Off the record

Checking out

The BJP’s national council meeting on Saturday was of interest not just to the saffron party leaders in Delhi but to politicians from other parties as well.

Some Delhi Congress leaders kept telephoning mediapersons, who were attending the BJP event at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, to check if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah had dropped any hints about Delhi’s political future.

“We are doing our job,” explained a former Congress legislator. “After all, we also have to come out with a strong reaction if  the BJP leaders say something controversial.”The AAP leaders, on the other hand, tried to show as if they were least concerned about the BJP mega event.

“We are not interested in any other party’s internal politics,” said a former minister in Kejriwal’s cabinet. But his party colleague, who was accompanying him at the AAP’s office in New Delhi, asked with a wry smile: “Were there any fireworks this time also” – an indirect reference to the last conclave of the BJP at Goa where the Modi-L K Advani divide came into the open.

Rahul Chhabra, New Delhi

Clashes and bicycles

Uttar Pradesh may have been hitting the headlines all over the country for its recurring communal violence but for some in the ruling dispensation they are too small incidents to warrant national attention. For the senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and minister for urban development Azam Khan, known for his `frank' remarks, the communal clashes are nothing more than collisions between two cycles.

“Its like a collision between two cycles.....one cycle belongs to a Hindu and the other one belongs to a Muslim...and so the collision acquires a communal colour...that's all...what's the big deal in it'', Azam said while commenting on the recent communal violence in Saharanpur which claimed three lives and left scores wounded. Cycle, incidentally, is the election symbol of the SP. ``It seems that Azam's cycle has also collided with Mulayam's'', quipped a senior SP leader, a known Azam baiter. He was apparently referring to the invitation to Amar Singh at an SP function much to the chagrin of Azam.

Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow

CM and novice

He has made a career playing the belligerent on-screen cop, running down politicians and taking the system head on. But off screen, when actor Suresh Gopi decides to dare the Chief Minister of Kerala, he’s asking for a political backlash. “The Chief Minister (Oommen Chandy) wants to build airports everywhere. If he’s ignorant, he should at least educate himself by consulting knowledgeable people,” the actor said at a recent public function.

Youth Congress activists kicked off protests and disrupted screening of the actor’s latest release, Apothecary. “His voice changes when power shifts at the Centre,” Minister for Culture K C Joseph said. For the uninitiated, Gopi is seen of late as a Narendra Modi admirer and was also Modi’s special invitee when the latter was sworn in as prime minister. The jury is still out on Gopi’s political ambitions but on public speaking, he’s learning the ropes the hard way.

R Krishnakumar, Thiruvananthapuram

Dasara  Uttaradhikari

With Dasara soon approaching, people from Karnataka, especially Mysore, and politicians are worried as to who will chair the royal Darbar and garland goddess Chamundeshwari during the festivities. And now Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has finally broken his silence on the issue and said on Friday: “Uttaradhikari kodakke nanna kainalli illari. (It is not in my hand to give an heir). It is for Pramoda Devi (wife of the late maharaja Srikantadatta Wadiyar) to decide.”

What he actually meant was that it is not for the government to take a decision on whether the Darbar should be held and who should be the next heir. It is not for the government to decide but for the royal family. Agitated with the queries and being forced to react to the issue in which he had no say, he blurted out in this manner.

It is not only him, even the royal family which has been questioned many a times, after the death the last Wadiyar king. Wife of the late king Pramoda Devi too has not given any concrete decision whether the darbar will be cancelled or who will be the next heir and this left the media with no option but to question the CM and get this reply.

Bosky Khanna, Bangalore

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