Modified for the box office
The surprise hit film Kai Po Che, which raked in R17 crore in its first two days, has been criticised by many commentators and critics as a film insidiously promoting Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The film is based on author Chetan Bhagat’s book The 3 mistakes of my life set in the backdrop of the Gujarat riots of 2002 that continue to haunt Modi. But unlike the book, the screenplay, also scripted by Bhagat, has been criticised for being soft on the role of the Modi government during the violence — a charge the filmmakers have denied. And they’ve got support from unexpected quarters. Congress MP and Union urban development minister Ajay Maken has been singing praises of the film, after his wife and daughters watched the film and liked it. His family found the film critical of fanaticism, the minister told friends.
Meter gauge to iambic pentameter
The frequent recitation of poems and shayaris has always added a bit of zing to Parliament debates. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has often resorted to Urdu poet Iqbal while no budget speech of P Chidambaram is complete without quoting from Tamil philosopher Thiruvalluvar. Recently, Congress MP Satpal Maharaj too decided to recite a few verses but his favourite poet seems to be Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. It’s another matter that Kumar was not in the seat when Maharaj read out her lines to highlight the problems of the Indian Railways. Well, it could be verse.
Not on the right side of the Left
Veteran communist Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) seems to have lost interest in the unity of the Left parties. Last week, he wanted a joint press conference but only to be attended by the CPI(M) and the CPI, keeping the RSP and Forward Bloc out. When that idea was rejected by the CPI(M), he explored the possibility of the press meet being confined to only leaders of the Lok Sabha. When that too was rejected, Dasgupta demanded that he should be allowed speak first. As Dasgupta raised the issue of the appointment process of the CAG, many Left leaders wondered why he has singled out the CAG’s appointment but not bothered about the Election Commission and other constitutional bodies. He believes in being selective.
The more the merrier
The Congress has announced jumbo-sized panels for the May 5 Karnataka assembly polls in a bid to accommodate leaders from different factions. While the campaign committee will have 61 members, the strength of the manifesto panel is 45. Former chief ministers, PCC presidents and Union ministers have all been included in the panels. Many were surprised with the appointment of former Janata Dal leader CM Ibrahim, once a close associate of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, as chairman of the election strategy committee. To put its house in order ahead of the polls, the party has also constituted a high-level coordination and monitoring committee headed by defence minister AK Antony. Panels for all reasons.
Not chair today, gone tomorrow
The reports about him being replaced has upset Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy so much that he reacts angrily to any mention of him quitting the job. The other day when CPI leader G Mallesh asked him to vacate his chair if he could not move a resolution on Telangana, a visibly angry chief minister shot back: “I am not in the chair at your mercy. My party president Sonia Gandhi and legislators elected me. So many people are trying to pull me from that chair, but no one can pull my chair”. The reply stunned many of his party colleagues who felt that the chief minister has become apprehensive about his ‘ouster’. Not one to be unseated that easily.