'Off the record'

Parliament building in New Delhi (DH File Photo)

Green politics takes a backseat

In Kerala, some Congress leaders, including a former PCC president, an MLA-turned-MP and some young MLAs, often used to take pro-environment stands on many crucial issues involving a conflict between development and nature exploitation. However, after Congress ex-president Rahul Gandhi himself expressed solidarity with the stir at Wayanad against the traffic restrictions along Bandipur tiger reserve, these pro-environment Congress leaders have been quite silent. Some even visited those on hunger strike and expressed solidarity. Who wants to be in Rahul Gandhi’s bad books if it may cast a shadow over their political career?

Arjun Raghunath, Thiruvananthapuram


When allies turn enemies...

Six days after Patna remained submerged under waist-high water due to unprecedented rain and overflowing drains, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is in the line of fire. But guess who has launched a vitriolic attack against the JD(U) strongman? Not the RJD or the Congress. It’s the BJP leaders who are competing with each other in berating Nitish for the man-made flood in the state capital.

Leading the pack was Union Minister Giriraj Singh, followed by Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal who held Nitish squarely responsible for the inundation of Patna after 320 mm rainfall in three days. But adding insult to the injury was Nitish’s Cabinet colleague Suresh Sharma, the BJP MLA, who is also the urban development minister. While Sharma should have been held accountable for the entire mess, he was busy passing the buck than carrying out relief and rescue operations.

A pained JD(U) has asked the BJP top leadership to restrain its leaders and “mind their language” or else, the ties could turn sour.

Abhay Kumar, Patna


Now comes Namo

Here comes Namo, but it’s nothing political or related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is an album by Namo Fusion, a band from Mumbai, a brainchild of violinist Narayan Raman and guitarist Sarosh Izedyar. The music is a blend of Hindustani and Carnatic scales with western riffs and percussion loops. “Namo in Sanskrit means to bow down in respect. Our music is to spread the importance of respect,” said Raman.

Mrityunjay Bose, Mumbai


Behind every leader..

Senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda may be calling the shots in the party in Haryana today, but it was one Uday Bhan Punia who claims to have brought him in the organisation way back in 1976. Punia, the then president of the Rohtak district Youth Congress and a close aide of Sanjay Gandhi, claims credit of including Hooda, then a young lawyer, into a delegation that attended the Guwahati session of the AICC. But as irony would have it, Hooda went on to become a two-term chief minister of the state, while Punia is still struggling to get a party ticket to contest the assembly elections. After more than four decades in Congress, Punia was hopeful of a party ticket for the upcoming elections, but fate had willed otherwise.

Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi


Memories of a bond with chimp

The gentler side of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was seen when she recalled fond memories of Rita, the oldest chimpanzee in Delhi Zoo, who breathed her last recently. Priyanka took to Twitter to reminisce about her introduction to Rita during her visits to the zoo as a child. Priyanka happened to strike a friendship with Rita during her frequent visits to the zoo to see the lion that was gifted to her father late Rajiv Gandhi. Priyanka had developed a special bond with the lion, who was at the Gandhi residence for sometime before it was gifted to the zoo. “She was the gentlest, most beautiful and intelligent creature ever. R.I.P old friend,” the Congress leader said mourning the death of the 59-year-old chimpanzee on October 1.

Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi

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