Off The Record

Off The Record

Congress under siege

After a man posing as a journalist brandished a shoe at Congress spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi, the party has asked Seva Dal workers to be present in the briefing room at AICC headquarter during all press conferences and remain vigilant. Given that journalists have uninterrupted access to the briefing hall, only watchful eyes can help.

Immediately after the incident, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said he was sure Dwivedi’s assailant was sent by the BJP and the RSS. Singh made this statement in the presence of Dwivedi. When asked by reporters whether it was an official statement, Singh, jokingly said “yes” and asked mediapersons to write whatever they wanted to as there was no gag order on him.

But the situation became a little uncomfortable for Singh who is often employed by the party high command to issue gag orders on leaders falling out of line, which the Congress general secretary has violated in the past.
Khalid Akhter, New Delhi

Traffic blues

British High Commissioner in India Dickie Stagg got a taste of worsening traffic system in Patna when he visited the State Capital to assess the different welfare schemes like sanitation, education, potable water and vaccination.

The British Government, through the Department for International Development (DFID), has provided a grant of Rs 1000 crore to Bihar to develop supply lines for drinking water, improve sanitation and nutrition.

The British High Commissioner’s visit was to assess the ground realities. With this backdrop, he left for rural areas on the outskirts of Patna. He interacted with Musahar community (poorest among Dalits), saw their living condition and gathered other informations related to them.

While returning, Stagg got stuck up in a traffic jam near Danapur bus stand for 25 minutes, a snarl caused by the illegally parked auto-rickshaws and commercial vehicles. An amused Stagg and his entourage, meanwhile, remained static.

The jam was cleared when senior police officers were pressed into service. While one can understand what impression Stagg had about the place, but the State police headquarters has taken the incident seriously and asked the Patna SP to submit a report detailing why police officials were not monitoring the VIP movement.
Abhay Kumar, Patna

Under a green cover

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had left no stone unturned to propogate his government’s intent on conserving the state’s forest reserves and the willingness to increase it when he spoke at an event on the World Environment Day recently.

From providing farmers sapplings of sandalwood trees to accusing forest officials of being dishonest, he had also read out a list of programmes initiated by his government to keep intact the forest cover.

What he forgot was, however, to direct the organisers –– also government agencies  –– not to waste precious paper made out of trees more precious on printing information most people in the hall dumped outside.

Although most people present in the hall appeared “keen on saving the environment,” they were not interested in literature on the issue.  There were at least five books of about 150-pages each distributed to the audience besides pamplets. Yeddyurappa’s speech copy ran into at least four sheets.

And if he thought there was no alternative, all he had to do was consult one of his earlier “speech copies” on e-governance and technology.
Chethan Kumar, Bangalore

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