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Maya and the stars

Published : Jul 25, 2016, 11:00 am IST
Updated : Jul 25, 2016, 11:00 am IST

Everything that Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati does these days seems to backfire.

Everything that Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati does these days seems to backfire.

When she asked her leaders to contribute to the party funds, it led to a near-revolt in the party, with two senior leaders, Swami Prasad Maurya and R.K. Chaudhary, quitting and accusing her of extortion. The allegations stuck mainly because both leaders happened were veterans and associated with late Kanshi Ram.

Recently, the BSP candidate from Budhana in Muzaffarnagar, Mohammad Arif, went missing from Meerut. The police launched a massive operation to trace him, but the BSP leader returned home on his own five days later. Ms Mayawati promptly expelled him from the party and Mr Arif promptly announced he was under severe depression and had left his home as he did not have money to contribute to the BSP fund. He also claimed a rival candidate had offered more money to Ms Mayawati and, therefore, his ticket was cancelled. The allegation has lent weight to earlier allegations.

Insiders in the BSP now feel that it is time for “Behenji” to consult an astrologer because something seems wrong with the stars. But “Behenji”, apparently, does not believe in astrology — not till the BSP has candidates lined up at its doorstep.

Taking the steam out with Elan Seething in anger for long against his erstwhile ally and Enemy No. 1 — the BJP — for persistently attacking him and his party on the “deplorable” condition of dalits and tribals in the state, Orissa chief minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik was looking for an opportune moment to strike back.

“Such derogatory remark against a national leader like Mayawati is against democratic norms. She is a former CM of Uttar Pradesh and a dalit leader who is respected at the national level. The remark against Mayawati shows the BJP’s anti-dalit stand,” Mr Patnaik said on Thursday, breaking his week-long silence over the BJP’s biting onslaught on the killing of five tribals in police firing in Kandhamal and the death of over 19 tribal infants at Nagada in Jajpur.

Mr Patnaik’s statement came just days after the BJP opened its tribal and dalit cards to corner the ruling BJD ahead of panchayat polls, alleging that these two communities were not safe in the hands of the BJD, forcing saffron party strategists to return to their war room to re-draw their assault plans and tactics.

Let’s be practical The recent attempt by the Haryana government to revive the mythical Saraswati river in Haryana has annoyed many geologists and experts. The Haryana government earlier announced `50 crores for the project and later started excavation work from Yamunanagar to find the water channel of the lost river. Recently, the government said that it would deal firmly with people found polluting the water channel.

Geologists say that the government should tell people whether the Saraswati flows to Allahabad as mythology suggests or it flows through Rajasthan and reaches Gujarat as was claimed by BJP leaders. The government should at least make it clear whether the river flows into the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea, as it can’t flow to both the places at the same time, experts quip.

Talk about action Concerned over media reports showing how the traffic and field staff of the Delhi police were repeatedly being targeted by miscreants while performing their duties, city police chief Alok Kumar Verma told his officers that they should not hold media briefings on such incidents. At a recent high-level meeting, the top cop told his men they should rather brief the media on the action taken against such miscreants. Commenting on the police chief’s latest diktats, a local journalist commented that next time the people would first come to know about the police action and later about the wrath faced by the men in khakhi. The media may now first carry follow-up reports and later come out with the gory details about the actual incident.

Lady with a microphone West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee did it again. An escort car in President Pranab Mukherjee’s convoy fell into a gorge in Darjeeling 10 days ago. All the six security personnel travelling in the car were rescued in an operation that was supervised by Ms Banerjee with a portable microphone in hand, which was arranged by local villagers. This was not the first time that she had taken charge in this manner.

In the early hours of a December 2011 morning a fire broke out at AMRI Hospital in South Kolkata. Unlike other chief ministers, Ms Banerjee rushed to the spot. Sitting on a plastic chair, with a microphone in hand, Ms Banerjee not only supervised rescue operations but also managed the crowd. She later camped outside the morgue in state-run SSKM Hospital giving orders to doctors to expedite the post-mortem, consoling grieving members of families and also arranging for transport for those who wanted to take bodies to the districts. More recently, when the Vivekananda Road flyover came crashing down, Ms Banerjee was campaigning for the Assembly elections in Jungle Mahal. She cancelled her meetings and rushed back to the city. She drove straight to the accident site and again micro-managed the rescue and relief operations.

Wiser after the Darjeeling incident, security officers who travel with her when she goes on district tours are planning to keep a powerful microphone in the bag.