Off the record

Off the record

Flop show

Luck seems to be running out fast for the Paswan clan. Chirag Paswan, the actor-son of former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, has apparently made a disastrous debut in tinsel town. Even the presence of current heart-throb Kangana Ranaut could not set the cash registers ringing when the movie ‘Miley Naa Miley Hum’ was released Friday.

The politician-father had pulled out all the stops during the film’s promotion, but when Chirag’s debut movie actually hit the theatres, it sank like a Titanic on the opening day.
Most of the theatres had nearly 25 per cent occupancy rate. “I think I wasted my money,” said some audience, while others averred that the film was not worth watching as there was neither any storyline nor star cast.

As a damage-control exercise, several activists of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP is Paswan’s outfit) were roped in to watch the movie so that it does not receive a bad press. But no amount of tactics could bring the audience to the theatre.

Seems Ram Vilas is passing through the most difficult phase of his life. While he has been isolated after his defeat in the Lok Sabha election, his rising son too could not get a foothold (sorry, toehold) in an alien industry.

The politician, who vehemently opposed dynasty rule, has just one option: Ask a good-looking Chirag to enter his father’s footsteps.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

Bizarre dance of democracy

At times the dance of democracy tends to get a little bizarre. Sample two recent predicaments in Tamil Nadu’s political stage. In the recently held local bodies’ elections in the state, running for the post of panchayat president (held on non-party basis at that level), in Perambalur district saw a veteran effectively use a cranky but compelling emotive card.

The candidate, who could not win last time also, had virtually gone bust. When he lost all hopes of taking on his old-time powerful rival of the DMK, a singular streak of survival visited upon the former.

A voter from that panchayat said that with three unmarried daughters at home, he went around telling his voters that, “if I don’t win this time, I will be forced to resort to a slow form of self-poisoning!” Villagers of three wards in that panchayat were so shocked at this bizarre declaration that they took pity on his three daughters and voted to make him win the president’s post this time.

The other head-turner took place on Friday, when six ministers of the Jayalalithaa cabinet were sacked, just two days after ‘Amma’ herself had asked all her ministers to visit the rain-hit areas to speed up relief works.

M R Venkatesh, Chennai

Orissa NCP in trouble

Despite having a presence in Orissa since long, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party(NCP) continues to be a lightweight outfit in the state. However, it has managed to remain in the limelight because of some strange political moves over the last couple of years.

Months before the 2009 Lok Sabha and assembly elections, the party managed to rope in Bijay Mohapatra, former BJD heavyweight and long time bete noire of chief minister Naveen Patnaik, to head the party in the state.

But just before the polls, the Orissa NCP unceremoniously severed its links with Mohapatra at the behest of the BJD. The Patnaik-led regional outfit put a condition with the NCP leadership that it would vacate eight assembly and one Lok Sabha seat for the latter if Mohapatra is not in the picture. The party sacrificed its state unit chief to have a tie up with the BJD.

Now in another strange move, the party has joined hands with principal opposition Congress to fight a municipal by-poll in coastal Kendrapara district much to the embarrassment of the BJD. The decision has led to an open rift between the party MLAs and the state unit chief Utkal Parida. “We are still with the BJD. The decision to join hands with the Congress was Parida’s personal decision. We are not party to it,” said Prasanta Nanda, an NCP MLA.

Pawar’s outfit seems to be heading for more trouble in Orissa in the coming days.

S T Beuria, Bhubaneswar