Off the record

Jaswant’s tall claims

Ever since he was unceremoniously ousted from the BJP, former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh has missed no chance in taking a jibe at his estranged colleague Lal Krishna Advani.

In the latest instance, he fired a fresh salvo against the former deputy prime minister during his Patna visit recently. Buoyed by the favourable response he got after the Urdu version of his controversial book ‘Jinnah: India — Partition, Independence’ was released here, Jaswant made a startling revelation that he had opposed Advani’s rath yatra in 1989.

“I was of the firm belief that Advani’s move would widen the chasm between the Hindus and Muslims. But my lone voice of dissent was shot down at the BJP’s working committee meeting,” the MP from Darjeeling, who is fast emerging as a new Muslim mascot, said. To appease the large number of minorities present at the function, Jaswant also dwelt at length how he had opposed a tie-up with the Shiv Sena.

But two days after he spilled the beans, a prominent Muslim face of the BJP and former Union minister Shahnawaz Hussain called his bluff. “Jaswant’s comments hold no merit as he neither ever opposed Advani’s rath yatra nor resisted alliance with the Shiv Sena so long he was in the BJP,” averred Shahnawaz, the Bihar MP, while rubbishing Jaswant’s tall claims.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

‘Bulb-eating’ candidate

If candidates resort to many gimmicks to win elections, here is a candidate whose tricks are hard to beat. Dancer Thampi, once a dance director in movies and now an independent candidate for the Nov 7 Ernakulam byelection, tries magic to woo the voter.

The day he announced his candidature, Thampi stunned newsmen by taking a 110 v bulb, wrapping it in a towel and smashing it on his head. The next moment, he was chewing the pellets one by one. Even as he finished, he took a strand of thread from the towel, inserted its end into a nostril and took a deep breath. The thread vanished in no time. Soonafter, he lit a cigarette and the next moment he pulled it inside his mouth. When he opened his mouth a few seconds later, there was no cigarette but just the smoke.

Thampi’s symbol is ‘fan’ and he intends to conclude his campaign by burning his own effigy! He will also go on a fast from the moment campaign ends and continue till voting begins. Thampi summed up his eccentricities by declaring that if he wins “I and my children will benefit’’.

R Gopakumar, Thiru’puram

Reddy refuses to go with CM

Even after declaring of truce by BJP central leadership among warning groups in Karnataka unit, it seems Tourism Minister G Janardhan Reddy, who was spearheading the campaign against Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa was still relentless.

After BJP leader Sushma Swaraj declaring ceasefire between the CM and Reddy brothers to put an end to over two-week long dissident activities, Yeddyurappa invited Reddy and Health Minister Sri Ramulu to sit in his car to go to L K Advani’s house to greet the later on his birthday as a rapprochement gesture.

Though both Sri Ramulu and Reddy entered the CM’s car and sat on rear seat, Reddy suddenly came out and went towards Sushma’s. As the chief minister watched Reddy’s sudden departure with awkwardness, BJP state unit president Sadananda Gowda came and sat. But the CM must be happy as Sri Ramulu, another rebel leader did not go out, instead accompanied Yeddyurappa till Advani’s house.

Ajit Athrady, New Delhi

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