Off the record

Noida jinx

A two-decade-old political jinx has had Uttar Pradesh chief ministers shying away from visiting Delhi’s satellite city Noida (which is in UP) for fear of losing elections. But the state’s young and modernist CM Akilesh Yadav has announced that he will break this “superstition” to inaugurate the campus of a private university, which is promoted by a large media group – if it is ready by July. As he put it, “For the sake of inaugurating this university in Greater Noida, if we have to break this ‘andhvishwas’ (superstition), we will.” But his own Samajwadi Party leaders are not too sure whether Yadav, who will face the assembly polls in 2017, should wade into what they think is best avoided.

The so-called “Noida jinx” apparently started when Congress CM Veer Bahadur Singh lost his chair in 1988 soon after returning from a visit to Noida. The superstition grew stronger the next year after Singh's successor, N D Tiwari, was also voted out of power a month after visiting the city. Successive CMs Mulayam Singh Yadav, Kalyan Singh, Rajnath Singh and Mayawati avoided visits to Noida as much as they could during their tenure.
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Unhappy police

The senior police officials in Gujarat seem to be an unhappy lot with the functioning of Anandiben Patel government. While most of them acknowledge that she is quite hard working, her lack of understanding of policing seems to be proving as their nemesis. Their main grudge against her is the promotion policy.

“A particular officer has been sent on training for more than three times in the last one year but is awaiting his promotion for almost two years. If this continues, he will soon become the most trained IPS official in the entire country,” a senior police official remarked. The last batch of IPS that has received promotions is that of 1986, compared to the 1988 or 1989 batch officials in other states who, despite being their contemporaries, are sitting on higher posts.
Sunil Raghu, Ahmedabad

Ramdev junks advice

Chief Minister M L Khattar-led Haryana government may have gone all out to impress Baba Ramdev, but the yoga guru gave no importance even to the advice of the CM. Khattar was the first one to advise Ramdev to change the name of controversially labelled ‘Putrajeevak Beej’, a medicine made by his pharmacy in Uttarakhand.

In fact, much before the MPs raked up this issue in the Parliament, the BJP government in Haryana was on the defensive after opposition MLAs had raised the issue of Ramdev’s drug on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha. Khattar then advised the Baba on the merits of changing the label of the drug, but to no avail. Ramdev is the brand ambassador for the promotion of Yoga and Ayurveda in Harya-na. He was even offered a cabinet rank status in Haryana, which the yoga man declined.
Gautam Dheer, Chandigarh

CM dreams

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s frequent visit to his home state Odisha has already triggered intense speculation in the political circles that the suave and youthful politico who is currently a Rajya Sabha member from Bihar would soon be projected as BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the eastern state.

What has added fuel to the speculation is the first time Union minister’s reported closeness to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah. However, Pradhan’s rise has not gone down well with the camps belonging to Joel Oram, another Union minister from Odisha and state party chief K V Singhdeo, the two other state BJP heavyweights who too aspire to be projected as the chief ministerial candidates.
S T Beuria, Bhubaneswar

Fresh air

Sitaram Yechury’s ascendance to the CPI(M)’s top post seems to be giving a boost to young leaders in the party. For the first time, the Left party is having spokespersons in Parliament. Young MPs M B Rajesh (Lok Sabha) and Ritabrata Banerjee (Rajya Sabha) will brief media about the party’s stand in their respective Houses while new Polit Bureau member and Lok Sabha MP Mohd Salim will address press conferences in the absence of Yechury, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP.

Usually in the CPI(M), only the party general secretary or a senior party leader addresses the media but with Yechury at the helm, party leaders say there will be more changes.
Shemin Joy, New Delhi

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