iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

Shailesh Gaikwad, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, August 15, 2009
Mumbai’s citizens may be critical of the way the state administration has handled the swine flu outbreak in Mumbai and Pune but our leaders in the ruling Congress-NCP combine are not complaining. Because the 24x7 coverage of the swine flu has shifted the focus from spiralling prices, which would have been far more damaging. So, even as many of us question the move to shut down schools and theatres, our netas are encouraging the panic. Better us than them, they think, with elections just around the corner.

Netas vs the people

But what has made our leaders angry is Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak’s SMS poll to decide whether Mumbai’s schools should shut or not. Why should he consult the people when they have elected us to talk on their behalf, they question. They’re irked because they are convinced they have a monopoly over the janata’s opinion. They are even planning to petition CM Ashok Chavan to get Phatak removed. Should Phatak go? SMS your opinion to Chavan.

Policing problem

So, will state police chief S.S. Virk be able to handle the elections this time around? During the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission had ordered him to stay away from elections because of his alleged proximity to the Congress. This time around, however, it has issued no such directive though the elections are barely two months away. When the press asked Chief Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla in Mumbai why, on Thursday, he was not forthcoming with an answer. Now, does it have something to do with the fact that a Congress-led government is in power at the Centre?

Waiting for Chavan

If, like us, you're wondering what is happening to two sealinks — the Worli-Haji Ali stretch and the Sewri-Nhava one — well, we have company. The ministers in Ashok Chavan’s cabinet are clueless, too. The sealink and other projects are awaiting a nod from our ultra-busy CM.

Busy doing what? Inaugurating new projects in his hometown of Nanded, that's what. While several projects outside Nanded remain on hold.

Parting shot

MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s arrest over the ‘outsider’ issue cost the Shiv Sena its vote bank in the Lok Sabha elections. Now Marmik, a cartoon weekly run by the Sena’s first family, has published on Balasaheb’s memoirs about the three months he spent behind bars during the 1969 Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute. A ploy to bring back the vote bank for the assembly polls?