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No power, no problem

Published : Sep 19, 2016, 4:46 am IST
Updated : Sep 19, 2016, 4:46 am IST

A briefing by Union human resources development minister Prakash Javadekar last week was affected twice by a short power disruption.

RD.jpg
 RD.jpg

A briefing by Union human resources development minister Prakash Javadekar last week was affected twice by a short power disruption. The minister was immediately distracted from the important topic of the presser. The topic of discussion between the journalists and Mr Javadekar immediately changed to power outages in the national capital. Though some insinuations were made about the ongoing power cuts linking it to the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, some in the media pointed the finger at New Delhi Municipal Council. As the NDMC works under the direct control of Centre, the minister didn’t press the matter further and continued with his briefing.

A sari affair Bollywood actor Vidya Balan’s saris have always made a style statement but in a politically volatile state like Uttar Pradesh, her sari has set off a major row. Vidya, a week ago, was appointed as brand ambassador for the Samajwadi Pension Scheme launched earlier by the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh. In an advertisement for the scheme, the actor is shown wearing a red and green sari, which are also the official colours of the SP. The Opposition parties are now up in arms against the advertisement and claim that the Akhilesh government is discreetly advertising his party through government funds. If sources are to be believed, some Opposition parties are preparing to take up the matter with the Election Commission and demand a ban on the advertisements. Earlier, the Congress and BJP had asked the EC to take note of Mr Akhilesh Yadav’s announcement of giving smartphones if re-elected to power.

Didi’s passionate pursuit When on Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s invitation Tata Motors tried to set up a plant in Singur to manufacture what was then touted as world’s cheapest car, the Left Front chief minister thought he was getting his name registered in the hall of fame. Deviating from Marxit ideology, Mr Bhattacharjee started courting captialists, sacrificing the interests of the workers and farmers. In 2006, after he led the Left Front to a massive victory, Mr Bhattacharjee went on an industrial overdrive. For some reason, he was fascinated, in fact, obsessed with the automobile industry. It was for this reason that he bent over backwards in his pursuit of the Nano project. He forcibly acquired multiple-crop highly fertile land from farmers who had repeatedly refused to part with their land. It is not a well-known fact that after bagging the cheapest car manufacturing project, he had also courted one of the most expensive global car manufacturers. He had sent a delegation led by then state industry minister Nirupam Sen to BMW’s plant in Munich in 2008. BMW did not respond to Mr Bhattacharjee’s overtures and he eventually lost Nano too.

The Singur fiasco and the Nandigram mayhem led to his exit from power. In fact, after the Supreme Court struck down acquisition of Singur land declaring it illegal, it has become clear that Mr Bhattacharjee’s twin blunders sounded the death knell for the CPI(M) and Left parties in West Bengal. He himself is fast fading from public memory. Mamata Banerjee’s passionate pursuit of the automobile industry after returning to power seems profoundly ironical. Recently, she personally went to Munich to woo BMW. Nearer home, after taking back 1,000 acres from them in Singur, she has offered 1,000 acres to the Tatas at Goaltore.

A thumb rule for transfers A lot of state governments’ energies are wasted in transfers and adjustments of their employees. It is a common practice that employees who get transferred are found chasing politicians and senior officers for their adjustments. Recently, in the Haryana secretariat, an economics teacher who was under transfer came for its cancellation and was lobbying in the secretariat.

As the teacher went to meet one of the senior officers of his department and sought the cancellation of his transfer, the senior officer agreed to his demand on one condition: he must tell him the definition of “inflation”. On hearing this condition, the teacher took a hasty retreat and did not press for its cancellation. The officials were later heard joking that the state government should follow this method as a thumb rule in the transfer policy for its employees.

Crushed to the core Never did senior Biju Janata Dal leader and Orissa agriculture minister Pradeep Kumar Maharathy imagine that people in the state no longer considered him as a muscleman. Rather, they have found him a vulnerable target who can be attacked anywhere and anytime with impunity. Frustrated with the recurrent egg-pelting at his ministerial colleagues by members of the Opposition parties, the minister had recently thrown a challenge to the Congress and BJP activists to attack his convoy during his visit to western Orissa. Mr Maharathy did not know that his unsavoury remark was too hard to be digested by his rivals.

When he visited Balangir on Tuesday evening, the BJP members pelted rotten eggs at his vehicle. The scene was repeated the next morning too. Crushed to the core, the BJD muscleman has now realised his mistake and immediately returned to the state capital ostensibly to avoid more embarrassment.