Off the record

Behind her man

Fighting a tough electoral battle, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had recently said that wives always stood by their husbands in difficult times. He was referring to his politician-wife, Dimple Yadav, who had played an important role in stitching the electoral alliance with the Congress and had also helped in galvanising party workers during the Samajwadi Party family feud.

Dimple, a Lok Sabha MP from Kannauj and a star campaigner for the SP, came to the rescue of her husband, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to debunk Akhilesh’s ‘kaam bolta hai’ (work speaks) slogan and replaced it with ‘karname bolte hain’ (misdeeds speak). Dimple, at election rallies, recited the popular song from Amitabh Bachchan’s movie Lawaris: ‘Mere anganey mein tumhara kya kaam hai...

jo hai naam wala wohi to badnam hai' (there is no room for outsiders (Modi) in my home (UP); those who work are the ones to be defamed). The comeback proved to be a hit with SP workers.
Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow

Wish granted

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who unveiled a 112-foot tall bust of Adiyogi Shiva at the foothills of Velliangiri hills near Coimbatore, was gifted with a stole with Shiva’s picture from organiser Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev. As the event was shown live, a Twitter user, Shilpi Tewari, tweeted: “I WANT that stole of PM Modi.”

Modi’s office alerted the PM, who was tagged in the tweet. The next day, Tewari received the stole along with Modi’s signature on a piece of paper with her tweet. Overwhelmed, she took to the micro-blogging site again to say, “Am I dreaming? I can't think how to respond. Matlab, kamaal hi kar diya. (I can’t believe it)!”
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Costly tip-off

Senior DMK leaders are foxed to learn that AIADMK leaders belonging to the Sasikala camp got wind of their strategy to disrupt the February 18 vote, which was won by the latter’s nominee, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami. Apparently, when DMK MLAs created bedlam in the House seeking a secret ballot for show of strength, AIADMK MLAs were under strict orders to show restraint and not play into the DMK hands.

Even as DMK MLAs were rough with the Speaker, the AIADMK MLAs sat composed waiting for the chair to evict them. The vote was taken after DMK MLAs were sent out. AIADMK leaders believed that the DMK wanted to incite them to attack before the vote and then blame them for the violence inside the House. Now, an inquiry is supposed to have begun within the DMK circles as to who among them tipped off their rivals!  
SI, New Delhi

Backfired move

Last week, women leaders of the Congress sought to “exp­ose” the supposed participation of BJP leaders in a sex racket in Naliya in Gujarat. Mahila Congress chief Shobha Oza demanded action against BJP leaders and wanted to know whether Prime Minister Modi and BJP president Amit Shah condoned such actions of their followers. Little did Congress leaders know that these accusations could hurt them as well and that too very soon.

One of the vice presidents of the Bihar Congress was also facing allegations of molesting a minor girl. Congress leaders found themselves in an awkward situation when questions were raised about this at a time they were going hammer and tongs against the BJP. No wonder, the vice president in question had to tender his resignation the same day.
Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi

On-duty always

Writer-turned-diplomat Vikas Swarup was doing a routine media briefing, answering questions on behalf of the Government of India, at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan in New Delhi recently. As the interaction wrapped up, a text message informed journalists that Swarup had been appointed as the High Commissioner of India to Canada. As congratulations poured in, he announced that it was his last media briefing as the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, a job he has held since 2015.

Swarup will have to rush to Ottawa, as the Canadian government had conveyed that the earliest slot he could present his credentials to the Governor General could be sometime in the first week of March. And, if it is missed, he may have to wait for four more months to be formally acknowledged as India’s envoy to Canada. So, as Swarup gets busy packing, scribes are keenly waiting for MEA Joint Secretary (Pakistan-Afghanis-tan-India) Gopal Bagley to take over as the new face of the Government of India to the world.  
Anirban Bhaumik, New Delhi

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