Off the record

Off the record

Gates’ bonanza for Bihar

Microsoft founder Bill Gates was in Bihar for the second time in less than a year. The State is on the radar of the billionaire as he has opened ‘Windows’ for philanthropy in the field of health.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been supporting an initiative which seeks to provide innovative solutions to health and development of Bihar’s families. The Foundation has already offered $80 million, and will continue the aid till 2015.

To get a first-hand information about how the non-governmental organisation (NGO) was working, Gates, flanked with his wife Melinda, visited a nondescript village in Danapur near Patna. Braving the scorching sun, the world’s richest person walked on foot at different places and interacted with villagers. Sitting on the ground under the shade of a Neem tree, the Gates couple even held a baby in their lap, which deeply impressed the villagers. “Though he is a billionaire, but he remains firmly rooted to the ground,” said an official accompanying him.

After enjoying the warm hospitality of the village folks, the couple also met Nitish and sang paeans to the JD(U) strongman for initiating efforts to infuse a new lease of life in the ailing Bihar. “This is my second visit to the state. And I will continue to come over here as I am very much impressed with the way Bihar government is working in the health sector,” said Gates before winding up his sojourn.

Abhay Kumar, Patna  

A permanent beat

As crisis-ridden Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa shuttles between Bangalore and New Delhi, the police topbrass in the Karnataka capital has decided to permanently post an officer in the national capital. The objective appears to be two-fold: man the chief minister’s security in Delhi and provide political intelligence to the administration back in Bangalore. Earlier, when ever hectic political activity relating to Karnataka took place in Delhi, a few officers would rush to the national capital to report on the developments there. With political activity in Delhi having become more regular, the state administration in Karnataka has found it more convenient to have post an officer at Karnataka Bhavan.

A senior police officer there have been several instances when the state intelligence establishment had to rely on television news channels. Now, with the latest arrangement, the topbrass will have a regular flow of first-hand information.

Ajith Athrady, New Delhi

Political flunkeys

Why does a politician take a bunch of his/her ‘faithful’ supporters along wherever he/she goes? A casual observer may see it as an attempt to have ‘psychological’ subsistence but the actual task of such supporters is to do things which their leader can’t do openly -- raise slogans and condemn any injustice to their ‘beloved’ boss.  Last Thursday, supporters of a corporator, who was invited to the silver jubilee celebrations of the Government First Grade College, Vijayanagar, came more than handy to their leader when the function was wrapped up without giving him a chance to air his ‘noble thoughts’?

Infuriated supporters began protesting against this ‘injustice’ as soon as the function ended. “Don’t you have any respect for a corporator?” one of them fumed at the compère.

The leader, however, played down the ‘snub’ and asked his supporters to calm down. Before the matter could slip out of hand, the organisers tried to pacify the supporters by apologising to the Corporator and offering him a chance to speak. But the supporters did not budge. “The arrow has left the bow. Your mistake cannot be rectified,” they said and left the place.

Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui, Bangalore