off the record



The Italian connection

Everyone knows that 19th century Englishmen called Telugu the Italian of the East as all native words in Telugu end with a vowel sound. Now, a connection has emerged as the force behind establishment of two states, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, is an Italian and the appointment day of Telangana is June 2, which happens to be the Republic day of Italy.

The social media was doing overtime looking for an angle after the appointment day announcement and finally landed at the Italian Republic Day. The tweets went like this, “Telangana was carved and announced as a birth day gift to Sonia Gandhi at midnight on December 9, 2009, now the state is appointed on June 2 the Republic Day of Italy.”
Few others also found a bizarre coincident that the residual state of Andhra looks like an inverted map of Italy. Taking cue from this, TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu who has been harping on Sonia’s Italian connection, said in a recent public meeting “how can Sonia, who came from Italy, understand the wishes of the people here? She is playing games with Telugu people by dividing them.”

As long as there are politicians who are willing to make Sonia’s nationality as an issue, the alleged connection between Italy and Telugus is going to prevail for a long time.

JBS Umanadh, Hyderabad

Colourful opportunities

Holi, the festival of colours, is a big networking opportunity for Delhi politicians in the election season. The festival will be celebrated on March 17 – around three weeks before the April 10 voting for the city’s seven Lok Sabha seats. As the model code of conduct has kicked in, some ticket-seekers are hoping that their parties hold on to the announcement of names of nominees at least till the festival, giving them an opportunity to connect with voters without inviting the Election Commission scrutiny. Satirical banners, hoardings and posters that have sprung up carrying the punch line “Bura Na Maano Holi Hai (Don’t mind, it’s Holi fun time). As political temperatures rise in the city, the festival is also expected to offer a platform to leaders of all hues to maintain Holi’s tradition – as part of the “Ganga Jamni tehzib” (a Walled City tradition) – of dropping all inhibitions, embracing a rival and making up. This Holi is time to have that one last go at bonhomie before what could perhaps be the biggest and the most bitter electoral battles in recent times.

Rahul Chhabra, New Delhi

Age-old choice

The Congress High Command may take its time to announce nominees for the ensuing elections, but it seems the party has made up its mind to declare former Union railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal as its nominee from Chandigarh. This, despite Bansal’s taint in the infamous Railgate that cost him his job. Even as his name is yet to be announced, there were celebrations at Bansal’s house on Friday. The Congress, in fact,  has little choice in Chandigarh. Bansal is a time tested lieutenant of the party who has won the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat many times.

The Congress in Chandigarh has failed to evolve any durable layers of leadership that could have ensured a change of baton. Other than the BJP candidate, the Congress has no reasons to worry. The AAP in Chandigarh looked formidable, but its candidate, Savita Bhatti, wife of noted comedian Jaspal Bhatti who died in a road accident last year, quit the seat on Sunday.

Gautam Dheer, Chandigarh

Failed  fish

The BJP cadres, who launched the NaMo fish stall in Chennai, were driven to embarrassment at time of the inauguration. The partymen had decided to distribute 250 kg of fish free on the first day, and had handed out 'vouchers' the previous day for the lucky ones who could receive free seafood. Most of the people who had the coupon did not turn up at the right time. With media persons around, party cadres were forced to distribute free fish even to spectators, who happily went home with the big catch. When a group of people came with their coupons a little late and demanded their share, there was chaos since the partymen had only 'small fishes' to offer them. After the senior members managed to disappear from the crowd, it was the lower rank cadres who managed to pacify and dispersed the 'angry' crowd.

Sathyanarayana, Chennai

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