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Fierce Smriti, polite Maya

Published : Mar 6, 2016, 11:12 pm IST
Updated : Mar 6, 2016, 11:12 pm IST

A scary thought

Siddikur Rahman
 Siddikur Rahman

A scary thought

Union minister of human resources development Smriti Irani’s fiery speech in Parliament may have won her some accolades, but her tone and temper have led to a fear psychosis and anxiety among Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs in Uttar Pradesh.

After her apparently riveting performance in Parliament, a section of the media has been promoting

Ms Irani as the probable chief ministerial candidate for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections next year, which has left the BJP MLAs scared.

“After seeing her temper and expression on TV, I even dread the idea of working under her. If she is a chief ministerial candidate of the party, I would rather not contest at all,” said a senior BJP MLA from eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Another BJP legislator walked up to the press gallery in the state Vidhan Sabha a day after Ms Irani exploded in the Lok Sabha and told mediapersons, “You all better beware. If she comes to Uttar Pradesh, you will have to run for cover.”

Yet another BJP MLA remarked, “After watching

Ms Irani in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Mayawati seems to be a perfectly polite lady... To think we have been wary of Behenji’s temper all these years.”

Ms Irani’s speech has surely made an impact in Uttar Pradesh and all parties are now waiting for the next act to unfold.

Statistics too lie Defence minister Manohar Parrikar always illustrates his point of view with examples, some very unique ones at that. Recently, Mr Parrikar was speaking about the importance of defence statistics in the Budget when he decided to give an example of what should be a correct understanding of statistics.

He referred to some erroneous reports in a section of the media that had alleged that he had attended only 58.3 per cent Cabinet meetings so far.

Mr Parrikar pointed out that he had joined the Cabinet six months late. Therefore, about 24 Cabinet meetings had already taken place before he became a Union minister — something that was not factored in by erroneous media reports.

Mr Parrikar was making the point that sometimes statistics do not tell the whole story and that it was important to understand the context. So statistics can lie!

Internet, the troublemaker Celebrities use social media to their advantage, using its reach to connect with their fans and masses in general. However, sometimes, it also creates misinformation. This week, the biggest Indian celebrity on social media, Amitabh Bachchan, faced the brunt of this.

Micro-blogging site Twitter and instant messaging app WhatsApp were flooded with messages of the Bollywood superstar’s death. Several morphed pictures with messages were also circulated on social media causing some anxiety to Bachchan fans. However, everyone was relieved after these messages and photographs proved to be a hoax. Poor Mr Bachchan!

Teaching a lesson to rivals Damodar Rout, Biju Janata Dal vice-president and Orissa cooperation and excise minister, is not a man to be threatened by anyone — not even by his party chief Naveen Patnaik.

When the BJD decided to celebrate the birth centenary of legendary leader and Mr Patnaik’s father Biju Patnaik in a grand way in Bhubaneswar, the veteran leader — who now feels sidelined in the party’s organisational affairs — wanted to teach a lesson to his rivals in the party by declaring that he would observe the centenary celebration at Paradip.

Many expected that Dr Rout would face disciplinary action for differing with the party. However, Dr Rout knew that Mr Naveen Patnaik won’t be able to take any action against him as he was holding the function to pay homage to his father and any action against him would boomerang.

Dr Rout invited Mr Patnaik to attend his function, knowing well that the latter would never attend it. Going a step forward, he even invited the former colleagues of Biju Patnaik who were either expelled or not properly treated by Mr Naveen Patnaik.

It so happened that when Mr Naveen Patnaik was addressing Biju Patnaik’s centenary celebration at Baramunda, Bhubaneswar, along with junior leaders of the party, Dr Rout was sharing dais with veterans at Paradip. The media, despite getting huge advertisements from the BJD, did not discriminate in giving due coverage to Dr Rout’s event.

An ingenuous query Known for suggesting several innovative ideas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while delivering a speech in the Lok Sabha in response to the discussion on motion of thanks to the President’s address, wondered if it could be possible that on March 8 (International Women’s Day) only women MPs be allowed to speak during the day’s legislative business in both the Houses of Parliament.

While several women MPs welcomed the suggestion by thumping the benches, Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann sought to know from the Speaker what would happen to several small parties like his, where there are no women MPs. The entire House burst out into peals of laughter on his “innocent” query.

Midnight jokes Indian politicians have a tough life. Despite the millions they may make, the poor fellows just can’t stop sacrificing their lives for public good. Which is why they must find ways to unwind every once in a while. Some resort to resorts, others to foreign destinations, a rare few take to reading. But apparently, Congress politician Janardhan Poojary is unusual.

As the workaholic Congress Party chief in Karnataka, he started his day at 8 am going on into the early hours of the next day, according to his long-time party colleague Ashok Pattan. Mr Pattan, now an MLA, was then secretary of the Pradesh Congress Committee and known as a man with a funny bone. He would regale his friends for hours with his jokes.

One night, Mr Pattan recalled, he woke up startled by a call from the Congress office in the dead of night. Mr Poojary wanted to see him urgently.

Mr Pattan looked at the watch and it was 2 am. He wondered what crisis had befallen the party When Mr Pattan reached the office, a haggard Mr Poojary came straight to the point. “Ashok, I am very tired, please share some jokes. I will feel refreshed.”

After being in splits for an hour, Mr Poojary splashed some water on his face, turned to Mr Pattan and said in all seriousness, “Now, I am feeling good, you may go.” Wonder what kind of jokes they were!

Mamata jatras When she came to power in West Bengal in May 2011, Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s dramatic achievement spawned a string of jatras (folk theatre). Even before she could occupy the chief minister’s chair at Writers’ Building, scripts were being written on Didi’s life.

Several dramas with titles like Banglar Masnade Mamata (Mamata on Bengal’s Throne), Mahasangrame Joyee Mamata (Mamata Triumphs in Great Battle), Swapner Netri Mamata (Dream Leader Mamata) were written to be launched during Durga Puja in 2011 in various districts of the state.

One woman made the most of this craze for Didi-centric jatras. Although she did not have a face that exactly resembled that of Ms Banerjee’s, stage actress Ruma Chakraborty, when dressed in her trademark blue or green-bordered cotton sari with a jhola hanging from her shoulder and striding in hawai chappals, could easily pass of as poor man’s Didi.

That was in 2011. Five years later, at a time when Ms Banerjee is preparing to seek a fresh mandate from the people, Ms Chakraborty is also anxiously waiting for the release of a film titled Baghini (The Tigress). While not exactly a biopic, the movie is heavily inspired by Ms Banerjee’s life and political struggle. Needless to say, Ms Chakraborty is basking in Didi’s reflected glory and enjoying the public attention.

BJP’s self-goal The popularity of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar is skyrocketing so much so that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal may be getting insecure.

While the comparison may be called preposterous to say the least, given that we are talking about a “student” in a university, some may choose to disagree after the Left parties have already made him campaign partner in the crucial Assembly polls in West Bengal.

Mr Kumar’s stint in Tihar Jail has actually made him a hero. “It only brings back memories of the Kejriwal days of fasting on the roads in Delhi,” a politician said. With news channels flashing exclusives and first interviews with Mr Kumar after he came out on interim bail — surely a name one hadn’t heard of a few months back — has become a household name today. And the credit for this goes to the Centre, which mishandled the issue.