The tragic crash that claimed Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YSR Reddy has focused attention on our esteemed mantrijis’ demand to the state government for a new 10-seater plane to add to the existing fleet of two small planes and a helicopter. These aircraft are used for ferrying the Governor, Chief Minister and his cabinet members.
One of the planes was bought just a year ago but the other is 10 years old. So some ministers wanted to dispose of the latter and buy a new one for Rs 48 crore. Thankfully, some ministers opposed the move and the decision was deferred till the new government is in place.
In the wake of the Andhra Pradesh crash, the case for the new plane will be made again.
But the moot point is: do our mantris really need a second plane? And do we, the taxpayers, want to pay for another?
Goof up or sabotage?
The ruling parties are often accused of clearing files or allotting money hurriedly with back-dated entries once the model code for elections is imposed. But quite the reverse has happened in a key department this time. Either some one goofed up or was just being (wonders will never cease!) honest, because the circulars or orders were issued with the actual dates after the code of conduct came into effect.
This has left the minister in charge of the department fuming for these decisions have now been referred to the Election Commission for clearance. Mantralaya insiders suspect that the secretary did it deliberately to sabotage the minister's plans. If that is the case, give us more such officers.
Glamour or moolah?
BJP bosses are in a fix over a candidate for the Malabar Hill constituency that has been with the party for over a decade. Designer Shaina NC is challenging the BJP’s sitting MLA, Mangal Prabhat Lodha's, claim to the seat.
The BJP cannot antagonise Lodha, a builder with the ability to organise the much-needed moolah for the party. On the other hand, Shaina has been the BJP’s glamourous face in Mumbai and is also popular with the SoBo crowd. Last heard, party leaders were still weighing their options.
I'll be back
The NCP’s RR Patil, who had to step down as deputy chief minister after the 26/11 terror attack, is determined to make a comeback. But Aaba (or big brother, as he is known in rural Maharashtra) is likely to face roadblocks from his own colleague in his hometown of Sangli, Home Minister Jayant Patil. The whispers are that Jayant is encouraging an Independent MLA from this district to contest opposite RR With colleagues like these, who needs the Shiv Sena?