Off the record

Off the record

In a beefy spot
K Surendran is still fighting it out with beef-loving Kerala’s campaigners over the cattle sale curbs. The BJP general secretary gets points for resilience, considering how badly his recent defence of the ban went. He posted on Facebook a cropped image of cattle slaughtered elsewhere, to condemn Kerala’s beef festival protests.

Soon, the original, uncropped photograph was unearthed, with Bangla script on shops in the background. While some websites reported that it was clicked in Uttar Pradesh, Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac identified the image as part of a 2015 series of photographs from Pakistan. 

Beef, incidentally, has been Surendran’s scourge in the past as well. In 2015, he was cornered over a photograph of him supposedly having parottas and beef. He responded that the controversial side-dish was “onion curry”. No, the trolls haven’t stopped. 
R Krishnakumar,

Last judgement 
Rajasthan High Court judge Mahesh Chandra Sharma grabbed nationwide attention last week after he came up with the unique theory that the peacock should be the national bird as it is “celibate.” Within an hour of passing an order suggesting the Central and state governments to ensure that the cow be declared India’s national animal, he said at a media interaction, “Peahens become pregnant by swallowing the tears of the peacock.” His comments became viral with Facebook and Twitter users putting up jokes and songs on peacock.

There were, however, more interesting statements that were part of his 139 page judgement: “33 crore gods and goddesses reside inside the cow and the animal appeared along with goddess Lakshmi during the churning of the ocean in Hindu mythology; Cow is the only living being which intakes oxygen and emits oxygen and the animal is a hospital in itself.” Not surprisingly, this memorable viral order was his last judgement, as Sharma retired last Wednesday.
Tabeenah Anjum, Jaipur

Raiding the rich
The recent NIA raids, probing suspected funding of separatist leaders in the Valley, carried out at the residences of some high-profile Kashmiri businessmen in Srinagar created a flutter among the Kashmir Inc. The list of those raided included the who’s who of the Valley’s rich and famous. The Kashmir Inc said “this witch hunting campaign is being launched to hurt our economic interests.”

As if that was not enough, a business tycoon-turned-PDP minister took a dig at the channels for portraying Kashmir in a negative way; he, however, remains out of danger because of his close proximity to Delhi’s power corridors. Once upon a time, the J&K Police had raided this business magnate’s residence on charges of channelling hawala funds to militant organisations through the cover of legitimate businesses.
Zulfikar Majid, Srinagar

Birthday gift 
The BJP has taken strong objection to the Nitish regime’s plan to inaugurate the two bridges over Ganga on June 11 as a birthday gift to Lalu Prasad. Lalu’s son Tejaswi Yadav, who is the Road Construction Minister in Bihar, besides the Deputy CM, had announ­ced that the bridges will be a gift to his father. “It will be very unfair to people of Bihar if it so happens. If Tejaswi wants to gift something to his father, he should do so from the “property acquired” by him,” said senior BJP leader Sushil Modi.

Arguing that the bridges should be named after Jaya Prakash Narayan (JP), he said, “The two bridges (one connecting Ara with Chapra, another connecting Patna with Chapra) should be inaugurated on June 5, instead of on Lalu’s birthday.” He reasoned that it was on June 5, 1975 that JP launched Sampoorna Kranti (total revolution) against the Indira Gandhi regime, and hence it has a historical significance. Nitish has, meanwhile, maintained a studied silence on the issue.
Abhay Kumar, Patna

Unhappy Rahul
The controversy over suspected impropriety and “benami” transactions in sand mining action by a powerful Punjab cabinet minister has left Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi “miffed,” it is learnt. In a meeting in New Delhi last week, Ra­hul is learnt to have conveyed to Punjab CM Capt Amarinder that the image of the party was being dented by the raging buzz surrounding power minister Rana Gurjit Singh.

Singh’s former employees, including his “cook,” with meager salaries, bid and bagged sand mines in Punjab worth nearly Rs 50 crore. Though Capt is under pressure to act against his cabinet colleague, he has managed to put off the issue, at least for now, saying he will wait until the outcome of the judicial probe ordered against Rana Gurjit.
Gautam Dheer, Chandigarh