Off the record

Rivers calling

BJP leaders, it appears, have been enchanted by the rivers.

They fell in love with their parliamentary constituencies only because of the rivers that flowed there.

Prime minister Narendra Modi, when he first arrived at his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi to file his nomination papers, said that he had been called there by `Maa Ganga' (the mother Ganga).

It proved to be a big hit with the Varanasi people which was evident in Modi's huge victory margin at the polls.

After Modi, it was the turn of Union home minister Rajnath Singh to do the same though he did it after winning the polls.

Rajnath, who had switched his LS seat from Ghaziabad to Lucknow, said recently that he had been called there by `Gomti' river, which is the lifeline of the city. The remarks were obviously liked by the Lucknowites.

Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow


Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s recent remarks expressing doubt about his completing full term has become a hot topic of discussion in the Karnataka Legislature.

In one such instance in the Assembly, former minister Lakshman Savadi and Sunil Kumar of the BJP sought to know from Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande in lighter vein about rumours making rounds that he (Deshpande) was in the race to become the chief minister in the event of Siddaramaiah stepping down.

When Deshpande said such a question does not arise and Siddaramaiah will complete full term, Sunil Kumar remarked test matches are passe and 20:20 matches are the `in thing’.

Savadi added that the Congress will play at least three ‘matches’ in the five year term.

Before Deshpande could reply, one of the back benchers in the ruling party retorted that the BJP appears to have acquired a lot of experience after having three different governments in five years between 2008 and 2013!

P M Raghunandan, Bangalore

‘Personal’ controversy

The Congress is relishing the controversy the NDA government has landed into over appointments of personal staff of the new ministers.

A senior Congress leader commented that the 10-year rule for any official for being a personal staff of a minister has been in existence since the UPA days.

The reason behind the 10-year cap on government officers working as personal staff of ministers was obvious – to prevent an official from continuing to serve in one position for too long.

The rule was not implemented strictly during the UPA rule as some ministers chose to play favourites.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi deciding on a no nonsense approach in this regard has given the episode a NDA vs UPA colour, with the current ruling alliance getting embroiled in a controversy. Much to the delight of the Congress!

Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi

Bite the bullet

A day after Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda proposed a bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, one of his predecessors at Rail Bhavan, Nitish Kumar, does not fancy the idea.

“Bullet train is not feasible in India,” said Nitish, who was railway minister in the previous NDA regime.

“During my tenure, I travelled from London to Paris in a bullet train. Later, I made efforts to introduce it in India. But it was found economically not viable.

For running a bullet train, a dedicated track is needed and there should be nothing in between the up and down tracks.

A large chunk of land is also needed on both sides of the track. There should be low lying depressed trenches on both sides of it,” he argued.

He added that bullet trains had been proposed since mid-80s in each and every budget but it has remained a non-starter.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

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