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UP caught in political heat wave

Published : Jul 18, 2016, 6:53 am IST
Updated : Jul 18, 2016, 6:53 am IST

BABBAR IS ‘CASTE AWAY’

raj babbar.jpg
 raj babbar.jpg

BABBAR IS ‘CASTE AWAY’ Congress leaders in Uttar Pradesh have started doing what they are best at — pulling down their own leaders. Within hours of the announcement that actor-turned-MP Raj Babbar had been appointed UP Congress president, disgruntled elements started calling their “contacts” in the media to give crucial inputs about the star politician.

The Congressmen, however, were at their wits’ end trying to figure out the caste to which the new UPCC president belongs and even called up their Mumbai friends to get fresh ammunition that could be used against Mr Babbar. Some channels harped about his being a non-brahmin and suggested the Congress should have named a brahmin as party chief, but the issue petered out as Wikipedia says he belongs to a “Viswabrahmin” family. When they could not find any worthwhile controversy to nail him down, they used his stint in the Samajwadi Party.

A veteran party leader who is now semi-retired remarked, “This is what has brought the Congress down. Instead of using Babbar’s star power to relaunch the party, we are busy pulling him down. Babbar should recognise such elements before he arrives here.”

Mr Babbar, sources said, was very well aware of politicking in the party and even prepared to face it — caste or no caste.

In Punjab, a war is on Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann were recently targeting each other in Punjab. Mr Singh described Mr Mann as a “drunkard”, a person who even comes to Parliament smelling of liquor, and said, “Representatives like Bhagwant Mann are maligning the image of Punjab.”

Attacking Mr Singh, Mr Mann claimed that the Punjab PCC chief was acting like Aamir Khan’s “Ghajini” on the issue of his family’s accounts in foreign banks. He said his (Mr Singh’s) denying having knowledge of the Swiss bank accounts of his family looked like as if he is suffering from selective memory loss.When politicians fight, it is the public that has the last laugh.

REMEMBERING RAJENDRA KUMAR It was chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s former principal secretary Rajendra Kumar’s court hearing in a `50-crore scam that brought back memories of legendary Bollywood actor Rajendra Kumar Tuli in Delhi circles on his death anniversary on July 12. While putting up a story on the bureaucrat’s case going on in the Patiala House courts, a Hindi news e-portal used the picture of the actor on its website. That was enough for the veteran actor’s fans to start a debate not only on the state of Bollywood movies but also on the casual approach of the news-hungry mediapersons to put anything or everything in the “breaking news” format to catch more eyeballs. Though many fans would have forgotten his death anniversary, the news report went viral with many ending up paying tribute to the legendary actor. Before the news item was removed by the e-portal, there were many in media circles who had got involved in discussing the classic roles played by the actor in his career spanning for decades.

JAVADEKAR’S ‘SWEET’ GESTURE Prakash Javadekar, who was elevated by the Prime Minister to the Union Cabinet and given the HRD ministry, decided to celebrate his elevation in a unique way. While attending his first Cabinet meeting last week, the minister sent out boxes of sweets to mediapersons who were waiting outside South Block, where the meeting was on. The “sweet” gesture took everyone by surprise.

UNENDING CONTROVERSIES The problems for film actress-turned-lawmaker Angoorlata Deka seem to be far from over. A young BJP MLA, Ms Deka, who won from Assam’s Batadroba constituency, had to face sexist remarks from Ram Gopal Varma on sleazy and morphed photographs that went viral in the social media soon after the election. As the controversy was settling down, Ms Deka’s name has now been dragged into a fresh controversy. A Twitter account in the name of Ms Deka tweeted: “Shame on Hindus for wasting huge amount of money on Khan (Salman Khan) movies... fools use this money on Ram Mandir instead.”

A Twitter account, bearing Ms Deka’s photo, was apparently opened in May 2016. It says it is the “unofficial account of the most beautiful MLA of the BJP”. It has over 2,000 followers. Bogged down by the controversy, Ms Deka approached the police. “I cannot even think of such comments. I am from the film fraternity. Ever since I became an MLA, the social media is after me. I am being repeatedly targeted,” she said.

The young actor joined the BJP in 2015. She was one of the six women candidates fielded by the party in Assam, and one of the two who won.

HIT THE BOTTLE, BE HAPPY Three-time Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan is on a mission of his life. He is in search of ways to ensure “true” happiness in his state. He, it seems, firmly believes that basic needs such as “roti, kapada aur makaan (food, cloth and shelter)” alone cannot bring happiness to people. True joy cannot be bartered with even material prosperity.

He constituted a “joy department”, first of its kind in India, to discover ways to ensure eternal happiness in MP.

An 11-member advisory body comprising spiritual luminaries of India such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Baba Ramdev have been mooted to guide the newly-created department in research work. An erudite minister in his Cabinet, however, has another idea. “Let the new department function under excise department,” state forest minister Gauri Shankar quipped, indicating, of course in lighter vein, to encourage people to turn tipplers with government patronage.

The Congress however pulled up the chief minister for saying basic needs alone cannot ensure happiness for people. “If the chief minister seriously thinks ‘roti, kapada aur makaan’ cannot ensure happiness in common people of the state, where 44.3 per cent of population lives below the poverty line, then he should seriously consider the minister’s suggestion. This way, the state’s coffers will swell and people will also forget their hardships by hitting the bottle. And joy and happiness will rule across the state,” state Congress spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi said sarcastically.

Ray turns philosophical Former Union minister and BJP leader Dilip Ray, who had good relations with the leaders of all major political parties, has turned quite philosophical these days.

Mr Ray held the key coal portfolio and also handled the steel ministry for a brief period in the Vajpayee government, and went into political hibernation after 2008, but resurfaced in the 2014 Assembly elections. He got elected from Rourkela and is now an ordinary MLA.

With not much work in hand, the lawmaker is now concentrating more on the affairs of his constituency and devoting the remaining time on Facebook. In a recent post, he wrote: “Life is a journey. If you got everything you wanted all at once, there would be no point of living. Enjoy the ride, and in the end you’ll see these ‘setbacks’ as giant leaps forward... all you have to do is show up every day, stay true to your path and you will surely find the treasure you seek.”

In another post, he wrote: “Keep on moving... Only connect! The more connections we make, not just between ourselves, but between our minds, our hearts and our souls, the more we will strengthen the bond of our relationship...”

His followers are wondering why the politician had suddenly shrugged off his mundane desires and turned spiritual as well as philosophical.