As skeletons tumble out of the Satyam closet, some politicians in Maharashtra have some worrying to do. If one believes the whispers, Ramlinga Raju had a ‘friend’ in Maharashtra — a powerful top functionary. Some suspect the same ‘friend’ got ex-bureaucrat R C Sinha, a former Maytas head, appointed as Chairman of MIHAN, the under-construction air cargo hub at Nagpur. The ‘friend’, it is rumoured, was keen on an agreement between the Maharashtra government and Satyam to promote the latter’s EMRI ambulance service. The State cabinet had cleared the proposal and it was to be implemented anytime soon. But that was before Raju realised he had a conscience.
The youth wing of the state Congress has just released a list of its office bearers. Had this list been published some 25 years ago, you could have mistaken it for one of students of a school for Congress leaders’ children.
The list features Vilasrao Deshmukh’s son Amit, Patangrao Kadam’s son Vishwajit and Union Minister Vilasrao Muttemwar’s son Vishwas, to name but a few. As thousands of promising young party workers wait endlessly for their chance, assorted sons and nephews gets theirs easily. But what else would you expect from a party that introduced us to dynastic politics?
It’s ticket time, folks
With elections due this year, lobbying for Lok Sabha tickets has started in earnest. BJP leader Gopinath Munde is hell-bent on a ticket for Pramod Mahajan’s daughter Poonam from either the Mumbai South or Mumbai North East constituency. This has worried the BJP’s Jaywantiben Mehta and Kirit Somaiya who want to contest these constituencies respectively even though they lost in 2004. Also, Ram Naik, who lost his Mumbai North seat to film star Govinda, is anxious that he does not lose the battle before the war. His aides think Govinda’s miserable performance as an MP will make Naik’s election a cakewalk this time. That is why a couple of other BJP leaders are eyeing this constituency.
The story is no better in the Congress camp. Gurudas Kamat is not keen to contest from his current Mumbai North East constituency since the reconstitution of constituencies has resulted in the exclusion of some pro-Congress pockets. He may prefer the adjoining North Central segment but the Congress’ sitting MP Eknath Gaikwad is not willing to vacate it for him. And if that is not enough, the Shiv Sena-BJP and Congress-NCP alliane partners have staked claims on each other’s constituencies. Decibel levels are set to rise in the next few weeks as the bargaining gets hectic.
Practise vs preach
Earlier this week in Pune, the NCP’s crown prince Ajit Pawar announced that the NCP government would not tolerate any criminal activities minutes after he inducted a certain gentleman named Baba Bodke into the party. Now it so happens that Bodke is an accused under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). When the media flashed the news, an embarrassed party made Bodke quit immediately. Though Pawar quickly distanced himself from the controversy, perhaps he should be more careful when he preaches?