Off the record

Off the record

Of tantra and mantra

Pushed to the margins in Bihar which it ruled for decades, the Congress is gasping for breath. In its bid to infuse a new lease of life in its moribund leaders, the party recently organised a nirman rally (resurrection meet) in Patna.

The star attraction of the convention was newly-appointed Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Raj Babbar, who dwelt at length how the grand old party had shown no mercy towards those found involved in corruption - be it Natwar Singh, Ashok Chavan or Suresh Kalmadi.

Drawing a parallel with Nargis in the Bollywood blockbuster Mother India in which she guns down her son (Sunil Dutt) when he goes astray, Babbar said the Congress high command too acted in a similar way when corruption-related cases were brought to its notice.

In an apparent reference to Suresh Kalmadi and A Raja, Babbar said the Congress-led UPA Government made a Cabinet minister quit before forwarding him to jail. “This is in sharp contrast to the BJP and the JD(U) which never took any action against Bangaru Laxman, Dilip Singh Judeo or Jaya Jailtey, even though they were caught on camera while accepting bribe,” he said, amid thunderous applause.

Before leaving, the actor-turned-MP from UP cautioned the Congress workers to beware of tantra [read Nitish’s JD(U) which controls Bihar’s bureaucrats] and the mantra (read BJP, which spreads rumour about Congress-RJD poll tie-up).

Abhay Kumar, Patna  

Pawar of blast

There is hardly any need to emphasise that the Mumbai blasts have been powerful enough to affect our national security. But it would be interesting to note that it has had some political effects too.

Obviously, the political victim of the blast seems to be none other than Maratha stalwart Sharad Pawar.

The attempt by Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to shift the blame of not  being able to prevent the terror attack cannot be straightway directed against the Union agriculture minister.

But there should not be any doubt that Pawar was Chavan’s intended.  After all, if anyone says that allocating the home and finance portfolios to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was a mistake, it is undoubtedly an attack on the Maratha leader, who had worked hard on deciding distribution of portfolios between the NCP and the Congress.
Pawar supporters rightly understood Chavan’s intention and they wanted to react accordingly. But to their utter disappointment, they found their leader going soft as the NCP leadership underplayed the attack.

Citing the example of Pawar’s efficient handling of the 1993.blasts, they also complain that the Central government did not involve him properly in handling the situation. However, the experienced Pawar seems to be aware of the power of the blast and his diminishing political power. So he has preferred to lie low.

Anil Sinha, New Delhi

A portal on the 2G scam

Scams also seem to have pedigree. Far from the financial scandals of the past, the 2G spectrum allocation scam has not only grabbed headlines but now takes the honour of being named as a website.

Details of the sordid sale of spectrum by DMK’s A Raja and the monetary benefits that the Tamil Nadu party’s supremo, M Karunanaidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi allegedly received have been put up on

The details of several telecom and other companies that were beneficiaries of the scam have also been featuredi on the website.

The website owners, who remain unidentified, have vowed to reveal facts that continue to remain classified and unmask the real culprits.

The portal points out how the 2G scam has become a “2G sham” and alleges that the actions of the CBI were means to “protect the big guys and close the matter by making some people scapegoats”.

The website’s main source of information are journalists who fail to have their stories published in their respective newspapers.

Ashish Tripathi, New Delhi

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