Off the record

Low profile Sushma

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is pleased with herself for fending off tricky questions at her press conference, which focused on her not-so-great relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

So much so, Swaraj, who has been very careful to avoid limelight on herself, tweeted after her interaction with the media: “Last question in my press conference: What is the secret of your success ? My Ans: Stay away from the media and do your own work.” Swaraj defended Modi from repeated barbs from journalists about his frequent foreign trips. Stating that a ‘proactive’ PM was not a ‘challenge,’ Swaraj made it clear that Modi has not imposed any “restrictions” on her and it was she who prefers to keep a “low profile”!
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Toilet use

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have asked the law ministry to prepare a Central legislation to impose fine for urinating, spitting, throwing garbage in public places, making graffiti on public walls without permission, polluting water bodies, including rivers or lakes by dumping wastes.

But his home city has come up with a novel initiative. Instead of anyone paying a small amount for using public conveniences, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation will actually do the reverse and pay the user of the toilet.  

The civic corporation is actually planning to pay Re 1 to every person who is using the public toilet with an aim popularise its usage and the initiative will be implemented in 67 nuisance creating spots. This is to put an end or at least minimise open defecation! Of course, this scheme will be apart from imposing heavy fines for offenders. Last hea-rd, PMO officials are keen to know how it works out as part of “Clean India” campaign.
SI, New Delhi

Priyanka’s mansion

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Vadra is making sure her mansion up in the hills, a little ahead of Shimla, is completed fast and to her precise linking. In one month, Priyanka has visited her under-construction summer sojourn twice.

Saturday last, he drove from Chandigarh to Shimla along with her architect as she wanted some clear cut changes, essentially in the balconies of her house to get a clear view of the snow-clan mountains and forest area. Both spent a couple of hours here. Priyanka then drove to nearby five star hotel Wildflower Hall to spend the night.

Last month, Sonia Gandhi had accompanied Priyanka to Shimla. The family then was reportedly on a short vacation of sorts.

Priyanka is touchy about her upcoming house in the hills and has put to effect several changes ever since the house started to be built some years ago.
Gautam Dheer, Chandigargh

Free loaders

Owners of the hotels and eateries in Chennai’s R K Nagar, which is going for bye-elections where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha is contesting, were scared of local politicians in the last one week. Almost all the ministers and important party functionaries are camping in the constituency, which is going to bye-poll on June 27.
Some people in R K Nagar, posing as party senior cadres, started asking to serve food free of cost at big hotels not only for them but also for several other who accompany th-em. Frequent request for "free food" and that too non-vegetarian dishes, irked the proprietors of the hotels, who lodged complain with the police.

However, police too are in a tight situation whether to book the "free loaders" or not. Hoteliers claim that they already lost several thousands of rupees on "free food service.".
R Sathyanarayana, Chennai

Games they play

The elections to the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), one of the prestigious cricketing bodies of the country, is appearing to be heading a clash of politicians. As of now, NCP supremo and former Union minister Sharad Pawar, who is the president, may go unchallenged. The elections are due on June 17.

Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar has joined hands with the ruling Bal Mahaddalkar group. Four years ago, he contested the polls but lost to late Vilasrao Deshmukh. The ‘Cricket First’ group, headed by Dr Vijay Patil of DY Patil Sports Academy, is planning to rope in Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai, a close confidant of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, to contest the presidential post, but nothing is clear. RPI chief Ramdas Athawale is expected to contest the vice president’s post.
Mrityunjay Bose, Mumbai

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