off the record

Unwelcome issue

This week, the Supreme Court verdict on gay sex remained the hottest topic in power corridor.  It also posed a real problem to political parties, particularly the BJP. Unlike the Congress leaders who came out to be smart enough to take a stand and that too without losing time, the BJP took some time to articulate its stand.

It was really hard for the BJP leaders. They did not want to be seen ‘less progressive’ and opposed to an issue which had a wide support in media. However, it was interesting to see how they were evading the media. Arun Jaitley and Sushama Swaraj managed to avoid committing any thing on the issue and assured that when consultations are held to amend laws they would present their views.

Some fire-brand pro-Hindutva leaders like Vinay Katiyar had to face real problem.
“Sir, what are your views on Supreme Court judgment,”  TV journalists moved ahead when he came out of the Parliament House.

“This is not an important issue,” he just walked away to avoid the camera.
Had BJP leadership made its stand clear immediately after the verdict, party stalwarts like Katiyar would not have to face such hardship!

Anil Sinha, New Delhi

Pachauri and 600 wickets

Within days of returning from hectic climate negotiations at Warsaw, environmentalist R K Pachauri reached an unique milestone in another field. The soft-spoken chief of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change bagged 600 wickets in corporate cricket in India. An avid cricketer for decades, Pachauri is known in Delhi cricket circle for his fairly accurate seem and swing bowling. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), headed by him, is a strong contender in corporate cricket tournaments.

Pachauri has a stunning strike rate of just 14 balls per wicket since the last two years and in the duration of less than two years he added 100 more wickets (from 500 to 600) to his tally. “It is not only his swing which is difficult for the batsmen to handle, but his skill to read the batsman’s mind that does the trick,” says a TERI official. A galaxy of former Indian players including Bishen Singh Bedi, Kirti Azad, Madan Lal, Abbas Ali Beig, Atul Wasan, Vivek Razdan, Chetan Chauhan and Nikhil Chopra will celebrate Pachauri's achievement in the capital on Tuesday.

Kalyan Ray, New Delhi

Some space

Courtrooms are often chock-a-block. The Supreme Court is no exception. Particularly on days when the court takes up miscellaneous matters, including fresh petitions, it becomes difficult even for lawyers to move inside different courts, let alone others. That’s why, probably, a bench while empathising with the plight of many senior counsel in their 70s suggested that a passage in the courtroom must be reserved for them with a separate entry gate. The idea is praiseworthy but hard to implement.

It could be imagined in four courtrooms siding with the Chief Justice’s court but in others, it could be a far cry in view of serious space crunch. Just in order to avoid extra rush, an order was issued recently that no law student would be allowed entry on miscellaneous days.

Ashish Tripathi, New Delhi

Muslims’ AAP dilemma

AAP might have broomed its way into the hearts in many Muslims in Delhi but it seems they could not win their votes in the last minute. A senior leader, who is finicky about quotes, says they could not translate the goodwill to votes from the community in the final hour. He believes everything changed in the last 72 hours and they lost some eight to ten seats, which could have brought majority to the fledging party, as Muslims felt that the BJP could come to power if they voted for the AAP.

Muslims were of the view that Sheila Dikshit has to go and the AAP was good. But if they vote for the AAP, the BJP will win. This dilemma, according to the leader, forced Muslims to vote for Congress. Incidentally, Congress’ five MLAs out of eight are Muslims.

To whom did the party lose votes? He would say Muslim's tactical voting and the symbol torch. Torch on an Electronic Voting Machine was similar to the AAP’s symbol broom, he says. An AAP analysis would say the candidate with torch as symbol got more votes than the 'defeat margin' of AAP candidate in around 3-4 seats.

Shemin Joy, New Delhi

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