Off the Record


Saffron haunts MCD

Saffron colour, which is associated with the BJP, is haunting Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

As the city gets spruced up to host the Commonwealth Games in 2010, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has installed saffron colour streetlights across the city.

Though the new street lights have brightened the city, its colour has triggered a controversy.

The MCD has taken the decision to instal saffron colour lights, considering its high level of illumination.

The standing committee of the MCD has also recommended that the colour of railings of the city’s new flyovers should be saffron. As saffron is getting more visible everywhere in the city, Congress legislators have started complaining. They are demanding that the colour be changed to blue. But BJP councillors are against the move.

The chief minister is learnt to have been helpless as the MCD has already purchased huge quantity of saffron streetlights. Any changes mean that it would take another six months to procure new ones. With the Delhi government facing strong criticism for the delay in preparation for the grand sports meet, it is now groping in the dark on how to handle this ‘colour’ politics.

Ajith Athrady, New Delhi

Didi not happy

E Ahamed has been a bit worried ever since he was made a Minister of State in the Ministry of Railways. For, his boss Mamata Banerjee made her displeasure about him well known in the capital’s political circle on the very first day of his tenure in office.

Mamata was annoyed with Ahamed as the latter’s party, the Indian Union of Muslim League (IUML), had put up candidates against her All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) in West Bengal in the just-concluded polls. The IUML even put up a candidate against Mamata in Kolkata South. The AITC chief suspects that the IUML did so only to help the CPM by splitting anti-Communist Muslims.

Knowing well how difficult it is to work with an unhappy boss like Mamata, Ahamed had asked the West Bengal IUML unit president Shamim Shah Jahangir to explain why he had put up candidates against the AITC.

Ahamed, who was elected from Kerala, also repeatedly told journalist known to be close to Mamata that he had deliberately avoided campaigning for his party candidates in West Bengal.

He also sent out the message to his boss that his party was mainly fighting against the CPM and hence there is no chance of it supporting the Communists in West Bengal.

Ahamed’s efforts finally seem to be bearing fruits. Mamata recently asked him to review the railway expansion and other related projects in Assam.

Anirban Bhaumik, New Delhi

‘Popular’ visit by CM

First it was infrastructure development works, next it was slums in the city. On Sunday Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa declared that he will be visiting the spots of ‘bother’ that is hindering the Namma Metro project with his entourage.

The ‘populist’ CM, who has been routinely inaugurating and reviewing development works in the city, has been on a spree of making statements to keep the city agencies on their toes.

While the Sunday tour, of visiting infrastructure development projects has been shelved since his first trip, made well before the general elections, Yeddyurappa’s claim of visiting slums once a week has also seen no progress.

On being questioned, by media persons about the slow progress made by the Namma Metro, the CM — in a familiar tone — assured them of action.

“I will be visiting the spots where there has been a delay to check on the problems this week,” he said.

Sandeep, in Bangalore

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