Off the record

Training the son

Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, whose son Jayant is now minister of state under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, thinks that gone are the days when a generalist could fit the bill as FM. Also, no FM gets re-elected if he takes tough decisions during his tenure. At a function to honour him, Sinha delivered the homilies in the presence of his son that the FM’s job was very tough one.

“You are compelled to learn as you go along... I credit all the FMs after 1991 for showing the courage to take very difficult decisions that were sometimes unpopular. All of them paid the price and lost elections. It is always been very difficult to get re-elected if you were FM.” It was surely a sound warning for his son who was handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assist Jaitley, considering his background as an investment fund manager and management consultant after he got degrees from IIT-Delhi and Harvard Business School.
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Camaraderie back?

Two years after a bitter split, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met last week in what was described as a “remarkably comfortable” meeting. It was their first one-to-one meeting. A few days ago, they had a brief exchange of pleasantries at a reception hosted by RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav on the occasion of his daughter Raj Laxmi’s marriage to Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s grand-nephew Tej Pratap Singh.

Nitish found the PM listen to him in rapt attention when he spoke about special status for Bihar. Though Nitish and Modi never enjoyed a good relationship post the 2002-Gujarat riots, their meeting set tongues wagging about the possibility of the BJP again tying up with the JD (U) for the Bihar assembly polls in November. A section of the RSS was also credited with the view of backing Nitish since the BJP’s support base had shrunk after the Lok Sabha polls. However, Bihar BJP leaders dismissed the talk, saying the buzz was created by JD(U) because it wanted to come back to the BJP!
SI, New Delhi

Sledge him!

Malayalis on social media are, perhaps, taking their reputation of being cyber-bullies a bit too seriously. Maria Sharapova got a taste of it after wondering who Sachin Tendulkar was. Sa-crilege, in this part of the world. This time, it was Australian speedster Mitchell Johnson who found himself barraged with memes and hate posts – mostly in Malayalam – on his unofficial Facebook pages.

Reason? Johnson, ahead of the India-Australia World Cup semi-final, said he would sledge Indians during the match. The hate messages were also peppered with iconic lines from Malayalam films. “We’ll show you when you are here for the IPL,” some of them said. The bemused cricketer thanked them for the banter. A day later, after Johnson emerged a star in Australia’s win, some of them also found balance in self-deprecating sarcasm – “Okay, you guys are hosting the championship. Not fair to take the title away from you”.
R Krishnakumar, Thiruvananthapuram

Toll twinge

Over the last two years, toll tax has emerged as the numero uno issue in Maharashtra. But, the erstwhile Congress-NCP government and the current BJP-Shiv Sena government has not been able to solve the issue and provide respite to commoners. One has to pay toll even for commuting within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Last week, legislators raised the issue in Council.

Though law-makers are exempted from paying tolls, they now want easy passage from the toll booths – thus coming out with suggestions like providing the list of law-makers and their photos at toll booths – so that they are not held up in the toll plazas. Congress MLC Anant Gadgil says that if this is the plight of legislators what would be the common man going through. “When I was passing through the plaza, the boys at the toll booth even refused to acknowledge the card,” he said.
Mrityunjay Bose, Mumbai

Dog’s day out

It’s a dog’s day out in the week-end at the Tamil Nadu secretariat: After receiving complaints, security personnel were busy searching for a couple of stray dogs, which had gained entry into the complex. Since Friday evening was the last working day for that week and most of the secretariat staff had left early, the dogs managed to walk freely to most of the ro-oms searching for food. However, the guards later managed to chase them away. An official said the dogs were entering the complex as some staff members throw away the waste food packets near the verandah.  
R Sathyanarayana, Chennai
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