Off the record

Off the record

All approved!

The apathy in the political system of the country can be portrayed no better than the manner in which the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) functions.

Every month, the BBMP council meets atleast once to discuss the various issues related to the City and try to resolve them. However, considering the pitched battle and alleged ‘tacit’ agreement between the Opposition and the ruling parties, the subjects are passed in the House as nothing more than a formality.

At the last Palike Council meeting, amidst din, with the Opposition leaders entering the well of the house raising slogans against the ruling BJP party, the Mayor approved atleast 18 subjects. And this, without even hearing the content of the subjects.

Admitting this in public, the BBMP Mayor, D VenkateshMurthy while approving the initial four subjects, as they were rattled out by the ruling party leader, said: “I cannot hear anything. But nonetheless, I approve the subject.”

As the decibel levels began to increase in the house, Murthy finally acceded to the fact that he will not be able to hear anything.

“I cannot hear anything. I am going to approve all the subjects,” he shouted over the noisy house and adjourned the meeting.

Sandeep Moudgal, Bangalore

Wise words

The veena (a stringed Indian musical instrument) metaphor came in handy for the Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, to elucidate what it meant for a legislature’s presiding officer ‘to hold the scales even’, while conducting the House business.

As the Tamil Nadu legislative Assembly last week was on a self-congratulatory mood, after the AIADMK’s nominee P Dhanapal became the first dalit to be elected unanimously as Speaker of the House in the post-Independence era, Amma invoked the ‘Veena’  symbolism to drive home her message.

“If the Veena is to produce good music, its strings should be delicately balanced, neither bind tightly nor held loosely,” Jayalalitha said. “It is this kind of fine balance that can ensure impartiality in conducting the business of the Assembly with poise and distinction,” she added offering felicitations to the newly elected Speaker.

Amma also had a word on the members of the House having to share the responsibility of ensuring that the Assembly runs smoothly. When ‘unanimity’ in taking decisions eluded the House, arriving at a ‘consensus’ on basic issues was equally imperative, she noted. Or else, Democracy itself could be weakened, stuck as it were to only the freedom of expression, the chief minister mused.

M R Venkatesh, Chennai

‘Sting’ing operation

A few days after Bihar deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi charged former Union Minister and RJD MP Prem Gupta that “as Corporate Affairs Minister in the UPA-I, he had used his influence to get a coal block in Maharashtra allocated to his son’s company IST Steel and Power Ltd,” Gupta is planning to initiate legal action against Modi.

“Modi has this habit of levelling baseless allegations. Once he had to cough up Rs 5 lakh as fine in M Guruswami case. I come from a business family and my sons are also engaged in business activities. What’s wrong in it?

Modi has not only linked my name in the coalgate scam but described me as ‘Lalu’s ATM.’ I will take proper legal action against him at an appropriate time,” said Gupta, considered to be closest aide of the RJD president.

But armed with documents procured from the Bombay Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Modi alleged that Gupta, despite being an RJD MP and an Indian, concealed facts from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange where his company is listed.

“In his annual return filed in Hong Kong, he furnished the residential address of that country and even provided his Hong Kong identity card number,” said Modi, adding that Gupta concealed facts about holding an Indian passport and his New Delhi address.

“Modi has been after me for the last two decades. The fact is that whatever business we do is in public domain. But Modi is behaving as if he has done some real investigative story,” Gupta launched a counter-offensive.