off the record

Famous than ‘Queen Victoria’

Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan's ‘love-hate relationship’with the media was evident again when seven of his buffaloes were stolen from his farm house recently. Though the cops showed rare alacrity and recovered the buffaloes within 36 hours, the buffaloes' theft hogged much limelight. A witty Azam was at his sarcastic best when he ‘thanked’ the media for making his buffaloes `’more famous than even Queen Victoria’ and wished that he ‘too had the same kind of popularity’.

The swift recovery, however, put the cops in more trouble. Instead of being appreciated for their alacrity, the cops had to face flak and they were also flooded with requests to recover buffaloes, cows and other animals and even bicycles stolen long back. And the complainants included even IPS officers. Doubts are being raised over whether the recovered buffaloes were those which were stolen or if the cops had managed ‘other buffaloes’ so as to escape Azam's infamous temper.

Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow

Bitter ‘Kahwa’

Kahwa, a traditional hot sweet beverage, has been synonymous with Kashmir’s hospitality. But the ‘sexpose’ of a Mantri in the Jammu and Kashmir government has changed the taste. The minister, Shabir Ahmed Khan, is accused of having made advances to a lady doctor whom he called for a one-on-one to his private chamber in the almost deserted winter secretariat of J&K. The Mantri, as per the complainant, asked her to come to his guesthouse and prepare some “sweet Kahwa”. Is the doctor supposed to treat patients or prepare Kahwa in the bedroom of a minister? As the doctor kept saying ‘no’, the Mantri continued to make advances in each of his following statements.

But the bold woman was courageous enough to rush out of the guest house and register a case of sexploitation with the police. The police issued warrants and the minister was forced out of his ministerial chair. This is not the first case of sexploitation of female folk at the hands of ministers in J&K. In 2004, the CBI had arrested a minister on similar charges while one of his accused colleagues fearing arrest came forward with a medical report that he was impotent!

Zulfikar Majid, Srinagar

Fitting the Modi shoe

Even as the Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is moving around the country campaigning for his party, the affairs in the state are being handled by some of his cabinet ministers who include some from the influential Patel community. The affairs of the state on a daily basis are handled by revenue minister Anandiben Patel, government spokesman Nitin Patel and Industries Minister Saurav Patel. This has added to the speculation that if Modi actually progresses to Delhi as PM, then the mantle of the state would be handed over to one from the Patel lobby.

Though there are several contenders for the post and speculation is already rife on who would be the next CM if Modi vacates the post, these three ministers on their part are already trying to fit into his shoe. Political analysts say it would be a difficult task after a decade of propaganda and media attention for the next CM to actually fit into the shoe of the next Gujarat CM.

Swati Bhan, Ahmedabad

Too many PM candidates

Many may think that senior leaders like Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav must have some great reason in stating that the Third Front should be launched after the Lok Sabha polls and not before. But, a closer look reveals nothing else other than his ambition of becoming the prime minister. He thinks that if he gets a good number of seats, he can chose his partners accordingly. Similar calculations are also being made in other quarters. This is the reason why Left parties made it clear that no talk of prime minister would be done before the elections. “We know the problem,” said a senior leader.

But can any one stop people from aspiring? Some high profile names from outside third alternative are also creeping into the list- Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar and of course Arvind Kejriwal. The forthcoming elections look like repeating the scene of the mid-90s!

Anil Sinha, New Delhi

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