off the record

A silent PM candidate

An all out war has broken for the throne of Delhi. Narendra Modi has entered into the ring and is throwing an open challenge to all others. But, it seems that the war is yet to fully unfold itself. Some players seem to be preparing for the ring and waiting for the right moment to jump into the battle. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is one among them.

Kumar is in no hurry to jump into the battle. So amid the hype of Modi his name seems to have slipped out of the memory of the people despite the fact that he is first one to challenge the BJP leader and was immediately spotted by media as a prime ministerial candidate.

Has he abandoned his ambition? His partymen clearly say “no”. Last week, he was in the national capital. He addressed a seminar on ‘Idea of India’ organised by National Minority Commission only to put forward his concept of growth that, according to him,   includes marginalised people including Muslims.

“He is attacking Modi in his own way, but still to clear whether he would jump into the fray?” a media person asked a JD-U leader.

“He is waiting for the right moment. How can he do it right now without right kind of support,” smiled the leader.

Anil Sinha, New Delhi

In the name of Buddha & Bapu

Recently Vice-President of India and Chairman of Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari was in the Patna to attend the first convocation of the Central University of Bihar (CUB). Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who is also the chancellor of the central varsity, graced the occasion too.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar deemed it fit to make a request to Ansari that the two central universities in Bihar – one at Gaya and the other one at Motihari – be named after Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi respectively.

“The bill for the two central universities is all set to be tabled in Parliament. I would suggest that the CUB at Gaya should be named after Lord Buddha (as this was the place where Gautam Buddha got enlightenment) and the one at Motihari be named after Gandhiji (as this was the place from where Bapu launched freedom movement against British). With both the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and Speaker of the Lok Sabha present here, I think, our demand for naming the central varsities will be considered,” said Nitish.

Though Ansari and Meira Kumar remained non-committal on the issue, they promised to look into the matter favourably. With Nitish inching towards the Congress with each passing day, will the grand old party dare to oppose the JD-U strongman’s wish?

Abhay Kumar, Patna

Red Eagles

People of Allahabad received a surprise from the Army last week.

As the Indian Army's oldest fighting formation – 4 Infantry or Red Eagle division – was celebrating its 75th anniversary, it organised a one-week long film show in the Chandrasekhar Azad park in the heart of the city.

The show featuring patriotic films like Border, LoC Kargil, Mission Kashmir and Vijeta among others – was free, attracting crowds to watch the armed forces in their full glory.
The unit, which witnessed action during World War II besides 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars, is one of the most decorated formations of the Indian Army which received Victoria Cross, George Cross and Param Vir Chakra. Rasulan Bibi wife of Abdul Hamid, a brave Indian soldier who died in Khem Karan in 1965 and a recipient of Param Vir Chakra (posthumously) was was felicitated by the Red Eagles.

Kalyan Ray, New Delhi

In lighter vein

After a recent press conference, journalists desperately followed Finance Minister P Chidambaram for what according to him will be US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s move on withdrawal of Quantitative Easing.

The incident dates back to September 18 when the world was eagerly awaiting a $10 billion taper per month to start from the Fed and the emerging markets had crossed fingers on the possible aftershock it was going to infuse. Chidambaram, after listing to scribes very patiently, told them to take down another number as he was not the right person to give this answer. Excited, many took out their notepads when the finance minister said in a lighter vein, he was only talking about Bernanke’s phone number! 

Annapurna Singh, New Delhi

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