Politics on a platter
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid out a lavish spread for his guests at the UPA 2’s third anniversary dinner. The vegetarian fare ranged from dhania paneer korma, kadhai paneer, baghare baigan, kathal masala, avial, drumstick sambhar, beans, to gajar mattar, biryani, and keoti dal. For the non-vegetarians, there was jhinga kasundi, gosht burrah kabab, fish malabari, chicken chettinad and dum aloo Kashmiri. The desserts included fresh fruits, assorted kulfi, coconut payasam, hot jalebi and pardah rabri. The snacks table offered gol gappa, pao bhajji, aloo tikki and chat-papadi. Finally, the guests were seen off with a meetha paan. A taste of things to come?
No clear ticket to ride
More than the Telangana issue, the problem of a similarity in symbols is worrying Tela-ngana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K Chan-drashekhar Rao these days. KCR is apprehending that the confusion over symbols could cost his party dear in the June 12 assembly by-polls in Andhra Pradesh. TRS is contesting only in one seat, Parakal. KCR has written to the chief election commissioner against allocating symbols like hat, railway engine, auto and road-roller to independent candidates, as these appear similar to his party’s symbol, a car, and could result in cross-voting. KCR argued that his TRS lost over 20,000 votes to independents in four assembly constituencies in recent by-elections due to the confusion over sym-bols. On the road to disaster, it would seem.
When less is more
After taking over as Uttarakhand governor, Aziz Qureshi has announced a slew of austerity measures. He has decided not to use the state aircraft or helicopter and vowed not to travel in a special railway saloon. Qureshi has also refused to accept an expensive mobile phone like the BlackBerry and opted for an ordinary handset. He has also directed that not a single paisa should be spent on interiors, carpets, curtains, sofa sets, upholstery or purchasing new crockery and cutlery for the Raj Bhavan. The other measures are curbing hospitality expenditure and ensuring no wastage of water and electricity. He really knows how to make the cut.
Holding onto his dream
Unlike Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi whose national political ambitions are obvious, his Goa counterpart, Manohar Parrikar has said he wanted to be a res-earcher in engineering, a dream which he still cherishes. “I had a dream of becoming a researcher. That was my quest and interest and it still remains my interest. Many factors did not allow me to follow up my interest,” said Parrikar, an IITian and metallurgical engineer, who plunged into politics in 1987. Considering that Parrikar is working hard to change the way people see politicians, one wonders if he is finding politics too exasperating. Well, he certainly has a record he can build on.
A display of ideas
Members of Parliament can now use public money for so-called innovations in their areas. They will be allowed to spare some money from their annual R5 crore local area development budget to give special awards for projects they consider to have been implemented well. To make the best of it, the government wants that the awards should be given at public functions attended by district level officials. The new guidelines will also help MPs showcase their work at public expense. Let’s hope this means some out-of-the-box thinking.
An offer he may refuse
Does DMK chief M Karunanidhi nurture the dream of being offered the post of President? Some senior DMK leaders have begun to do some loud thinking, hinting that their patriarch, who turns 88 next month, would be happy if he is approached. However, they have said that the DMK will have no problem in supporting Pranab Mukherjee as the Congress candidate. But apparently, Karunanidhi wants to be approached as a courtesy, according to some DMK leaders. If seniority in political life is a consideration, they say Karunanidhi is immensely qualified because his political innings is as long, if not more, than those of Mukherjee and Parkash Singh Badal. The older the fiddle, the better the tune.