Off the record

The unwilling martyr !

No one knew costly gas of KG Basin would provide free fuel to anti-graft politics. Political class was happily watching Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan getting exhausted after their expose on BJP Chief Nitin Gadkari. Omissions in fixing prices of gas supplied by Reliance had been known to many. And also, every one in the political circles of Delhi was aware of how Jaipal Reddy is alone in his fight to bring Reliance to terms.

But no one came out to his rescue. Old friends like Sharad Yadav did express anguish over his transfer from the ministry, but could not make an issue out of it. Kejriwal and Bhushan took up the issue and made it national.

However, Reddy, the hero of this battle is silently watching the unfolding episode. The matured and astute Congress leader knows when it is right to be silent. He spoke after the controversy over his transfer from petroleum ministry, but in a very restrained manner. He claimed to be a “loyal party-man” and “ a truth minister.”  He could not go beyond it. the country is abuzz with his  courage and commitment, but he  is silent. Is it a case of unwilling martyrdom?

Anil Sinha, New Delhi     

Bond with Bihar

A few days after NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar was inducted into the Union Council of Ministers, he got a rousing reception in Bihar - his karma-bhoomi state - from where he had won four Lok Sabha elections in the last three decades.

But that’s not the news. The news is that Bihar Congress leaders jostled with one another to congratulate the NCP founder-member who was once the political secretary to the then AICC president Sitaram Kesri before switching over his loyalty to Sharad Pawar and deserting Congress.

“Today Tariq Anwar may be a NCP Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra but he has represented Katihar Lok Sabha seat in Bihar four times since 1980. In fact, by appointing a Bihari member of the Rajya Sabha and subsequently elevating him as a Union Minister, Sharad Pawar has shown his magnanimity. Divisive elements like Raj Thackeray should take a leaf out of Pawar’s book,” said a senior Bihar Congress leader who had earlier worked with Tariq when the latter was president of All India Youth Congress in 1982.

When someone asked Tariq about the possibility of forging new alliance with like-minded parties in the State, he said, “There is a strong case for coming together.” But he remained non-committal on whether the RJD and the LJP would be part of the grand alliance. “It’s too premature to speculate but it is on record that the Congress and NCP are in alliance at the Centre as well as some States,” the new MoS, Agriculture and Food Processing Department, said, refusing to be drawn into any controversy.
Abhay Kumar, Patna

Stalin’s effort

When hurricane ‘Sandy’ shut down New York last week, even forcing the UN to close down for a couple of days, DMK’s youth wing leader M K Stalin, seemed not to be cowed down by ‘Sandy’.

With a long-planned trip along with DMK’s Parliamentary Party leader T R Baalu to hand over the DMK-TESO meet resolutions on the war-ravaged Sri Lankan Tamils’ plight to the UN Secretary General already delayed by over a month, Stalin brooked no further delay this time, even after being told that New York was out of bounds for flights due to hurricane ‘Sandy’s havoc.

Stalin and Baalu just rescheduled their departure from Chennai by a day, touched down at California on the US west coast, then managed to reach New York to present the DMK-TESO memorandum titled ‘Beats of Bleeding Hearts’ on November 1 to the UN Deputy General Secretary, Jan Eliasson. He sought the world body’s intervention to find a political solution to the Island Tamils’ woes.

Even as Stalin’s supporters here hailed his efforts despite ‘Sandy’, he still had to contend with domestic competition. His half-sister and DMK MP Kanimozhi, meanwhile, met Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh in Delhi and presented a memorandum on the Lankan Tamils issue.

M R Venkatesh, Chennai

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