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Beating a hasty retreat

india Updated: Dec 31, 2006 01:41 IST
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THE CONGRESS workers flexed their muscles at the Directorate of Public Relations (DPR) raising slogans against the government for urea crisis in the State. The occasion was the press conference being addressed by Agriculture Minister Chaudhary Chandrabhan Singh. The protest caused a glee on the faces of electronic TV channels’ camerapersons who rushed out to have the ‘action’ bytes.

This made the directorate authorities to swing into action to minimise the damage. That the DPR forum was shared by even Union Minister for Panchayat and Rural Development Mani Shankar Aiyer a few days back was the message conveyed to the Congress leader leading the pack. ‘Aiyer’ word made the protesters wiser and they immediately withdrew. Only disappointed were the TV channels’ representatives who expected some action.

Low-profile ministers
When Aiyer was addressing the press conference at DPR office (referred to in the preceding piece), he narrated his experiences of how the panchayati raj institutions are functioning in MP and in between he referred to Patelji and Bhargavaji. As far as Bhargavaji, one could understand he was referring to Principal Secretary, Panchayat and Rural Development, Pradeep Bhargava, who was also on the dais, but who is Patelji,  scribes wondered.

The person sitting next to Aiyer seemed the man being referred to. But who was he? After a while, it descended upon them that he was none else but Minister of State for Panchayat Gangaram Patel. Working under the shadow of a powerful minister like Narendra Tomar, he never had the chance to confront the journalists. Hence the confusion.

And as Aiyer prepared to sum up his address, a journalist could not help but thank him for introducing the community of journalists to the Panchayat Minister, whom they had never seen! Patel was all smiles as the journalists laughed. But he is not the only minister maintaining such low profile in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan Cabinet. There are others too like him — Narayan Singh Kushwaha, Moti Kashyap, Meena Singh and a few more. 

Waqf members’ fanfare
Some members of the newly constituted State Waqf Board surprised everybody with the fanfare amidst with they first entered the office after their appointments. Most of the members were accompanied by their supporters. The board employees were surprised and commented that they had seen the chairman assuming charge of his office in the past but the welcome functions and the concept of members ‘taking charge’ was something new to them.

Colour fixation?
Is it the fixation for fairness? Hoardings that carry picture of a young City politician provoked the remarks. The hoardings that have been recently put up show him fair complexioned. Though he is dark complexioned in reality. Even his own party workers wonder as to whose idea it was to paint the leader as fair and what logic existed behind this move?

Thief at academicians’ gathering!
One would not expect any thieves at least among the gathering of academicians. But the incidents in recent past in Barkatullah University are making the authorities think twice about this belief. During the inaugural day of the Solid State Physics Symposium, at least two of the visiting scientists lost their valuables from the venue at the Gyan Vigyan Bhavan.

One of the senior scientists lost his shoulder bag that contained his flight tickets, other important documents and also his medicines, while a young scientist lost his entire baggage – clothes et al. About two months ago, during another such event, a foreigner delegate had lost his laptop from the same venue. It is indeed becoming an embarrassment as well as a mystery for the authorities as to who the thief could be.

Contributed by Ranjan, Sravani Sarkar, Ashutosh Shukla and Shams-Ur-Rehman Alavi