureaucrat he hand-picked is being investigated for corruption. Instead, the question is one of a political vendetta with Kejriwal even throwing in Jaitley’s name to properly stir the pot. Compared to this, the Congress’ half-baked abortive attempt to turn the National Herald court case into vindictive conduct by Modi looks child’s play.

The Big Scroll: on the day’s biggest story
Pirated DVDs and movie torrents recovered’: Twitter laughs off the CBI raid on Kejriwal’s office. Here is Arvind Kejriwal’s theory: CBI raids are a plot to protect Arun Jaitley from corruption investigation. Also, Arvind Kejriwal’s angry CBI rant sounds exactly like Modi from two years ago.

Politicking & Policying
1. Parliament Watch: It looks like the Goods and Services Tax Bill is properly dead, now that Congress leaders are pretending to be in the washroom to avoid talking to the government.
2. Parliament Watch:  Opposition outrage for the day: Allegations that the Arunachal Pradesh governor is behaving “like a dictator.”
3. Parliament Watch: The Lok Sabha actually managed to get some work done, passing the supplementary demand for grants.
4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kerala included a funny moment of bad translation, with the prime minister using a former Congress leader to establish Bharatiya Janata Party connections to the state.

1. The Committee for Protection of Journalists lists out the stories of the four Indian journalists who are currently behind bars.
2. A leader in the Business Standard points out why a low inflationary environment could be dangerous for the government and India Inc.
3. “What Shinzo Abe together with Modi unveiled last weekend significantly advanced what Nehru foresaw and hoped for,” writes KP Nayar in the Telegraph.

Don’t Miss
Shoaib Daniyal’s response to the criticism of the Bullet Train chart.

The United States is also building a bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Around three times longer than India’s proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, the project costs have been estimated at $68 billion, making it the most expensive public works project in US history. However, again to compare with health, federal health spending in the US comes to $1.1 trillion (FY 2016). This most expensive public works in the history of the US has a cost which is only 0.06X of its annual federal health budget. Even at this tiny ratio, however, the train is facing a significant opposition in the US for being too expensive.