Off the record

Kani’s fight for a chair

The musical chairs game, wherein players have to compete for a diminishing number of seats, yet again revisited the DMK.

The party’s Rajya Sabha MP, Kanimozhi, unwittingly found herself fighting in this latest musical chairs round when a global conference on the Sri Lankan Tamils’ plight was held in Chennai last Sunday by the DMK’s outfit, ‘Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO)’.

Kanimozhi, who has been more pro-active on the ‘Eelam Tamils issue’, over both her competing, ambitious, half-brothers, youth wing leader and former deputy chief minister, M K Stalin, and Union Minister M K Alagiri, was naturally seeking a larger role, with her father and DMK Patriarch M Karunanidhi having already declared her his “literary heir”.

But at the ‘TESO’ meet, party grapevine has it that Kanimozhi’s role was downsized. Stalin, also the DMK’s treasurer, hogged much of the limelight as chairman of the conference reception committee, even as Alagiri promptly marked his presence at the morning ‘conclave’.

With the conference passing several far-reaching resolutions, sources said that Kanimozhi was keen to move some of them at the evening rally venue, but was disallowed.

No wonder she hit back with a spirited speech in the Rajya Sabha later on Friday in the Assam violence debate, to hint that she was alive and kicking.

M R Venkatesh, Chennai

Shatru’s house arrest

Having spent nearly 40 days in a private hospital in Mumbai where he underwent bypass surgery, the Lok Sabha member from Patna Sahib, Shatrughan Sinha, is back home where he is recuperating under the strict care of his daughter dearest Sonakshi.

The Dabangg actress has made her father incommunicado by taking away his phones and virtually putting him under house arrest. While fulfilling her professional demands, she also ensures that Shatrughan continues to maintain the same diet and routine which he followed at hospital.

Though Shatru’s wife Poonam Sinha and sons Luv and Kush are always there round-the-clock to take care of him (post his bypass surgery), the actor insists that it’s Sonakshi whose command he can’t defy.

“I want to go to my ancestral house in Patna and take rest. But here in Mumbai, she has put me under house arrest. As and when Sonakshi allows me to travel, I will like to spend some time at my birth place,” the Bihari Babu, recovering fast at his new residence, said.

On July 2, the 67-year-old actor complained of breathlessness, following which he was admitted to Ambani Hospital. But on medical advice, he had to undergo bypass surgery, and therefore had to spend more than a month in hospital.

“I have never stayed away from home for such a long duration. Even the longest outdoor shoots never stretched so far,” said the actor-turned-BJP star campaigner.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

JD(U), the fastidious ally

It has never been difficult for the Congress to handle hostile allies. We have seen how Mamata Banerjee harassed it during the Presidential poll and the party took it in its stride. The BJP does not seem to have learnt the technique.

Despite hard efforts, it failed to limit its fight with the Janata Dal-United(JD-U) over the Hindutva issue. After expressing strong reservation against the projection of Narendra Modi as NDA’s prime ministerial candidate, the JD(U) voted for UPA’s presidential candidate, and now it is embarrassing its senior partner on the Assam issue.

The BJP saw an opportunity in it to press on the issue of Bangladeshi immigrants. The JD(U) took no time to oppose the stand and  maintained that immigration is not at the root of Assam violence.

As on earlier occasions, BJP saw a rescuer in the JD(U) chief and NDA convenor, Sharad Yadav. It was so confident that a senior BJP leader even boasted while referring to Shivanand Tiwari, the  most vocal among  JD(U) leaders on such issues, “Do not take other leaders seriously, we only consider Sharad Yadav as the authentic voice of his party,”But Yadav did not oblige. He attacked both Hindu and Muslim fundamentalism while  debating  the exodus of North-Eastern students in Parliament.
Yadav attacked both Muslim and Hindu fundamentalism. It is really difficult to work with fastidious allies, laughs a political observer.

Anil Sinha, New Delhi

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