Tejashwi Yadav apologises to people of Bihar for mistakes during RJD's rule

Tejashwi Yadav | Photo: PTI
The message & the medium

On Tuesday, Confederation of All India Traders Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal, who has taken upon himself the task of boycotting all things Chinese, appealed to traders to stop using Zoom, the “Chinese” video- conferencing platform. He asked traders to adopt the “Indian alternative of JioMeet”. However, not everyone is on the same page on this. This includes some within the Sangh Parivar. The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the trade union arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, held a press conference through Zoom on Wednesday to announce week-long protests from July 24 to 30 against the Centre’s privatisation of public sector undertakings. The Delhi unit of the Congress also held a press conference through Zoom. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has started holding physical press conferences, with party General Secretary P Muralidhar Rao addressing one at the BJP headquarters in Delhi on the government’s measures to reduce the distress of the poor.    

Virtual versus physical

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has asked Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to allow virtual meetings of parliamentary standing committees, without which mustering a quorum for committee meetings would be difficult. But officials of the Rajya Sabha said a quorum was necessary only for taking decisions and adopting reports by the committees and not for taking up a general discussion on identified issues, or for taking evidence from ministries. The officials said that in the past three years, eight Rajya Sabha committees had held 281 meetings, of which 16 per cent were without a quorum. They said even the committee on science and technology, which Ramesh currently heads, held 32 meetings, of which 22 per cent were without a quorum. Ramesh termed this a “silly and bogus argument”. He said the point wasn’t about a quorum alone, but to facilitate MPs who wanted to attend but were unable to do so because of various restrictions in their home states. He said it was very different from not attending due to other commitments in normal times. 

The politics of apology

Ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal founder Lalu Prasad Yadav's son and former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav has offered an apology to the people of the state for the mistakes of his parents while projecting himself as an apostle of change. By doing so, he was following in the footsteps of a host of other leaders who've picked up a page from Pope John Paul II's book — who said sorry for things he hadn’t done — and have made the apology a cornerstone of their political campaigns. In March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought forgiveness for putting people in trouble by ordering a complete lockdown in the country. In May, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had said, “I can apologise to you, or you can cut off my head", while facing criticism for the relief measures of her government in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan. And who can forget Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's 2018 apology spree when he said sorry to Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia, Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Amit Sibal, senior advocate and son of senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal...

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