Another god in the dock
After Lord Ram became a litigant can Lord Hanuman be far behind? In a bizarre incident in Bihar, the circle office served notice to Lord Hanuman for “encroaching government’s land”.
The notice was served by Begusarai circle officer on February 8 on the basis of survey report.
Kaushlendra Kumar Singh, who claimed to have surveyed encroached government areas of the district clarified while talking to this newspaper saying, “The notice was served keeping all legal aspects in mind.” He said, “This cannot be termed as illegal.”
The notice initially caused some restlessness among the local people who even threatened to launch a massive agitation against the administration if they tried to harm the temple or dislocate the idol.
While clarifying the circle office’s stand on serving notice, circle officer Niranjan Kumar said, “The notice was served to the temple keeping the developmental projects in mind. We have not violated any rules by sending notice as the temple and few other buildings were constructed on the government’s land.”
Even as courts stutter under the weight of burgeoning litigations, dragging the Gods to justice add to their burden.
A scary rejig
The reshuffle of joint secretaries in the Union home ministry has happened in quick succession. Earlier, a joint secretary stayed on a post for years, particularly in the 10-year United Progressive Alliance rule. But with the National Democratic Alliance government coming to power and the ministry of home affairs seeing new home secretaries after the ouster of Anil Goswami and later the removal of L.C. Goyal, the rejig among the joint secretary posts has happened more than once.
The latest reshuffle has been effected by the incumbent home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi. Many hope that the posts remain unchanged for sometime and officers are able to settle down in the new regime.
In a lighter vein many joked that Mr Mehrishi, in fact, effected the reshuffle before he went on leave for a few days. Seems like he didn’t want officers to come up with any grievances.
Who says women tennis players can’t look svelte? Former Wimbledon champion-turned-jewellery designer Marion Bartoli — who was on an official trip to the capital — can now give any model a run for her money.
With her size zero figure and six-inch heels, the 2013 Wimbledon champion was all decked up in funky jewellery with lots of “bling and sparkle”.
Bartoli launched the second edition of Rendez-vous, a tournament for Indian boys and girls to earn a wild card for the junior French Open on Monday.
The 31-year-old admits she has battled with her weight for most of her life because of her sweettooth and the stress of the circuit. She attributes her astonishing weight loss (around 15 kg) to a gluten-free diet, a healthier lifestyle and a new exercise regime.
On a slippery wicket
Indians are touchy about their hard-won Independence and Marc Andreessen, Facebook board member and Silicon Valley’s foremost venture capitalist, learnt it the hard way. He was upset when Facebook’s Free Basics service was banned by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
Mr Andreessen led to an uproar on the social media last week with his tweet (which he later deleted) that suggested that India would have been better off under the British. Twitterati was quick to react and pointed out to him that his handle @pmarca resembled the name of an Indian mustard oil brand.
“Does @pmarca know Indian people have for decades consumed a mustard oil brand that shares the sound of his Twitter handle?” pointed out a Twitter user.
“Hell ya. It’s called P-Mark and pronounced as P-Marka,” said another Twitter user.
Mr Andreessen, who was propagating “white man’s burden”, had no choice but to laugh it off. “Looks delicious,” he replied to a picture of P-Mark posted by one of the Twitter users.
‘Mann Ki Baat’
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader of Chhattisgarh T.S. Singhdeo’s “mann ki baat” backfired and how.
Mr Singhdeo was sharing the dais with the chief minister at the function.
While speaking at an official function at Ambikapur, headquarters of Sarguja division, on February 12, Mr Singhdeo shared the dais with chief minister Raman Singh.
“I would like to share my mann ki baat. I had a dilemma about attending the function… Besides, my presence may be interpreted in a different way in certain quarters,” he remarked, hinting that his rivals in the Congress may cite his sharing dais with the chief minister to level charges of his proximity to Mr Singh.
Now it was Mr Singh’s turn to address the function. “I also take this opportunity to speak my mann ki baat. I fervently wish Mr Singhdeo continues to enjoy his current esteemed position as the Opposition leader in the Chhattisgarh Assembly even after the 2018 Assembly elections.”
The chief minister’s witty comment prompted an explosion of laughter from the crowd, of course, barring Mr Singhdeo.
Union ministers in the Modi Cabinet are trying hard to be seen as performers. And have started taking to social media to show that their ministries are doing well.
Recently, reports by “independent” corporates — Mackenzie and later Axis Capital — on the railways is a case in point.
Instead of restricting their analysis to the assessment of the railways, the reports went a step further and said that railway minister Suresh Prabhu is the best man to lead the railways on the path of transformation.
Quick to lap up an opportunity, Mr Prabhu and the railway ministry started tweeting about the reports. It appears that Mr Prabhu is leaving no stone unturned to ensure to prove that he has delivered on the tasks set out by the Prime Minister.
Amidst the ongoing massive hoarding campaigns in Guwahati, laughing at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his tall electoral promises, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi is seen in a latest video avatar of “Singham”, the popular Bollywood cop, thrashing his political opponents.
Nobody knows the origin of the video that has been circulated widely on WhatsApp. The video clip with superimposed faces of Gogoi and his political opponents, features BJP leaders Himanta Biswa Sarma and Bijoya Chakravarty being intimidated and thrashed by “Singham” Gogoi.
Thrashing political opponents in a video can be laughed off, but Mr Gogoi’s real challenge will be to counter them in the forthcoming Assembly polls for which his political opponents have also tighten their belts.
A tumultuous welcome
Such rejoicing is rarely seen even when one wins an election, but when former Bahujan Samaj Party minister Babu Singh Kushwaha walked out of Dasna jail on February 5 where he had been lodged for almost four years in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam, thousands of supporters turned out to welcome him.
A cavalcade of about 700 cars brought him to Lucknow from Ghaziabad and it took him more than 24 hours to cover the distance of 467 km between the two cities.
In Lucknow, hoardings and posters hailing his release from jail were put up at all vantage points and thousands of supporters celebrated his arrival by firing in the air for almost an hour. The traffic jams caused by his convoy even made the police lodge an FIR against him and his supporters.
The tumultuous welcome given to Mr Kushwaha, meanwhile, has left major political parties “concerned” about his popularity, especially among Other Backward Classes.
Mr Kushwaha, however, is keeping his cards close to his chest but it is obvious that he is “deeply hurt” at the political conspiracy that put him behind bars.
Mr Kushwaha refuses to speak a word against the “conspirators” and also about his future plans. It is his silence that is disturbing his friends and foes alike.
A Protest with a twist
Punjab has seen dog menace for many years. Recently, the Punjab Congress in Ludhiana decided to protest against dog bites. The protest was led by local Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu but with a twist.
In order to protest, Congress workers and councillors rounded up stray dogs from Ludhiana’s streets and parks and let loose the dogs in Ludhiana Municipal Corporation premises. It offended animal lovers who felt that dogs were captured and then taken to participate in a political activity.
Mr Bittu, however, defended his way of protest. “We got the dogs from the areas near the LMC office and dropped them back after the protest. Our workers were extremely polite to them. We protested against a genuine issue as children and the elderly suffer daily due to this menace.”
The explanation has not gone down well with anyone.
Flip side of technology
The trend of using technology for dissemination of relevant information is catching up with our politicians. The Delhi government and its various departments are using technology for live updates with messaging apps like WhatsApp.
Several such groups are operational in the Delhi government for dissemination of relevant information. While information related to the respective minister and the department is shared, journalists sometimes share political comments on group chat.
But those who went against the political point of view of the ruling elite were in for a rude shock as they were removed from the group. It seems their comments were unpalatable for the group admin. Talk about the flip side of technology.
Calm in crisis
When a BSF copter recently developed a technical snag while flying Union minister of state for home affairs Kiran Rijiju for a two-day visit to Uttarakhand, half of those on board reportedly started reciting Hanumaan Chalisa. The chants continued till the copter made an emergency landing at the Hindon airbase.
According to the sources, while everyone feared for their life, Mr Rijiju was not at all perturbed and remained calm.
In fact, he also showed presence of mind by accepting the request of a journalist to break the news on his TV channel.
Mr Rijiju obliged so that those waiting for him in Uttarakhand would know about the delay. Now this was an intelligent move from our minister....