Off the record


The JD(U) strongman Nitish Kumar was the most vocal of all defending the railway minister, who was charged with focusing more on Bengal than her ministry.
“It’s not the railway minister who orders change of platform for the incoming trains. So why blame her? ... And I am not saying this as a Bihar chief minister, but as a former railway minister,” quipped Nitish, who incidentally had succeeded Mamata at Rail Bhawan in 2000 after she quit the Vajpayee government.
Nitish’s defence (of the Trinamool chief) caught his alliance partner — the BJP — unawares, as it had, earlier in the day, tore her to shreds for inept handling of the
railways.
Forced to eat a humble pie, an embarrassed saffron leader later explained that since Lalu got an opportunity to slam his successor Mamata on the stampede issue, it was quite natural for his arch-rival Nitish to bail out the TMC chief.
“After all, my enemy’s enemy is my friend,” the BJP wag commented.
Abhay Kumar, Patna


The ‘monkey’ corporator
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike council meeting many a times turns into a ‘comedy of errors’. Certain corporators, while addressing the Mayor, make some hilarious and ridiculous comments making the entire house roar with laughter.
In the recent council meeting, when the Mayor was discussing issues related to leakages in water pipelines in the City, one corporator narrated an incident that was aired on a local news channel.
He said the channel had shown footages of a monkey, which turned off the running tap, while people passed by without noticing the wastage of water.
This corporator, addressing the Mayor, said he himself happened to notice a running tap and when he went to turn it off, onlookers compared and called him ‘kothi’ (monkey) from the TV.
The council hall, including the media, erupted with laughter after listening to this.
Even the Mayor could not control a smile. Later, the Mayor said if the corporator had not turned off the tap, he would have become a ‘kothi’.
Poornima Nataraj, Bangalore

Rahul Gandhi in UPA II team
A section of the Congress leaders are very eager to see Rahul Gandhi joining the UPA II government as a minister in the Manmohan Singh-led team.
However, till then, it has become a routine exercise for some of the Union ministers to knock at the doors of the Congress heir apparent’s house and explain to him about the schemes being implemented in their ministries.
During the formation of the UPA II government, Rahul Gandhi had said that he would apply his mind on joining the government only after the completion of the revival of the youth Congress. Though he has been working hard to restructure the youth wing of the party, by holding recruitment drives and conducting elections for the past one year, he
could — with great difficulty — hold elections in just five states.
While the Congress party is not sure when the elections in the rest of the states would be completed, some say “at the current pace, it would need a minimum of more than two years.
With this, the party is clueless as to when Rahul Gandhi would be joining the Manmohan team.
Ajith Athrady, New Delhi

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