off the record

‘VIP’ buffaloes 

Senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan’s buffaloes have once again hit the headlines. The buffaloes, which had been purchased from Punjab and were brought to UP, received ‘VIP’ treatment the moment the truck carrying them entered the state recently. A beacon fitted vehicle blaring siren escorted the truck carrying them on the roads in the state. The buffaloes were taken to the Gagalhedi police station in Saharanpur district where special arrangements had been made to protect them from the heat and of course, the mosquitoes. They were served jaggery and other ‘eatables’ by the cops at the police station. They were escorted to Khan's home town of Rampur the next morning. 

Earlier also Khan’s buffaloes (the other ones) had shot into limelight after seven of them had allegedly been stolen from his farmhouse. The cops, however, showed rare alacrity and recovered them within 48 hours and arrested the thieves. Irked over the media coverage of his stolen buffaloes, Khan, in a sarcastic vein, had thanked the media for making his buffaloes `more famous than even Queen Victoria' and wished that he ‘too had the same kind of popularity’.

Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow

Problem of plenty

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has not wasted much time in shunting out governors appointed by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The move, among other things, has paved way back home for two Congress veterans from Kerala. It’s not clear how their return would benefit the party’s strife-ridden state unit but barely weeks after their homecoming, there’s enough reason to believe that retirement is not on their immediate agenda.

Soon after his return, former Mizoram governor Vakkom Purushottaman came out criticising some of the policies followed by the state leadership. When the party was grappling with internal dissent over the government’s nod to phase liquor prohibition, Purushottaman called the policy lopsided. Former Maharashtra governor K Sankaranarayanan who returned home as a show of protest against a move to transfer him has also said that he would return to “active politics”. A problem of plenty for a party never short of leaders and factions? Watch this space.

Krishna Kumar, Thiruvananthapuram

Publicity trouble

In poll-bound Haryana, the Congress high command isn’t pleased with advertisements glorifying Chief Minister B S Hooda instead of policies and works of the state government. One of the advertising jingles “Hooda ji Ka Haryana,” suffixed after a tagline “Number 1 Haryana,” had created a controversy. The Congress leadership intervened which is why the tagline “Hooda ji ka Haryana” was silently removed from the jingles, said sources.After its poor showing in the Lok Sabha elections in the state where the Congress lost 9 of the 10 seats, the Hooda government launched an aggressive ad blitz. An estimated budget of over Rs 113 crore has been sanctioned for 2014-2015. Around 14 short ad films and jingles, including the contentious advertisement “Hooda ji ka Haryana” were produced. They have been aired on television channels, FM Radio and other broadcasting mediums.  

Gautam Dheer, Chandigarh

Time to Modi-fy

Knives were out in the saffron camp soon after the Bihar bypoll result showed that BJP had performed poorly compared to the recent Lok Sabha polls in May. The leader who drew maximum flak from within the party was former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who spearheaded the campaign in the by-election, and would have staked his claim to be declared as the chief ministerial nominee for the 2015 Bihar Assembly elections had the BJP performed well.

But an adverse bypoll result has upset his calculation. The other chief ministerial aspirants could not hide their glee over Modi’s discomfiture. Until Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh came to Modi’s rescue and set the record straight. “Sushil Modi is our leader in Bihar. We will fight 2015 polls under his leadership as he able, capable and acceptable to all,” Singh told the warring BJP groups, dropping ample hint that any more dissensions within the party will spell doom for the BJP.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

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