Off the record

Encashing recession

Look who is smiling in times of the economic recession.

The Kerala state department of lotteries, of course.

Even as most other businesses under the sun are on the wane, the department’s profits have steadily risen with the sales recording an all-time high of Rs 484 crore during 2008-09.

Apparently, the dominant theory is that more people are now prepared to try their luck on lotteries by shelling out even Rs 100 a ticket as in the case of the latest offering — the Onam Bumper.

The Onam Bumper set for draw on Sept 15 has Rs 2 crore in cash and 200 sovereigns of gold fixed as the top prize. Its sales have already crossed 3.5 lakh tickets, around four times higher than the first week sales of any lottery in the preceding years.

It is believed that the desperate buyers include a large chunk of non-resident Keralites who have returned jobless in the last one year mostly from the Gulf countries.
Enthused by the ‘welcome’  turn of events, the lottery department has now launched a number of lotteries to cash in on the agony of the recession-hit Malayali.

R Gopakumar, Thiruvananthapuram

Locking horns

The storm within the BJP, which was dormant for about a month, seems to be building up again.

The ‘dissident leaders’ Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and others in the background are again restless.

Sinha who had quit all posts after the party’s poll debacle, apparently to shame others directly responsible for the defeat, is fuming again.

“The party is not serious in analysing the reasons for the defeat. I thought there will be a lot of introspection... why we lost, where we lost, etc. But nothing of the sort is happening,” the former finance minister told a TV network.

Shourie is also attacking the party with his mighty pen. And Jaswant Singh, the grim-faced BJP stalwart, is seemingly keeping the powder dry, pointing out “the disconnect between kaam aur innam” (mismatch between work and reward).
Though the party has settled the seating arrangement in the Lok Sabha and ‘accommodated’ the disgruntled veterans in the first  and second rows, the real future line of leadership is yet to be settled.

Though a ‘Chitan baithak’ is set to take place this month to analyse the poll defeat, “Not much is expected of it,” commented a senior party leader, as those in the ‘dock’ will preside over it.

Deepak Upreti, New Delhi

Dear life!

No black cats can protect the MPs from this assault, neither can the people’s representatives move a motion of breach of privilege against the attackers.

Thus the MPs in the Rajya Sabha were left with no other option but to raise during zero hour the issue of monkey menace in the locality around their residences in South Avenue.
AIADMK member K Malaisamy demanded a special squad to scare away the primates so that they could not attack the MPs. However, the member was at his diplomatic best when he was quick to add that he was all in favour of protecting animal rights. “But human life is more precious sir,” he pleaded, as a number of his colleagues supported his demand.

A similar monkey menace was quite common in the areas adjoining the twin seats of power — the North and South blocks, and due to religious reasons, the ban on feeding monkeys could not be implemented. As a quickfix solution, the authorities ‘appointed’ langurs or big monkeys with black face to chase away their smaller kith and kin.
At a monthly ‘salary’ of Rs 7,000 each, the langurs keep strict vigil on these ‘strategic centres’ of power, as also the offices of AIR and Doordarshan, located in the same area.
Now with our venerable MPs feeling threatened, perhaps it’s time that more such ‘appointments’ are made.

Shruba Mukherjee, Delhi

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