Off The Record

Off The Record

‘Shotgun’ Sinha in new avatar

He is known for his booming voice, wit and repartee. The irrepressible Shatrughan Sinha will now entertain viewers by donning the mantle of a host for the TV game show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) — albeit in the Bhojpuri language.

Not one to mince words —  be it his rivalry with Amitabh Bachchan, who incidentally made the KBC game format a household name, or his intra-party tugs-of-war with the BJP leadership — ‘Shotgun’ Sinha’s performance in his new avatar will be keenly watched.

The film star-turned-politician is likely to begin shooting for the Bhojpuri version of the KBC in May and the show is likely to continue over the next one year. Sinha is said to have plumped for the show given Bhojpuri’s  wide reach in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and even beyond.

The language is said to be quite popular among the diaspora in countries like Guyana, Mauritius, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago. The moot question is whether Sinha can manage TRPs anywhere near the highs achieved by the original show hosted by Bachchan. One thing is sure, not many will be able to ignore Sinha when he booms in his deep baritone, “lock kiya jaye’.
Abhay Kumar, Patna

Ministers survive fury

If the common man across the country had reasons to celebrate the victory of Anna Hazare on the issue of Lokpal bill, some members of the ruling establishment have also heaved a sigh of relief after the anti-corruption crusader ended his fast.

At leat two ministers in the UPA government, Sharad Pawar and Kapil Sibal, came under the scanner of protesters who questioned their presence on the Group of Ministers on corruption. There were demands for their resignation from the Union cabinet. Anna objected to Pawar’s presence on the ground of corruption and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal targeted Kapil Sibal for his reported statement on the 2G spectrum allocation that it caused zero loss to the government exchequer.

While Pawar quit the GoM, Sibal not only survived the attack, but also gained considerable limelight for negotiating a settlement between Hazare and the government. Pawar managed to save his ministerial post, but had to accept further  erosion in his credibility as a politician. The NCP workers appear to be upset at the outcome of the fast. For the moment though, Pawar can breathe easy and train his eyes on his obvious stress-buster, cricket.
Anil Sinha, New Delhi

Mamata wants Avijit to win

Besides campaigning for her party candidates, Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee has taken upon herself the additional task of ensuring victory of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s son Avijit.

Nalhati assembly constituency, where Avijit is making his electoral debut, is dubbed as one of the key constituencies in the ongoing Assembly polls in West Bengal. Many top Congress leaders are routinely landing there to campaign for him.

While Congress president Sonia has agreed to address a rally in the constituency, Mamata Banerjee too announced her participation in the event. Fearing that several of her party’s local leaders were working against Avijit, TMC supremo has instructed her cadres to ensure the victory of Avijit and threatened action against those who were opposing him.

When local leaders protested against Avijit candidature, it was Mamata who intervened and convinced the party leaders and gave the seat to Congress to field its candidate. She also reportedly told her partymen that victory of Avijit was a matter of prestige for her.  Didi knows chemistry of politics very well and realizes if Congress and TMC coalition is voted to power, she would desperately need Pranab Dada's help as he will be the key leader in decision making during the formation of the coalition government.
Ajith Athrady, New Delhi

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