Off the Record

Cabinet in festival mood

The Deepavali festival bug also hit the Union cabinet meeting attendance on Thursday held to discuss some important issues — including Commonwealth games. Fertiliser Minister M K Alagiri, Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Minster for Renewal Energy Farooq Abdullah, Defence Minister A K Antony and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma did not attended the meeting.

Alagiri and Mamta are busy in state politics and always stay away from cabinet meetings. Antony and Anand Sharma were travelling abroad, but the reason for others’ inability to attend the meeting was not known.

Information Minister Ambika Soni said: “It is unfair to say that they have missed the meeting. They may have informed the prime minister and taken his permission.”
But when asked for further information, she just laughed and said, “don’t dig into this further. Let us celebrate the festival of lights and not spoil its sprit”.

Ajith Athrady, New Delhi

The price of attention
Politicians are no match for movie stars on college campuses when it comes to mass appeal. However, AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi created quite a flutter last week in Kerala when he walked into colleges, where girls and boys jostled for his attention.
At Kozhikode, the Nehru-Gandhi scion had a great time tasting coffee and local Malabari cuisine — first at a wayside teashop and later at a restaurant on the beach. He posed for photographs with guests and shop owners and obliged autograph hunters.

But the communist comrades were not quite amused by the attention that Rahul received. The next day, a raid was held at the teashop and asked to close down. The authorities suddenly found that the water there was from an unhygienic source. So, whom would the hapless teashop owner now blame for his sudden misfortune?

R Gopakumar, Thiruvananthapuram

Ten(t) commandants
Bihar babus, it seems, are headed for some tough time. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asked all DMs in the state to move to rural areas, stay there in tents and solve the problems confronting the villagers. Nitish himself undertook such an exercise early this year. He stayed in tents in remote areas, met local people and solved many of their problems on the spot.

Having earned accolades for this, the JD(U) strongman now wants his bureaucrats to follow suit. “Stay in villages in tents, solve land disputes on priority, and ensure that the benefits of government welfare schemes reach the beneficiary,” Nitish said while holding a marathon meeting with the district magistrates. Having suffered unexpected drubbing in the last month by-elections, Nitish, it seems, is leaving nothing to chance for the next year Assembly poll.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

From pillar to post
The BBMP is running from pillar to post to wipe them clean of film posters. But isn’t making much headway. Film producers are finding novel ways to put up posters —  on tin partitions, enclosures that cover construction work of new buildings. Cheap and effective.
Film producers in Bangalore have come under the BBMP’s scanner for defacing the City’s walls and public property. So the producers are exploiting private properties to promote their films.

In Rajajinagar, movie promotions can be found on a sheet enclosure that surrounds a new construction. One of them of ‘Ninagagi Kadiuruve’. Kannada movies now have found a nice little space to promote their productions.

Sandip Moudgal, Bangalore

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