Off the record

Off the record

Powerless MLAs 

“The legislators have no power. They can do little other than raising the problems concerning people in the legislative Assembly and sit.” No. These are not the words of anyone having a misconception about the role and power of a legislator in the states. In fact, this is the observation made by none other than the newly appointed Speaker of Gujarat Assembly Ramanlal Vora. He said this while speaking at a public function in Junagadh recently. And no, he also did not think that he had put his foot in his mouth. 

“What I meant was that whatever legislators say in the Assembly does not become a law. That requires a different procedure to be followed, and in that context I said that legislators have no other work other than talking,” he clarified before mediapersons after the event. Perhaps, Vora was merely stating his experience as a legislator and a minister, especially with the Modi-Shah duo calling all the shots in the state for over a decade! 
Sunil Raghu, Ahmedabad

Mystery truce 

The BJP and the Shiv Sena may have had political differences despite being allies for several decades. However, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray appear to be on the same footing on several issues, and in recent times, they have also been seen together at many functions. Amidst tensions, a couple of months ago, state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar brokered peace. 

Whether it is a mega tree plantation drive or the unveiling of a new housing policy, they have appeared together since. This has baffled even Congress and NCP leaders. Is this a sign of the calm ahead of a storm? The mega civic polls, including in Mumbai, are slated for February next year and both leaders seem to be keeping each other in good humour and the others guessing.
Mrityunjay Bose, Mumbai

Bumpy ride 

The other day, amid strict curfew in restive Kashmir, which is on the boil for over two months, CM Mehbooba Mufti launched a special scooty scheme for college girls in Jammu. Though her government made wearing of the helmet mandatory for pillion riders a few months ago, she was seen enjoying a joyride on the backseat wearing a smile on her face with her head covered by nothing but a scarf. Speaking at another function and recalling her schooldays, Mehbooba said she would sp-end more time eating gol guppa (paani puri) than studying.

Amid humanitarian crises in Kashmir, Mehbooba is often seen celebrating the launch of new schemes in Jammu, while the opposition National Conference equates her with Nero of Rome. Her predecessor and opposition leader Omar Abdullah tweeted that she jokes about her “misspent youth” when two more youth have been killed in the state. He almost asked why the CM should have all the fun when her people continue to die. 
Zulfikar Majid, Srinagar

Guv picking 

The Centre has earmarked one gubernatorial post each to three of its allies – the TDP, the Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Andhra Pra-desh CM N Chandrababu Naidu is said to have pressed for the name for TDP’s Telangana Dalit leader Motkupalli Narasimhulu for appointment as governor. The names of other nominees are awaited from the Sena and the SAD. However, it is not clear whether Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will let any senior leader from his party become a governor. 

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa is said to be upset that K Rosaiah, who enjoyed good equations with her, did not get an extension. He was replaced by Maharashtra governor Vidyasagar Rao in acting capacity. The tenure of Rosaiah, a former Andhra CM, saw the unseating of Jayalalithaa in Sept 2014 after she was convicted by a special court in Bengaluru in the disproportionate assets case. She returned as CM when the Karnataka HC acquitted her. Initially, PM Narendra Modi wanted former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel to become Tamil Nadu governor. But, apparently, Patel has not given her consent yet. 
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Jittery BJP 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s greetings to Jaya TV on completing 18 years of telecast has perplexed Tamil Nadu BJP leaders who are trying to chart an independent course in the state. As the channel that is seen as the official voice of CM Jayalalithaa went to town with Modi’s greetings, the state BJP leaders wondered whether the PM’s office would send similar greets to other TV channels when they celebrate their anniversaries – like DMK family-owned Kalaignar TV, the Ma-ran brothers’ Sun TV, DMDK leader Vijayakanth’s Captain TV and the PMK’s Maakal TV. “What are we to make of this? Will BJP ever chart a separate political course in Tamil Nadu?” asked a vexed state BJP leader.  
SI, New Delhi
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