Off the record

Off the record

AAP’s heartburn

Navjot Singh Sidhu’s likely announcement on Monday to join the AAP is creating heartburn among certain senior party leaders in Punjab. They don’t want Sidhu to be named as the candidate for the coveted post of chief minister in case the party comes to power in poll-bound Punjab. Senior AAP leaders feel the Punjab team has done a lot of leg work to bring the political green party on its feet ahead of elections.

Sidhu, they feel, will walk away with much of the credit for ‘AAP’s success’ in elections. They indicate settling him for the post of deputy CM. The party is already grappling with serious internal wrangling. Two of the four AAP MPs are under suspension for ‘anti-party activities.’ Much will depend on how the AAP performs in the polls. Sidhu brings along credibility and the sting to take on the Badals and the Congress.
Gautam Dheer, Chandigarh

All for Rajini

A senior personal assistant to a minister in Tamil Nadu got into controversy after he issued a recommendation letter to a person under his boss’ letterhead to secure movie tickets for Rajinikanth's Kabali at a theatre in Chennai. In his letter dated July 15, addressed to the manger of Abirami theatre in Chennai, the minister’s subordinate demanded 10 tickets for Kabali’s first show on July 22. The letter also contained the Tamil Nadu government’s official date seal.

However, it was not known whether the movie tickets were issued to the bearer of the letter of not. Just a day before the release of the movie, the letter was photographed and circulated in the social media and WhatsApp. Unaware of the “leak” of his letter, the official came to office the next day only to feel the wrath of his superior for abusing his official position.
Sathyanaryana R, Chennai

Clean-up time

In a bid to take the sting off Akali Dal leaders’ barbs, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal scrubbed dishes at Amritsar’s Golden Temple before daybreak as an apology for what he called an “unintentional mistake.” The AAP’s youth manifesto had us-ed the image of the Sikh shrine with the party symbol, the broom. As advised by Punjab AAP leaders, Kejriwal was careful to avoid sweeping the floors – considered an important service for penance – lest he be accused of using his party symbol at the shrine! With folded hands and a handkerchief covering his head, the CM went around the shrine complex, offered prayers and later washed utensils at the “Langar hall” or the community kitchen which serves food to over one lakh people in a single day.
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Poles apart

Ever since he took charge of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry from his predecessor Smriti Irani earlier this month, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar seems to be on a mission to change the perception about the functioning of the ministry which has mostly remained in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Be it the debate over Irani’s qualifications or the suicide of PhD scholar Rohith Vemula and the subsequent unrest in UoH and the fracas on JNU campus, all the public attention that the HRD Ministry has gained so far was for the accusations of saffronising education.

Soon after taking up his new role, Javadekar spread the word that improving the quality of education and making it accessible to every one was the only intent of the Narendra Modi government. He then invited suggestions from people on a new education policy, saying education was not for party politics. He not only held a meeting with the correspondents covering his ministry to understand the problems and issues that the education sector is facing today, but also recognised the role of media in nation’s development, apparently putting himself in contrast to his immediate predecessor.  
Prakash Kumar, New Delhi

Rift in making

There appears to be a faultline developing between senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot, also a former CM, and the state in-charge of the Congress in Rajasthan, Gurudas Kamat. Once considered good colleagues, the duo were caught in an indirect war of words in the Congress Working Committee’s first meeting in Jaipur. Kamat indirectly expressed displeasure over Gehlot’s reaction to his retirement a month ago. The latter had said that Kamat’s abrupt resignation does not send a good message.

In an offensive mood, Geh-lot, without taking Kamat’s name, said in the meeting that Congress members were using blackmail politics to realise their vested interests. He slyly mentioned Kamat’s desire of securing a ticket for the MP election and his subsequent failure at it, as the reason for resignation. Kamat’s return to active politics is seen as a good sign in the Congress. However, it’s hard to say if it will unite or further divide the two leaders.
Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi, Jaipur

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