Bhai turns neta
When gangster-turned-politician Brijesh Singh entered the hallowed portals of Vidhan Bhavan to take oath as a newly-elected member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council, heads were bound to turn.
Politicians, legislators, former MPs, ministers, journalists and the staff of the Vidhan Bhavan were falling over one another to catch a glimpse of the man who had eluded the police for several decades before finally being arrested in 2008 in Orissa.
Though aware of the attention he was garnering, Mr Singh maintained a composed look. He warded off queries from journalists rather politely and his men took over by clearing the way for him. However, he agreed to selfies and happily posed for all.
Mr Singh, who came with a heavy police bandobast, then spent hours in the Vidhan Bhavan canteen and the heavy tips that his wife doled out to the canteen staff became the talk of the town.
Tension, however, will escalate when the state legislature session resumes in April and Mr Singh is brought to attend the Vidhan Parishad. His arch rival Mukhtar Ansari is a member of the Vidhan Sabha and the two are bound to come face to face at some point of time.
Will the deadly underworld war unfold in the Vidhan Bhavan or not is a million dollar question.
‘Truant’ Teachers Students appearing in this year’s Class 10 and Class 12 board examinations in Chhattisgarh were in for a surprise as they received offers for free counselling from veteran leader Ajit Jogi and chief minister Raman Singh.
Mr Jogi started the trend of a politician turning students’ counsellor when he volunteered to help students shed their anxiety just a couple of days before the board examinations.
He launched a programme “Pariksha ki baat, Jogi ke saath” recently while exhorting the students to call him in the afternoon to discuss their exam-related problems. On the first day itself, it is believed that Mr Jogi received calls from more than 100 students eliciting his suggestions to overcome their exam anxiety.
However, Mr Jogi was found to be extremely busy attending his political schedules.
Chief minister Singh grabbed this opportunity and encouraged the students to call him on his landline phone in the afternoon every day for counselling.
But the ongoing Budget Session of the Chhattisgarh Assembly kept him busy. Now, rivals of both Mr Jogi and Mr Singh have started calling them “truant teachers” for not being able to counsel the students.
Shooting with words When it comes to taking on the opponents, Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan is never seen shouting. Rather, the intelligent, soft-spoken master communicator — who loves to use statistics, instances and evidences to prove his point — ensures that the rivals bleed to the last drop.
While reacting on Saturday to the claim of the ruling Biju Janata Dal that the Budget 2016-17 presented by it in the Orissa Assembly was a progressive one because of its pro-farmer and people-centric character,
Mr Harichandan listed out how there had been very “trivial” allocations for agriculture, education, health and family welfare.
“While the higher education department has got 2.28 per cent, agriculture department have been provided a mere Rs 3438.91 crore. Similarly, the all-important water resources department has got only 7.54 per cent of the total budgetary allocation of Rs 94,052 crore. The government has proposed to borrow Rs 7,979 crore to fund its plan outlay. If this is called a progressive budget, people will evaluate the government’s wisdom This is actually not a progressive budget, rather a regressive one,” said Mr Harichandan.
Now this is called killing the opponent softly.
Hacking woes Social media has become an inseparable tool for any politician as part of his/her effort to connect with the common man. Almost every politician these days maintains a presence on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
However, it could spell trouble as well. While there is a constant battle to deal with abusers and trolls, such accounts are also under constant attack from hackers.
Former Bihar chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal strongman Lalu Prasad Yadav faced some inconvenience last week as his Facebook account was reportedly hacked. Though a complaint regarding this was filed with the law enforcement authorities, it wasn’t before some unwarranted comments were posted regarding various political figures by the alleged hackers.
Every drop counts During the launch of online operations of foodgrain management in Food Corporation of India (FCI), food secretary Vrinda Sarup gave an example by displaying how precious water is.
The sealed mineral water bottles, which are kept before dignitaries on the dais are normally left unused. However, during this particular event, when the vendor tried to take away the unused bottles, Ms Sarup asked him to return her unfinished water bottle.
Seeing this, someone in the crowd quipped, “Food management is in safe hands now. She is so conscious of not wasting water that I am sure she will not allow rice and wheat to rot.” Is Ms Sarup listening
A troublesome makeover After years of deliberations on whether or not to let go of its trademark khaki shorts, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh finally decided to “change with time” and opted for brown trousers.
However, the RSS functionaries apparently forgot to inform the tailoring unit that they had given the order for the khaki shorts.
It so happened that a “tempo carrier” loaded with khaki shorts reached the RSS headquarters a day after the Sangh Parivar fountainhead announced in its Nagpur conclave about the change in its dress code. The “order” was of the standard 32, 36, 38 and 40 sizes. A senior RSS functionary jokingly said: “Now that we have changed our ganvesh, we should perhaps ask the national archives to showcase our legacy (khaki shorts).”
Cocktail hangover It was a mysterious “cocktail party” organised at a sprawling Indian Air Force base near the capital last year, mention of which made it to Parliament recently. So much so that none other than the defence minister Manohar Parrikar had to give a written reply clarifying on the event after an MP raised a question.
But what amused many journalists was the government’s statement before Parliament that it was an annual event for local mediapersons prior to Air Force Day (October 8).
“A complaint about a cocktail party hosted at Air Force Station, Hindon, in September, 2015 was received. As per investigations carried out by the Indian Air Force, it is an annual event conducted every year for local mediapersons prior to Air Force Day (October 8). This year the event was organised on September 16, 2015. All laid down policies on security were adhered to. No expenditure was incurred from the exchequer,” stated Mr Parrikar in a written reply to a question raised by Rajya Sabha member Naznin Faruque.
But Mr Parrikar’s answer raised another question about who had complained and what the controversy was about. The mystery remains unsolved.