Illustration: Binay Sinha
Thanks to the confusion around the tithi (a lunar day in the Vedic calendar) to perform Saraswati puja, state government employees in West Bengal are expected to get a three-day holiday from Wednesday to Friday this week. Earlier, the government had declared a two-day holiday on Thursday and Friday but a recent circular stated that it had been observed that the puja could be held on Wednesday also. Therefore, the state government had decided to declare a holiday on January 29, in addition to January 30 and 31, as was announced earlier. The three-day holiday period covers all state government offices, urban and rural bodies, educational institutions, and other offices/institutions under the control of the state government except the Registrar of Assurances, Kolkata, the Collector of Stamp Revenue, Kolkata, and the West Bengal State Beverages Corporation Ltd, the circular said.
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, though known for his tough statements, has stayed away from controversy during his India visit. A senior official of the South American country said its president had been advised to be on his best behaviour and, through the liberal use of humour and smiles, charm his hosts. This was on show during an industry summit on Monday, when Bolsonaro addressed business captains of both the nations. Being the last to speak, he approached the podium and sternly announced that lunch should be cancelled because the programme was running late. After an uncomfortable moment when the organisers mulled the fallout, Bolsonaro burst out laughing. While the audience got the joke eventually, many were baffled following the President’s exit sometime later when it was announced that lunch had indeed been postponed by an hour to accommodate more sessions.
on Monday announced it would hold a press conference daily at least until Saturday to “highlight the state of the Indian economy”. The Union Budget will be presented on Saturday. On the first day of its series of press conferences, the Congress
fielded a lesser-known spokesperson who had quit journalism to join the party and contest Lok Sabha election from a seat her father once represented. The press conference not only started 15 minutes late but evoked little interest, with few television cameras and reporters around to cover it. It yet again highlighted the trust deficit between the veterans in the party and some of the younger leaders who want Rahul Gandhi to return as party president. The spokesperson fielded by the party on Monday is considered close to the young leadership. Gandhi will address a public rally in Jaipur on Tuesday, where he will speak primarily on economic matters. The veterans, who have secured some significant gains, including in Jharkhand, Haryana, and Maharashtra, have their misgivings about his return.