Off the record

Who is the next?

It was indeed Kejriwal week. Grim faces in all political circles including Congress and the BJP were spreading every kind of gossips. Depressed law minister Salman Khurshid lost his temper to shout at media persons and issue a threat to anti-graft activists.  The BJP tried to put on  a brave face, but the party remained nervous from within. They tried to under play exposes against party chief Nitin Gadkari, but could not succeed. It was really a hard moment for them when Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan kept the flock guessing till the last moment.

Sensation across ministries was so encompassing after Kejriwal informal assertion that next expose might include allegations against some UPA ministers, too, everywhere people were throwing guesses who was the next after Khurshid. Ministers with some confidence of not being on the wrong-side were also curious and making fun. “Who is the next on their expose-list?” asked a senior and high profile minister, when a bunch of journalists met him the previous evening of expose against Gadkari. However, he could hardly hide a general sense of unease!

“Kejriwal made it,” remarked a senior journalist smilingly after leaving minister’s cabin, “they are worried!”

Anil Sinha, New Delhi

The big fight

A day after Press Council of India (PCI) chairman Justice Markandey Katju remarked that Nitish, through some of his acts, had lost the goodwill of people as indicated by public protests against him during his recent Adhikar Yatra, the Bihar chief minister said that he won’t be cowed down by ‘big people’ who keep on making depressing comments about him or Bihar.

Reacting to the statement of Katju, who retired as a Supreme Court judge before heading the PCI, Nitish said, “Some ‘big people’ keep on coming to Bihar and leave after making disheartening comments. But, I am not going to be browbeaten by such unsavoury remarks. Neither such comments will impede the development process ushered over the past seven years.”

Disagreeing with Katju who said that Nitish was “scared of facing the people”, the JD (U) strongman said, “I will achieve the goal of Bihar’s development come what may. Let people say whatever they like. I, like Lord Hanuman, will bring ‘sanjivni buti’ and clear all hurdles that has impeded Bihar’s growth.”

The PCI chief, during his last visit here, had also come down heavily on Nitish regime for imposing an unwritten censorship on the media in the State.

“I have been told that most of the journalists here can’t write anything against the Bihar government…and those who dare to write against the present regime, they are transferred,” Justice Katju had then observed.

“This ex-SC judge knows how to hog the limelight, but he should also know where to draw the line,” averred a senior JD (U) MP, who was present at the function attended by Katju.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

Cafe, what’s in a name?

If you happen to open a hotel in Tamil Nadu tomorrow and call it, say, “Iyer’s Cafe”, you are bound to be in splendid trouble.

For, the late Periyar-founded Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) will take offence to the presence of “Iyer” as a “caste name” and not a family surname. In fact, the DK’s anti-Brahmin movement since the 1940s had spearheaded a long agitation to get placards like ‘For Brahmins’, ‘For Non-Brahmins’, removed from dining areas and hotels told to have cosmopolitan names. The famous “Murali’s Cafe” in the Triplicane area of old Madras had bowed to Periyar’s wishes, even changed its name to “Ideal Cafe”, emphasises the DK’s present General Secretary, K Veeramani.

Veeramani’s reminder after over six decades now, was necessitated by a recent instance in Srirangam- the Assembly constituency of AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalithaa-, of a hotel run by one Krishna Iyer mentioning its ‘Brahmin’ flavour more in its culinary sense. An enraged DK chief dashed off a missive to “Amma” at once saying if she did not take steps to remove this ‘social anachronism’ from name-boards of Hotels, Periyar’s soldiers will be forced to come on to the streets. So, at least in Tamil Nadu, everything is in a “Name”, mused a DMK source!

M R Venkatesh, Chennai

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