This week on NL Hafta, Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kirpal, Manisha Pande and Mehraj D Lone are joined by Leena Gita Reghunath, an independent journalist based in Kerala.
Leena starts the discussion talking about Pinarayi Vijayan's new ministry, especially the controversy over KK Shailaja's exclusion despite her laudatory work as the health minister. While noting that she was dropped in line with the governing Marxist party’s policy to not retain any of its previous ministers, Leena argues, “There is something Shailaja has proved and not to be rewarded for that, politically, sends out a very bad gender message."
Critiquing the mainstream political commentary on Shailaja’s exit, Mehraj points out that “people are analysing it only through the lens of patriarchy". In large part because the metropolitan commentariat is drawn mainly from Hindu upper castes, they ignore the role of caste in political decisionmaking.
Abhinandan emphasises the effectiveness of term limits as a democratic safeguard as Mehraj argues that this should apply across the board to all levels of leadership.
The panel also talk about the aftermath of Cyclone Tauktae and the sinking of barge P305 off Mumbai’s coast, leaving 51 of the 261 people on board dead and 24 missing.
On Arvind Kejriwal claiming that there was a “Singapore variant” of the novel coronavirus and causing a diplomatic incident in the process, Raman says as an elected leader he should have been careful about what he was saying. "If he had doubts he should not have put this out in public like that.”
The conversation also spans Tamil Nadu finance minister PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan’s statement about the allegedly illegal dealings of Jaggi Vasudev and his Isha Foundation, the Central Vista project, and the fake Covid relief toolkit.
Text by Ritika Chauhan.
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