Off the record

Off the record

Naga accord, a throwback

Prime Minister Narendra Mo-di’s keenness to secure the Naga accord on August 3 remi-nded many of the then PM Rajiv Gandhi securing the Assam accord in the midnight of Aug-ust 14, 1985 so that he could announce it the next morning fr-om Red Fort. Old timers recall that when Assam leaders said that they couldn’t sign it till the-ir 60-member executive council okayed it, Gandhi sent a pla-ne to fetch them from Guwaha-ti. The deal was signed at 3 am.

In the latest case, both Modi and the NSCN leaders were keen that the “wishes” of ailing NSCN (I-M) chairman Isak Chishi Swu were honoured. With his health sinking, Swu wanted at least a “framework” agreement in his lifetime. So, the talk of an accord was in the air since July 17, when a Nagaland delegation had met Modi. He had told them, “You expect 100 per cent. (But) if I give you 80 per cent, doesn’t mean I will not give 20 per cent.” Interestingly, this “80 per cent” had do-minated the discussion on the Naga political issue in Nagala-nd Assembly on July 23 and 24.
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Straight talk

Former National Security Adviser M K Narayanan is not too impressed with the capture of Pakistani militant Mohamed Naved Yakub alias Usman. He has not minced words in telling those who sought his opinion that Naved doesn’t look like he belongs to the Lashkar group and a more sinister angle be could involved because his ha-ndlers let him be caught alive.

Also, he thinks that his interrogation will not lead to any big revelations. However, the security officials believe that, at lea-st, Naved could help in uncovering a network in the Kashmir valley that is working in tandem with those across the border.
SI, New Delhi

Cast(e)ing net

The BJP, which claims to be a party with a difference, has apparently put development on the back-burner. Much like the caste-based regional outfits in Bihar, the saffron camp has been assiduously wooing the dalits and Mahadalits, fully aware that this 15 per cent marginalised section will make or mar the prospects of different political groups. The party, which enjoys an unequivocal support of the upper caste section, is, therefore, making sincere efforts to build a rainbow coalition where even the oppressed feel they have a say.

No wonder then, a day before Narendra Modi addressed a rally in Gaya – the home turf of self-appointed Mahadalit icon Jitan Ram Manjhi – the NDA regime appointed Ram Nath Kovind, a former Rajya Sabha member from dalit community from neighbouring UP, as Bihar Governor. As Nitish cried foul for not being consulted over the appointment, the BJP charged him with showing disrespect again to a dalit, mu-ch like he had done to Manjhi.
Abhay Kumar, Patna

‘Vastu’ politico

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Prasad Harichandan is an ardent believer of “vastu shastra”. A few days back structural changes were made at the Congress Bhawan, the state party headquarters in Bhubaneswar, as per vastu principles. And if party sources are to be believed, they were done under the direct supervision of Harichandan. The move, obviously, was aimed at changing the fortune of the party in the eastern state after its repeated drubbing in the hands of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) election after election since last 15 years.

However, the vastu impact is yet to be seen on the party which continues to be a divided house – a major reason why it has not been able to take on the Naveen Patnaik-led regional outfit properly. In-fighting in the party resurfaced again a few days ago, when a group of party legislators rushed to New Delhi to meet the high comm-and without informing the PCC chief on some internal issues.
S T Beuria, Bhubaneswar

Tiger fanmail

Maharashtra’s Finance and Planning Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar is a big fan of Amitabh Bachchan. And the fan in him came out when he wrote to the superstar to join the tiger conservation initiative. Recently, he had written to Ba-chchan and cricketing maestro Sachin Tendulkar to visit the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in his home district of Chandrapur in Vidarbha region.

In his letter, Mungantiwar, who is also the Forest Minister, states, “As an ardent fan, I have grown up seeing many of your films right from Saat Hindustani to the recent Piku and vividly remember your song in the film Mr Natwarlal ‘ghane jangalon se’... I remember the scene where you ward off a tig-er attack. The fight here is different though. From reel life to real life, we now seek your assi-stance...” he said and urged Big B to be the brand ambassador.
Mrityunjay Bose, Mumbai

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