Off the record

Off the record

Second guessing

Manohar Lal Khattar was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s choice to be Haryana chief minister when the BJP won the Assembly polls in 2014. As a Punjabi, Khattar was relatively an unknown non-Jat leader who was to help the party in the consolidation of non-Jat support in Haryana. Later, his style of functioning saw differences cropping up between him and other state ministers. But Khattar’s strong RSS background and the PM’s backing ensured that nobody questioned his authority.

However, the outburst of violence by Jats over the reservation issue has set top BJP leaders guessing if Khattar was the right choice. For the last 20 years, Jats were in power in Haryana and the CM came from the same community. With BJP in power since late 2014, the Jats feel they have be-en sidelined from power. Once the situation is brought under control, the party will have to think of Khattar’s replacement but then the decision will have to be taken by the person who put him there in the first place – the prime minister.
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Red revolution

‘Happy To Bleed’, a campaign started on Facebook to fight the taboo against menstruating women, has reached the doorsteps of the Supreme Co-urt. As the top court is all set to examine the restriction to wo-men’s entry in Kerala’s Sabarimala shrine, the campaign has been granted permission to present its arguments.

Temple authorities claim the Lord is worshipped in his celibate form. All the more, they claim statutory and Constitutional protections to stick to the practice of banning entry of women between 10 to 50 years. It would be interesting to see the line of arguments by the counsel from the campaign, for women normally avoid visiting any temple during their periods as they are considered ‘impure’.
Ashish Tripathi, New Delhi

Pain of betrayal

Not known for using couplets during his speeches, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhi-lesh Yadav took everyone by surprise when he recited a few while presenting his government’s last budget in the state assembly recently. “Jab se patwaron ne meri naav ko dhokha diya, main bhanwar mein tair-ne ka hausla rakhne laga (Since the paddles betrayed my boat, I have learnt to swim in the whi-rlpools),” he remarked. What surprised the listeners more was the use of the word ‘betrayal’. Who betrayed Akhilesh?
The Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders were quick to infer that Akhilesh had hinted at the non-cooperative attitude of the opposition parties and the media, which only highlighted the negative news from the state. The opposition members, however, claimed the CM was referring to the ‘chachas’ (uncles) as well as his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, who made his life difficult and repe-atedly embarrassed their own government during his stint.
Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow


That India and China jockey for influence in South Asia and beyond is well-known. But can a book also find itself at the centre of this race? Yes, it can, if it is the autobiography of a leader who gave birth to a new nation, now being ruled by the his daughter. Beijing, of late, came out with a Chinese translation of the autobiography of “Ban-gabandhu” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who led East Pakistan’s struggle for liberation from West Pakistan, leading to the birth of Bangladesh in 1971.

Chai Xi – Beijing’s former envoy to Dhaka – translated Bangabandhu’s “Asamapto Atmojiboni” from Bangla to Chinese. He presented it to Bangabandhu’s daughter and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, in Dhaka on January 28. New Delhi, of course, could not be a mute spectator to China’s latest move  to cast its influence over the “India-friendly” Bangladesh government. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj recently told Bangladesh’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Md Shahriar Alam, that India would also come out with a Hindi translation of the autobiography of “Bangabandhu”.
Anirban Bhaumik, New Delhi

Omar turns spy

Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah has won laurels from his political friends for “tracking” on his mobile unpublicised visit of BJP leader Ram Madhav to meet PDP’s Mehbo-oba Mufti to try and end the stalemate over government formation. As Madhav was on his way for the meeting, Omar says he used a flight tracker app and detected a chartered plane that landed in Srinagar from Delhi at an unusual time. He instantly tweeted, “Unscheduled flight VTJSG just landed in Srinagar after normal operation hours. Something is cooking with the PDP-BJP government formation.” He added that BJP general secretary “should fly under radar next time” to go undetected when he meets Mehbooba.
SI, New Delhi