off the record

Left can join the ‘right’!

The issue of allying with the BJP has always been a difficult question for the left.

However, it enjoyed being a part of the Bharat bundh on July 5. They did not share any platform. They maintained an ideological distance, yet could join to oppose the UPA government.

The Congress was surprised by their proximity. Congress leaders had assumed that these political formations could not come together and separate movements against fuel price hike would not be affective. Lalu Prasad and Ramvilas Paswan too had same views. But everything turned out differently.

CPM general secretary Prakash Karat and BJP president Nitin Gadkari were the happiest lot after the success of the bundh. Gadkari declared of shedding political untouchability. “Congress wants us to fight with each other, so that it can rule,” a NDA leader said.

Not only the BJP but the Left also is happy over the development. Left sympathisers say that communalism is one of the issues, not the only issue. We must come together to oppose anti-people policies of the government. In his article, Prakash Karat has already defended NDA’s opposition.

“The left’s realisation for a need of opposition unity will give sleepless nights to the Congress. But, the left leaders never talked to BJP leaders on the issue”, says a NDA leader. It is clear, Left leaders would like to have such arrangements in future, where they need not go to BJP to have a joint action!

Anil Sinha, New Delhi

Tongas history now

A 400-year-old, Mughal-era vestige of Delhi has just been relegated to the pages of history, with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) banning horse-driven tongas on its streets. Though an outdated mode of transport, it had been popular with both locals and tourists.

Now, with the civic bodies in the city on an overdrive to make Delhi the most happening city in the run up to the Commonwealth Games, the tongas were only waiting to be banished.

This weekend, the MCD demolished the only stable for horses that draw the tongas. The tonga drivers have been asked to use licences given to them to become vendors in Shastri Park area across the Yamuna river.

MCD officials said the stable on the Asaf Ali Road was removed to decongest the area. One official even remarked that there was no demand for such modes of transport in today’s fast-moving age.

Utpal Borpujari, New Delhi


Card seva

Ever since he took over as the chief minister of Bihar in 2005, Nitish Kumar has released a report card about his government’s performance after completion of every 12 months.
“The NDA government has changed the face of Bihar. People now live in peace and harmony… No caste clash, no carnage, no kidnapping for ransom. I don’t claim that crime has been completely wiped out, but nowadays criminals are nabbed and sent behind bars after proper trial,” said Nitish while releasing his fifth and final report card on Friday.
But his arch-rival Lalu Prasad said: “What’s new in the report card? There are big photographs of the chief minister and compilation of promises which will never be implemented.”

LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said: “The ground reality in Bihar is different from the rosy picture being portrayed by the state government. We will file our own chargesheet in the people’s court”.

“The report card reminds us about the BJP’s ‘India shining’ campaign, which spelt doom for the NDA in 2004,” said spokesperson of Bihar Congress Prem Chandra Mishra.
An unfazed Nitish refused to join the issue. “I don’t want to react. In the next couple of months, politically-conscious voters of the state will assess who stands where,” quipped the JD(U) strongman.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

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