Off the record

To remain relevant!

Jaswant Singh is completely enjoying the vice-presidential poll. He is busy meeting leaders, planning campaigns, and doing all that a serious candidate should do. He is also getting full support from BJP, his party.

Like him, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari also wants to be seen as serious as he could be. Otherwise, it may send wrong signals to party cadres and public in general that he has put up a candidate only for the namesake.

No one in the party or in NDA is ready to believe this seriousness. They can see through the ritualism involved in it. Some of the leaders are even angry. They feel that Jaswant Singh should not get such media attention when the result is known.


“Till recently, he was in oblivion; after long efforts, he got entry into the party. Now, his candidature has given him such media attention which he would never have gained in normal circumstances,” a senior leader of NDA dismisses the entire exercise.
However, the party leadership has different viewpoint. They say that in most of the presidential elections situation has been the same, but opposition has to give a fight. This is the way you remain relevant in parliamentary democracy.


Anil Sinha, New Delhi


Check mate

World chess champion Viswanathan Anand feels India is making rapid strides in chess as more and more children are coming in contact with the game.


“Earlier, it was said that if you want to learn chess, you have to be in Moscow. But nowadays online facilities have broken the geographical barriers,” said the five-time world champion, who was in Patna recently to attend a computer institute programme.
With college girls swooning over his charm and boys rubbing shoulders to get his autograph, Anand smiled when someone asked him whether he would like his son Akhil to enter the father’s footsteps. “No one in my family had an inkling that some day I will become a chess player. Only time will tell how things shape up for Akhil,” said Anand, dwelling at length on how luck plays an important part in everyone’s life.


“In sports, luck factor counts a lot. Certain things happen which could not be explained by logic. But if you look from a larger perspective, many things in life are determined by luck. We commit blunder in life which may be accidental,” said the 42-year-old chess king, who recently defeated Boris Gelfand of Israel in the 2012 world championship at Moscow.
Exhorting the youths of the state capital to adopt chess as a sport, Anand said, “It helps in a child’s mental development and improves concentration.”


Abhay Kumar, Patna

Thanks to Jaya

The AIADMK supremo J Jayalalitha’s stay in Kodanad in the Nilgiris in recent weeks has had an unintended benefit for the tribal people there, blessed as they are now with an ‘ATM’ opened by the ‘Bank of India (BOI)’.


‘Amma’ herself inaugurated the ‘ATM’ at the remote ‘Kodanad View Point’ alongside a renovated BOI branch last week in that area, a demonstrable refutation of her political critics in Chennai who would now see the gains of a chief minister’s presence in a remote hilly upland.


On the ATM’s utility, Jayalalitha hoped it will be of immense help and convenience to the local people in accessing cash whenever they needed, just enough for their market purchases and thus obviate the need to carry bulk cash.


Even more interesting was Jayalalitha praising the gains of the nationalisation of commercial banks way back in the 1960s that opened the doors for the vast majority of the poor in the country to bank credit. Just as people should cultivate the savings habit and repay their loans to add to the public kitty, banks too should generously help the poor and needy in a way that enhanced customers’ self-esteem, Jayalalitha extolled with homegrown parables that stunned the bankers at the function.
M R Venkatesh, Chennai

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