Barely had Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy survived the solar scandal triggered by the arrest of a con woman close to him, another faux pas of his government has embarrassed him now. The latest offering comes from the state’s excise department. Chandy had ordered various departments to suggest ways to battle malnutrition that has claimed over 50 lives in a tribal area of Palakkad district over the past 18 months. The excise department’s proposal? Create 15 new government jobs to run a de-addiction programme among the tribals to reduce alcoholism. Of course, this would have a cost: Rs 20 lakh annually. Who said bureaucrats lack imagination?
The Congress is preening after wresting two Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka from the Janata Dal (Secular) in by-elections last week. But rumours are that nearly Rs 80 crore may have been spent to secure a win for DK Suresh, the brother of Congress leader DK Shiva Kumar, from Bangalore Rural and Rs 50 crore for cine actress Ramya from Mandya. Sources say Kumar himself managed the money distribution to local leaders and even opposition BJP and JD(S) party workers.
Days before the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was to launch its 84 kosi yatra at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav was leaving Parliament when bjp mp Vinay Katiyar ran into him and greeted him. Netaji did not see Katiyar at first and therefore did not respond. Katiyar repeated his greeting. This time, the sp supremo smiled and said, “Dande padenge dande.” Katiyar was evidently not amused.
Is Nagaland Chief Minister Nephieu Rio considering a shot at the Lok Sabha? The current MP, GM Chang of Rio’s Naga People’s Front, has been nominated for an Assembly by-election slated for 4 September. The buzz is that the state BJP too has asked the cm to contest the state’s lone Lok Sabha seat. Rio may be keen to be in New Delhi as the Centre’s dialogue with the separatist group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak- Muivah) appears to be succeeding.
Former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, unceremoniously sacked three months ago for meddling in a CBI probe, has a spring in his step. PM Manmohan Singh, his biggest benefactor, has appointed Kumar as his special envoy with Cabinet rank for the November visit of Japan’s King Akihito. But this has made Kumar a target for poking fun. Anyone who runs into him makes a point of offering exaggerated congratulations. Wonder if he has caught on.