Off the Record

Off the Record

Caught in crossfire

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is not amused by reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office had informed his administration in advance about the CBI raid on the residence of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad. The Bihar CM got his office to issue a strong denial in this regard. Some reports have claimed that Nitish was informed by central government officials as they feared big trouble while searching the homes and properties of Lalu. So far, Nitish and his party JD(U) have remained tight-lipped about the raids.  

Nitish is already facing an angry RJD leadership, which has not minced words in accusing the JD(U) of providing “information” to the CBI to enable the conduct of raids. An uneasy relationship has prevailed between him and Lalu since Nitish decided to back the NDA presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind. A day before the raid, Nitish was away in Rajgir at his home district Nalanda reportedly due to health issues.  

Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Cap diplomacy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi donned a Himachali cap during his visit to Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial, which was built in memory of the Holocaust victims. Modi preferred to wear this cap rather than sport a Jewish skull cap. In 2011, Modi had refused to wear a skull cap offered by a maulana, kicking off a political row. This time, his decision to wear a Himachali cap with a maroon band in Israel has cheered BJP leaders in Himachal Pradesh,which goes to polls next year.

Former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal tweeted: “I would like to thank Narendra Modi ji for using Himachal’s cap as a cro­wn in Israel.” His son and former BCCI chairman and Lok Sabha member Anurag Thak­ur said, “This is indeed a proud moment for all the Himachalis and on behalf of all my fellow brothers, sisters and near and dear ones, I would once again like to thank Modi wholeheartedly for this gesture.”

SI, New Delhi

To sir, with love

Days after none of the Union ministers turned up for an Iftar party hosted by the President, Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday paid honours to Pranab Mukherjee calling him “a teacher” on the occ­asion of Guru Purnima, bowing down before him as a mark of respect here at a function.

The Union minister also felicitated the President by presenting him a slate as memento, announcing that the HRD ministry would publish a book compiling all the speeches that Mukherjee gave while addressing students and faculties during his term as the President. In return, Mukherjee also praised the HRD minister. He noted that Javadekar has been able to leave his mark on every responsibility he has been given so far.

Prakash Kumar, New Delhi

Fool’s gold

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s golden bracelet was recently sold at an auction in Sangareddy and it was purchased by a Congress leader for Rs 20 lakh. The Rs 4 lakh bracelet was actually gifted to him by senior Congress leader V Hanumantha Rao at the Sangareddy public meeting intended to revive the fortunes of the grand old party. However, Rahul refused to accept it and politely returned it to the maverick leader who wanted to score over other loyalists.

The Telangana Congress unit then, as a face-saving plan, announced that they would auction it and the proceedings would be distributed among the chili farmers of Khammam district who were arrested for riots at the market yard deman­ding support price for their produce. However, a post-auction background check of the person who bought the brace­let revealed that he was, in fact, a farmer from Khammam.

JBS Umanadh, Hyderabad

Army of bachelors

Contrary to the earlier practice, the army has now made it mandatory for youth seeking recruitment in the military to file a declaration stating that they are bachelors. This has been done to escape the complexities that may arise out of a married youth joining the fighting force. All youth 21 years of age or below now need to take an oath that they are unmarried at the time of recruitment.

The premise on which this decision has been put to effect is that in the unfortunate event of a casualty of a just-recruited married soldier, the compensation claims by the wife can be avoided. Military recruitments in parts of Punjab and Haryana have also witnessed cases of youth using false documents, even fake identity, to don the olive green. The army has made the processes stringent to weed out such youth from getting into the force.

Gautam Dheer, Chandigarh
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