Off the record

A thoughtful gardener

The coalition master and union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is a busy man these days with politicians from Karnataka queuing up at his 5, South Avenue Lane residence to bolster their political careers ahead of the Rajya Sabha and Karnataka Legislative Council elections.

Stressed out Azad often unwinds in his garden, which has now become a matter of envy to many of his neighbours.

In the morning and afternoon, whenever he is at home, Azad tends to the plants without even waiting for the official gardener.

The garden has become so dear to this former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir that he even refuses to leave his present bungalow and go to a bigger house, he is eligible for.

The garden has become his own baby, for which Azad has all the time despite the pressure of managing a coalition government and a mammoth ministry, besides political hangers-on who are always there.

Little surprise that Azad’s garden has won awards three consecutive years for being one of the best-maintained gardens in Lutyen’s Delhi.
Kalyan Ray, New Delhi

Calling up the wrong number

Former BJP leader and former Bhartiya Janshakti chief Uma Bharati is desperately trying to join her old party, but without success.

It has never been so hard for others; even Jaswant Singh is not finding it difficult. Uma tried all her contacts but failed. She recently made another attempt through the National Democratic Alliance Convener Sharad Yadav, who belongs to her home state, Madhya Pradesh and has been a champion of backward class politics.

But this route too failed. When asked, Yadav revealed that BJP leadership had some problems with her.

Those who sympathise with her are taking pity on the fact that she chose Sharad Yadav as a rescuer.

He could not help his own partymen in Bihar, who organised a rebellion against Nitish kumar, but found Sharad simply letting them down.

Uma lost this time too by choosing a wrong number to make a come back!
Anil Sinha, New Delhi

Chinese checker

Notwithstanding the Chinese claim, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has cited historical evidence to describe Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India.

The Buddhist leader, who was in Patna to inaugurate the Buddha Smriti Park, said, “A pre-Indian Independence agreement to which the 13th Dalai Lama was a signatory along with the British Indian government, confirms the international boundary wherein Arunachal falls clearly within the Indian territory.”

To buttress his point, Dalai Lama further said, “The fact that the Chinese army withdrew from the Arunachal area during the 1962 aggression was a tacit acknowledgment of the Indian suzerainty over the state.”

Terming the Communist regime in China as a strange case of a capitalist economy, the Tibetan guru said the country had a huge rich-poor gap in which the Communist Party of China represented the ‘haves’.

He said the Tibetan cause was now finding growing support among the Chinese intelligentsia, which raised hope for the cause he had been championing for the last 50 years.

Dalai Lama, however, put the blame of spurt in naxalism in India on the government’s failure to reach the fruits of development to the poorest section of the society.

“Besides, exploitation of lower caste by the dominating upper caste is another root cause of the problem,” the Tibetan spiritual leader averred, before winding up his Bihar trip.
Abhay Kumar, Patna

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