Off the record

Off the record

Swamy ‘fans’

In what was his last speech in Rajya Sabha, as he retires next month, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh praised BJP MP Subramanian Swamy to corner Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. “Finance minister can get Swa-my to head a commission to review his GDP estimates and in this process he may end up saving his job as well,” he said. Though Jaitley does not have the best relations with Swamy, he used wit to counter Ramesh.

“I think Ramesh is the first Congressman to publicly praise Subramanian Swamy. He advised me to consult him. I am conscious of the experience and wisdom of Swamy who became the member of this house in 1974. I agree that Swamy is a well known economist. I will certainly consult him!”

Swamy is the complainant in the National Herald case in which Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and four other party leaders are facing criminal cha-rges. He is also in the forefront of the attack on Sonia in the Ag-ustaWestland copter deal insid-e and outside Parliament.
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Gandhi family

With the Uttar Pradesh elections less than a year away, a lot of attention is focused on what many see as warming of ties between the Gandhi cousins. First it was Union Minister Maneka Gandhi who made headlines after she cited the example of her sister-in-law Sonia Gandhi while suggesting ways to fight corruption in her constituency.

Even as her remark created ripples in the BJP, her son, Varun Gandhi, was seen supporting cousin Rahul on the subject of giving medical and legal aid to women married to NRI men during a parliamentary standing committee meeting for external affairs. Later, Rahul nodded in agreement to certain points raised by Varun. This came as a surprise to many in the committee.

However, when reporters tried to seek Rahul’s view on it, the Congress vice-president sought to downplay it and stated “We were there for the meeting, nothing else.” But it is no secret that Varun is not too happy the way the BJP has gone about his role in the UP affairs. The big question, therefore, is will he do anything to change his future course now?
SI, New Delhi

Fixed match

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav may not have done well on the state’s political pitch according to his rivals, but he has certainly performed well on the cricket pitch. He was declared “Man of the Match” and the “best cricketer” for the four-th time in a row. The Chief Minister’s XI defeated the UP IAS Officers’ XI in a friendly T-20 match played in Lucknow recently. It was the fourth successive loss for the officers’ team.

The video of the match, which is now in public domain, showed that the bureaucrats left no stone unturned to ensure that they lost the match. Chasing a target of 128 runs to win the match, the bureaucrats’ team managed to score 126 runs and lost the match by two runs. One would be wrong to assume that it was a closely fought match. The IAS officers’ team needed three runs to win in last two overs, but they could manage only two runs. A pliant bureaucracy after all.
Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow

Marketing strategist

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s assessment of the Congress’ state of affairs in Uttar Pradesh has many a leader from the state worried. In addition, the indication that it would be he who will finalise the candidates for the Assembly elections next year.
Kishor, who scripted successful poll campaigns of Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar, has reached out to the smallest party unit – the Block Congress Committees – across Uttar Pradesh. He is learned to have sought a list of probable candidates from the area during his interaction with block units.
Asked about Kishor’s meetings, a leader from Uttar Pradesh displayed unusual calm while dismissing reports that the strategist would finalise candidates. “If an MNC appoints a marketing strategist, he never decides the CEO,” he said suggesting that Kishor’s role would be limited to crafting the campaign for UP.
Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi

CBFC sees red

An attempt to make a biopic on controversial self-styled god woman Radhe Maa has failed to pass the scrutiny of the Central Board of Film Certification.

The movie titled “Hum Hai Naughty Naughty” had certain uncharitable comments on the Mumbai-based god woman which irked the Bollywood conscience keepers. Though producers filed an appeal to get the Censor Board’s decision on the movie reviewed, it was also turned down by the appellate screening body.
Dalip Singh, New Delhi

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