Jairam Ramesh’s plan to join the ongoing election campaign full-time was vetoed by the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi

Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh’s plan to resign and join the ongoing election campaign full-time was vetoed by the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Mr. Ramesh was a key backroom manager of the Congress campaigns in 2004 and 2009. He is also credited with coining the ‘aam admi’ slogan for the party. In 2009, he had resigned from the Union Cabinet to be a part of the campaign management team.

According to news reports that originated from ‘sources close to Mr. Ramesh’ he was planning to do the same thing this time too. But buzz is that Mr. Gandhi did not warm up to the idea.

The reason is that he did not want an impression to be created that a single person is running the entire campaign machinery of the Congress.

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The BJP says the curiosity and interest generated by the 2014 Lok Sabha polls is comparable to the buzz created by the elections to choose the US President. As evidence, the party says, more than 70 representatives of foreign media organisations attended an interaction with senior party leader Arun Jaitley recently.

The party also claims there is a perceptible change in stance of US journalists covering the polls after US envoy to India Nancy Powell announced her departure. From asking questions “only about the 2002 riot” they have shifted to seeking details about the campaign of Mr. Modi, a senior party leader recently mentioned.

On Sunday, the party’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi, who is at the centre of media attention, could be seen instructing policemen at his Aligarh rally to “help” foreign journalists.

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The BJP patriarch and a former journalist, L.K. Advani, in his blog recently did a recall on how during the first six months of 2013, India emerged as the second most dangerous place in the world for those in the business of news.

Borrowing from the London-based International News Safety Institute, Mr. Advani has cited the names and numbers of journos who lost their lives. “This is not the first time India has been one of the worst places in the world to be a journalist. We were among the top five even in 2010,” he said in his blog.

The former I&B Minister in Morarji Desai’s government also recalled how 253 journalists were arrested during Emergency, 110 under MISA, 110 under DIR and 33 under other laws.

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Nearly four months after the Central Government decided to institute a judicial inquiry commission into allegations of unauthorised surveillance in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi --in the wake of alleged snooping on a woman architect in Gujarat – judges are still reluctant to take up the job.

Soon after the Centre announced that the judicial inquiry headed by a retired or a serving Supreme Court judge, it evoked sharp reactions with the senior BJP leader and the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley stating that the decision could be challenged in the Supreme Court.

The issue came up before the Supreme Court after suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma moved an application seeking CBI probe into the matter.

Now that the Gujarat Government has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in response to the IAS officer’s plea, the Congress leaders have urged the judges to come forward.

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