Off the record

Off the record

In the line of fire

Anna Hazare’s key aide Arvind Kejriwal got a taste of his own medicine when he was lambasted by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for questioning the draft of the Bihar Lokayukta bill.

“Kejriwal should exercise restraint. He has developed the habit of passing remarks on anything or everything,” an angry Nitish remarked. Nitish, who was touring village after village as part of his Sewa Yatra, was reacting to Kejriwal’s observation that Bihar’s proposed Lokayukta bill was a copy of the much-criticised Union government’s draft against which Anna Hazare had observed a fast.

“We don’t need certificates from anyone in our fight against corruption. We are not in the habit of taking dictations,” a miffed Nitish continued to blast the self-styled citizen activist.
The Bihar cabinet had recently okayed a resolution to be passed by the assembly in the coming winter session that would give more teeth to the Lokayukta and bring the chief minister, ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats in its ambit. But Kejriwal’s criticism of the proposed Bill left Nitish red-faced. “I had never given any word to Team Anna about the outcome of Bihar Lokayukta Bill. If at all, I have given any promise to anybody in the fight against corruption, it’s the people of Bihar to whom I am accountable,” averred Nitish.

Congressmen in Bihar could not hide their glee over censure of Kejriwal, who, of late, has proved to be a pain in the neck for the grand old party.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

High command wakes up

Timelines in the Congress high command run ad infinitum, or so it seems. It has taken six months for them to wake up since K V Thankkabalu quit as the Tamil Nadu Congress president on May 14 after the severe drubbing the party suffered in the assembly polls.

After that, even the panchayat elections were over with the Congress faring no better as a solitary reaper. Only on Friday the party announced B S Gnanadesikan, a lawyer and long-standing G K Moopanar loyalist, as the new TNCC Chief, a decision that was overdue.

“Gnanadesikan is a well meaning, senior Rajya Sabha member from Tamil Nadu and an articulate person. I wish him well,” said the AICC member Karti P Chidambaram.

But with the Congress facing a huge organisational challenge in Tamil Nadu, requiring extensive state-wide tours to rejuvenate the party, several others are skeptical about the new choice that seems far from the youthful dynamism that Rahul Gandhi indicated. The AICC by appointing the elderly Gnanadesikan has signaled that it prefers ‘status quo’ in Congress ties with the DMK in the State, feels a youth Congress leader.

M R Venkatesh, Chennai

All in the family

The ‘saas’ (mother-in-law) and ‘bahu’ (daughter-in-law) fight is a common feature in Indian families. However, seldom the mother-in-law-daughter-in-law duo take their tussle to the political battle field -- elections, to be precise.

The November 18 elections to the local municipality in Kendrapara town in Odisha’s coastal Kendrapara district have triggered a lot of curiosity among political observers because of the fight between two lady candidates in ward no 21.

While the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has fielded the mother-in-law, 55-year-old Bahali Tudu, its principal opposition, the Congress, has chosen her daughter-in-law, Laudi Tudu (26) as its nominee.

The interesting political battle has already created a rift in the family as Bahali’s husband and Laudi’s ‘sasur’ (father-in-law), Jayram Tudu, has gone on record saying that his wife has stopped talking to Laudi because of her decision to fight the elections. According to him, Laudi was lured by some local Congress leaders with a ticket to challenge Bahali in the polls.

The ‘bahu’, on the other hand, has a different story to narrate. According to her, while she had already joined the Congress a year ago, her mother-in-law was not even a BJD member. Some local ruling party members persuaded her to jump into the fray promising her the post of vice-chairmanship of the urban local body. It is now being eagerly awaited who among the two ladies will have the last laugh.

S T Beuria, Bhubaneswar