off the record

 Two more ex-ministers — Bandhu Tirkey and Bhanu Pratap Sahi — are likely to join ranks on corruption charges. It appears that half of the erstwhile council of minister of the UPA-headed government will be in jail before the ongoing assembly elections conclude on Dec 18.

However, so far the Gandhi scion and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have been conspicuously silent over the two issues that have taken the state by storm — the money laundering case involving Madhu Koda and the corruption issue involving at least six ex-Jharkhand ministers — though they have separately addressed about a dozen election rallies.
So far, only poverty, social deprivation and stability in governance, aided with UPA’s achievement and lashing at the opposition have found mention in the speeches of the two Congress leaders.

Virtually punching the air out of Congress’ tall claims of zero-level tolerance on corruption, Union minister Ambika Soni’s recent riposte is: “There are procedures, law will take its own course. One is innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law.”
Corruption has taken a backseat in the BJP’s election campaigns too. Reasons are not hard to understand. As many as four tainted politicians — including Madhu Koda — have served as ministers under the NDA. Will the parties take the support of tainted politicians, if the situation so warrants, after the poll results are out?
Sandeep Bhaskar, Ranchi

HDK goes house-hunting
Many newly-elected parliamentarians may still be struggling to get their entitled government accommodation in the national capital, but some MPs keep rejecting the houses allotted to them.

One of them is former chief minister of Karnataka H D Kumaraswamy. He has just rejected a bungalow on Teen Murthi Lane, allotted to him, on the grounds that it has an unlucky number. The urban development ministry — in charge of allotting houses to MPs — offered him to No 3, Tyagaraj Marg, but it also was rejected. This time his father former prime minister H D Deve Gowda was instrumental in saying a “no-no”.
It is learnt that some of the ‘advisors’ to the father-son duo have suggested them to avoid houses bearing number 3. The god-fearing Gowda family lapped on to the advice.
As a former chief minister, Kumaraswamy is entitled for Type-VII bungalow, the urban development ministry is searching new houses again for him. Till then the former CM will have to make good by staying at Karnataka Bhavan or his father’s residence on Safdarjung Lane whenever he is in the capital.
Ajith Athrady, New Delhi

Labour pain
There seems to be no let-up in Bihari-bashing incidents. In the last one year, labourers from this state have been thrashed at from Maharashtra to Assam — for no fault of theirs. But once they are beaten up, the ‘labour pain’ is felt in this part of the cow-belt.
So when the Punjab police, accompanied by the locals, roughed up Bihari workers at Ludhiana on Dec 4, the tremors were felt in the corridors of power in Patna. To prevent recurrence of backlash in the state (when people in Bihar burnt trains to protest MNS assault), Chief Minister Nitish Kumar immediately called up his Punjab counterpart Prakash Singh Badal and asked him to protect the hapless Bihari labourers, who were the backbone of Punjab’s agrarian economy.
Now such is the clout of the JD(U) strongman in the fragile NDA that the Akali leader Badal was quick to suspend the guilty station house officer at Ludhiana. Not a heavy price to douse the flames!
Abhay Kumar, Patna

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