Off the record

Off the record

Film crazy, but balanced

Telugu people are known for their craze with film glamour. The Telugu film industry produces the largest number of movies in India and Andhra Pradesh has the largest number of film theatres and naturally, filmgoers.

Therefore, when N T Rama Rao entered politics in 1982, the two worlds of entertainment jelled, almost naturally.

The 2009 elections, however proved that the Telugu person is not just your average film-loving fan. Almost all film star candidates, including Chiranjeevi was rejected.
Crowds flocked to their roadshows to see the ‘heroes’ in flesh and blood, but the vote did not come their way. The flop stars of box office of democracy include Roja, Krishnam Raju, Murlimohan, Posani Krishna and Mohan Babu.

Two women, Vijayashanti and Jayasudha, mysteriously proved to be exceptions.
R Akhileshwari in Hyderabad

TF faced ridicule

The ‘Third Front’ has often faced ridicule from rival parties for its dubious nature of betrayal and desertions at different points of time. When the National Front led by Janata Dal came to power in 1989, the Congress described it as a ‘notional front’. The derision became true as the NF parties withered away or broke into different parties in no time.
When the Third Front was formed just before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, not many took it seriously. BJP’s Venkaiah Naidu likened it to a ‘parking lot’ where parties come and go whenever they please.

Union minister Kapil Sibal came up with another description. He said: “Before elections the TF was just an idea, after the elections it won’t be a reality”. The statement almost become true with Telegana Rashtra Samiti deserting the TF to join hands with the NDA and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy offering support to the UPA government.
B S Arun in New Delhi

Speculation and smiles

Two high-profile marriages in Delhi just a day before counting began, gave space to rumours in the national capital.

JD(U) Rajya Sabha member N K Singh’s daughter Meenakshi and BJP chief Rajnath Singh’s advisor Sitanshu Trivedi’s marriage receptions brought together political rivals to hobnob with each other.

As parties were looking for new allies — fearing a hung Parliament — BJP leaders put their weight behind these two glittering functions by attending in full strength. The sudden appearance of Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh to the functions, and the discussion between Amar Singh and BJP president Rajnath Singh led to intense speculations.

However, speculation died down as results sank the euphoria of the NDA even as there were smiles on the faces of the UPA leaders.
Ajith Athrady in New Delhi

I told you so

Mandate 2009 is out. And it is time for I-told-you-so boasts doing the rounds in the Congress. AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi had told journalists a few weeks ago that the Congress, which had scored 145 in the 2004 polls, might end up chasing the 200.

None took it seriously though. He made the claim at a time the Congress appeared to be in a mess. Its negotiations for seat-sharing with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh had turned sour. Its allies RJD and LJP offered it just three seats in Bihar.

“I knew it. I had told you this long ago,” he told journalists on Saturday. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh interrupted him: “If you were so sure of our win, why did you keep prodding us in the war room stating that we need to do better?”

“Do you think I should have told you that we were winning, so you all could relax in the war room?” shot back Dwivedi.
Anirban Bhaumik in Delhi