Off the record

Congress lip service

Sycophancy in Congress knows no bounds. To appease the first family of the 125-year-old party, even senior leaders are willing to go to any extent. In one such case, AICC spokesperson Mohan Prakash compared Congress heir apparent Rahul Gandhi with Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan. The parallel was drawn after Rahul started making whirlwind tour of Bihar in the hope of infusing a new lease of life in the moribund organisation.

But lo and behold, no sooner than Mohan made his statement public, the original followers of JP (as late Jayaprakash Narayan was fondly known) took umbrage over the unnecessary comparison.  One of JP’s protégés Sushil Kumar Modi, who is Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister, minced no words in slamming Mohan Prakash and said, “By comparing a new comer Rahul with veteran JP, Mohan has made himself a laughing stock. But then, it’s an old habit in the Congress to indulge in adulation. All of us know how Deokant Barua had proclaimed: India is Indira and Indira is India”.

Taking another dig at the Congress, Modi said, “What else can one expect from the party which released its manifesto two days after the first phase of election was over.”

Abhay Kumar, Patna 

Downwardly mobile

The Arya Vysyas constitute a strong community by way of their economic stability.
A community which thrives on successful businesses and entreprunership, the Arya Vysyas have always been a major force to reckon with when it came to determining political fortunes.  With some noted politicians as members, the Arya Vysyas have had a fair representation in southern India’s politics.

With such a strong background, it may have come as surprise for the community and outsiders at an event on Monday when their leader, C Narasimhan, asked the Centre to declare Arya Vysyas as a economically backward section of society.

Speaking at an event marking the felicitation of Andhra Pradesh chief minister K Rosaiah, Narasimhan placed before the Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily the communitiy’s plea to ensure that they get more sops.

“With a representation of 12 crore, Sir, we are a minority community across the country. We request the Centre to consider our lacking status in education and grant us the tag of being educationally backward. And if possible, an economically backward section status too...” Narasimhan said. So what is the political-economy of getting the status of a backward class?

Sandeep Moudgal, Bangalore


Puff to prevent climate change

What is leading climate economist Lord Professor Nicholas Stern's advice to stop the ravages of climate change? Supply free cigarettes to the population! Stern, who was lecturing on climate change at Bangalore’s Indian Institute of Science on Saturday, was replying to a question on the pressure of population growth on climate change. Stern quipped that economists tended to look at slowing down population growth by reducing the birth rate. 

"But there's another way to stop population growth", he said teasingly. "Population can be reduced also by increasing the death rate", he said. To the laughing audience, he added, "And that's why one of my major policy recommendations is to supply free cigarettes to those over 50".

Shamsher Yousuf, Bangalore

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