off the record

Pepper spray or chemical attack?

The impact of pepper spray used by Vijaywada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal in Lok Sabha last week was such that it left many a member speculate over the contents of pink canister. Rajagopal’s qualification as an engineer further strengthened the belief of some members that the Seemandhra MP had certainly launched a chemical attack in the Lok Sabha on Friday. 

Lok Sabha secretariat officials confirmed that Rajagopal had indeed used pepper spray of a popular brand which is easily available at medical stores and can even be home delivered if ordered through internet shopping websites. The canister mentions that the spray contains a resin derived from crushed capsicum and its main constituents are capsaicin and capsanthin.  The canister used by Rajagopal carried a warning that the use of the product for any purpose other than self defence is crime under law.

Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi

Kiran baiter Ponnam in tears

Karimnagar’s Congress MP Ponnam Prabhakar Goud, a staunch Telanagana supporter who leaves no opportunity to take on his adversary chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, was literally in tears after the pepper spray attack by Rajagopal.

Ponnam, who wanted to build a temple for Sonia Gandhi in his constituency, even wanted his people to shoot down the chopper of Kiran Kumar Reddy if he tried to land in Karimnagar. He had even `instructed’ the Telangana police to stop the pro-Samaikhyandhra CM from entering the airspace of Karimnagar. Of course, he later said it was only a symbolic gesture and nothing else.

However, the leader who wields immense clout among people of his constituency, was seen sobbing uncontrollably when he came out of Parliament House and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. 

JBS Umanadh, Hyderabad

Political scene hot in Delhi winter

The political scene in Delhi is hot again. With the Arvind Kejriwal government’s exit, the talk of the town has been the possibility of the city getting a new government. Other than the AAP, whose government just quit the Delhi Darbar, the BJP and the Congress offices are abuzz with gossip.

The atmosphere reminds of the few days immediately after the announcement of Assembly results on December 8, when there was hectic speculation over the way forward after a fractured mandate. The Congress is virtually a non-player in the formation of the next government as, at this stage, the Assembly has not been dissolved. Only the BJP can decide who would be the next CM if at all it commands majority. 

Going by the smiling faces of Delhi BJP leaders, one is tempted to believe that there is something more than the official party stand that the party is not forming the next Delhi government. Some leaders have been pointing to the Jharkhand example where a second Assembly election could be prevented by keeping the Assembly under suspended animation.

Rahul Chhabra, New Delhi

Non-veg fare in Amma canteen!

A Tamil Nadu government official on an inspection was bewildered when he sniffed the "unmistakable" smell of fried fish inside the 'Amma' canteen - the outlet, which serves only vegetarian dishes.

The 'curious' official was surprised to notice that many customers were having "hot" fish fry or spicy chicken piece. The official asked one of the consumers next to him where he’d got the non-vegetarian side dish from and he immediately replied that he got the food stuff from an outside vendor. “Each fish fry costs Rs 7 and I get Sambar rice at Rs 3, so I get a filling meal every day,” he quipped.

The enthusiastic salesman outside the canteen had found himself a secured business — supplying the non-vegetarian dishes to complement the all-vegetarian fare of the ‘Amma’ canteen. “I get a good business since Amma' canteen does not serve any side dishes for the food they supply,” she said. 

However, another customer, who consumed chicken masala inside the food outlet, had much more to say, “If AIADMK government opens non-vegetarian canteen, I can eat fish, chicken and even crab at cheaper prices.” 

R Sathyanarayana, Chennai

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


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