Off the record: December 28, 2020

Off the record: December 28, 2020

The crowd-puller?

For long, DMK MP Kanimozhi did not get the importance that she deserved in the party though she comes from the first family. But her recent tour to western districts of Tamil Nadu where the party is considered weak during which she pulled huge crowds has forced the DMK to have a rethink on the way it deals with her. With Kanimozhi striking a chord with women who form a major vote base for AIADMK under J Jayalalithaa, the DMK has realised the importance of reaching out to women. Not just she gets considerable airtime on Kalaignar TV, owned by the DMK’s first family, news and photos relating to her campaign are displayed prominently in Murasoli, DMK’s mouthpiece. It took a message from the ground for DMK to recognise “talent”?

E T B Sivapriyan, Chennai 

BJP’s outreach

BJP’s outreach to the Christian communities in Kerala has gained momentum with Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled to meet various denominations in the next seven to 10 days. Mizoram Governor and former Kerala BJP chief P Sreedharan Pillai has done the background work for the meetings, which is coming months ahead of the Assembly polls in the state. The first meeting will be held on Monday with the Catholicate faction of the Jacobite church, which is in a fight with the rival Patriarch faction. This will be followed by Modi’s meeting with the Patriarch faction on Tuesday. The Prime Minister is likely to explore unity among both the factions. A meeting is scheduled with the Catholic Church in the first week of January. It is to be seen how the meetings are going to pan out electorally, with both the CPI(M)-led LDF and Congress-led UDF keenly watching the outcome.

Shemin Joy, New Delhi 

Valley in the dark 

With the onset of winter in Kashmir, the unscheduled and prolonged power cuts become an unwritten rule as the power demand shoots up. The frequent power breakdowns have become a source of big heart, headaches for people across the Valley. While the region witnesses a 10-12% increase in power demand annually the availability is limited. The frequent power cuts do not only affect studies of students and business of the shopkeepers but, it creates hardships for the ailing people as well. Many Covid-19 patients, who are on oxygen support at their homes face threat to their lives whenever electricity goes off, as their oxygen concentrators become defunct. However, in Kashmir, you learn to live with poor power supply and low internet speed. One thing is common in both the services--both are pathetic.

Zulfikar Majid, Srinagar 

Dwindling funds

Congress’ political pitch targeting top businessmen and ‘crony capitalists’ appears to have taken a hit on raising funds for the party. A senior Congress leader said the ‘Bombay Club’ is unhappy at the ‘anti-business’ stand taken by Rahul Gandhi and the personalised attacks against top businessmen. In the passing away of AICC Treasurer Ahmed Patel last month, the party has lost a person who had close ties with some of the top business houses, a relationship considered unparalleled by many in the party. Congress has appointed former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal as the interim Treasurer who may find Patel’s shoes too big to fit.

Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi 

A frenzy

It was on Christmas day that news channels went to town with the news break that Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram is going to get the youngest mayor in the country, 21-year old Arya Rajendran. Reporters made a beeline to her house and even national media took up the news with prominence. But the CPM was maintaining that no such ‘decision’ was taken yet by the party and even Arya said she was yet to receive any official communication from the party. It was learnt that the CPM district committee recommendation was awaiting party-state leadership’s nod. It seemed that the CPM was left with no room for a rethink as even celebrities like actor Mohanlal rang up and congratulated her and even youth leaders of opposition camps hailed the prominence being given by CPM to young leaders. She was announced as the party's mayoral candidate on Sunday.  

Arjun Raghunath, Thiruvananthapuram